It seems like storms bring out the best in some and the worst in others!
Here's a quick list to follow of how NOT to get ripped off as you repair your property and try to get your yard back on track post Sandy or any other storm.
#1 Like the Better Business Bureau says, NEVER PAY CASH! A reputable business is not looking to not have proof of their work. Always write a check or pay via credit card.
#2 If they aren't collecting Connecticut sales tax then they're not an honest business! Do you want to do business with a dishonest company?
#3 ALL licensed landscape professionals and arborists are happy to show you their licenses-it's the law-please ask!
#4 Anyone doing work on your property who is not licensed is your liability. What if the chainsaw slips and there is an injury-are you covered for that? What if the tree that was just leaning now falls through your roof?
#5 Post storm no one who is reputable goes door to door looking for work, reputable companies have their phones ringing off the hook and you'll go on a short list. Barring a tree sitting on your house, a short wait is worth the wait for the right company.
#6 Reputable companies have properly maintained equipment. When the person using the equipment is making a living at this, they are using professional machines with sharpened blades and clean oil/smooth running parts, they don't want to get hurt. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck, same for professional landscape equipment. Professionals do not have anything that can bought at the big box stores, it truly is professional grade equipment. They wear earplugs, goggles or glasses, protective pants, etc.
#7 A firm price is quoted. All jobs can be quoted by the hour or by the job. Professionals have done storm clean up for years and they can eye ball a job with little wiggle room. An honest business will take a loss before they ask you for more money.
#8 Know where the storm debris is going. Often times home owner's forget to ask if the debris is being hauled or left. When a professionals name is on it, they leave the lawn like Augusta National, debris free.
#9 A phone number (not a cell), an email ending with a business name (not a free service like @ yahoo.com) and a website are signs that a company has invested in itself and isn't a fly by night operation.
#10 Ask your landscape professional to be placed on the storm clean up list. If they have a serious customer base, they have one.
Stacy Skoldberg is managing partner of GreenSprays a company specializing in organic lawn care and arborist services. Stacy can be followed on Twitter: @greenspraysllc, on Facebook: GreenSprays and can be reached at 203-916-3666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.