Gutter Cleaning is Not for Amateurs
Everyone should have his gutters cleaned at least 4 times a year, and sometimes more often depending on the trees around your house. Some of the worst injuries many emergency room doctors see each year are from homeowners trying to clean their gutters themselves. If you hire an uninsured or unqualified company/person, there is another type of risk altogether.
If an “employee” of a business that does not have general liability coverage gets hurt while working on your home, you could be liable for his medical expenses, or worse, you could be liable for future compensation if his injuries leave him incapable of working.
Injury isn’t the only concern. What if this worker causes damage to a neighbor’s property? A ladder can fall on a car, window, fence, outdoor furniture or even your neighbor and you will be held liable for subsequent expenses.
With regards to your own home’s protection, if the ladder comes into contact with power lines and starts a fire in your own home or the worker damages your gutters and you have to get them repaired or you suffer water damage, will the company fix it?
These sorts of incidents are not every day, but you don’t want to run the risk with your property and money.
Who should I hire?
It is tempting to let a landscaping business, that has insurance, do your gutters for you, but you need to make sure that insurance covers getting on ladders or roofs. Many companies offer gutter cleaning with the hope of inspecting your home for other issues they might be able to “fix” for you, like a new roof, windows or siding. These people are likely not qualified to know if your gutters have other problems, such as pitch or proper attachment.
How to find the right company
Here’s a checklist of things you should do and know before hiring a gutter cleaning company:
☐ Make sure “gutter work” is listed on their website and/or business card
☐ Does the company answer the phone when you call or reply to your text on the same day?
☐ Is the business open year-round?
☐ Get a copy of the insurance certificate that shows employees are allowed on ladders and roofs
☐ Make sure that insurance covers liability and workers compensation
☐ Check with your state regulatory authority to verify proper license and registration. Here is a link for Virginia inquiries: https://www.virginia.gov/services/look-up-a-licensee/
☐ Hire a company that is established and not one that stops by your house looking for business
☐ Check with your local BBB for complaints and issues
You may be thinking, “it’s just gutters,” but remember that the people you hire are working on your single largest investment. Putting it into unqualified and/or uninsured hands is taking an unnecessary risk you may quickly regret.