Clogged gutters can cause a variety of problems in rainy weather, such as major water damage to a home, and spring is an ideal time to clear them. While some homeowners opt to clean their own gutters, many others hire a professional company to handle their gutters — whether they need to be cleaned, covered, repaired or replaced.
Nationally, Better Business Bureau® (BBB®) received about 1,400 complaints last year about gutter contractors and gutter cleaning companies. Common complaints include dissatisfaction with the quality of work provided, contract issues, failure to complete the work, and refund policies.
A St. Louis man told BBB in February 2022 that he paid a $1,500 deposit to a gutter contractor for various work, only for them to never complete the agreed-upon project. The owner told the man he would refund the deposit, but never sent back the money and did not return the man’s calls or texts.
Consumers have many options for keeping their gutters clear and their home safe from excess water. To make sure they’re dealing with a reputable company, consumers can research contractors with BBB.
BBB Business Profiles are available on hundreds of gutter cleaning and gutter cover companies. BBB Business Profiles show how long a company has been in business, its history of complaints and how they were handled, and reviews from past customers.
BBB’s Get A Quote service allows consumers to obtain an estimate from one or more BBB Accredited Businesses. These businesses have pledged to comply with BBB Standards, such as advertising honestly, honoring promises and responding to customers’ complaints. Simply click on the Get A Quote box in a BBB Business Profile and fill out the form with your contact information and a description of the service you need.
BBB offers these tips to consider:
- Ask for quotes. Shop around and get quotes from different businesses. Make sure bids consider the same set of criteria. Remember the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid; if one bid is significantly lower than the others, the contractor may be cutting corners or may not understand your work requirements.
- Get it in writing. Always get verbal promises and estimates in writing, and read and sign a contract before work begins. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready. The contract should include contact information, start and complete dates (or a specific schedule for recurring cleaning), a detailed description of the work to be done, payment arrangements, any material costs, warranty information and who is responsible for any clean-up.
- Review warranty coverage. Find out if the company offers any type of warranty or guarantee. Make certain you understand the terms and conditions of the coverage.
- Verify license and insurance. Be sure that the company you decide to work with has the necessary licenses and insurance to work in your region.
- Inquire about a lien waiver. A lien waiver is a statement from your contractor that says all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work.
- Arrange a payment schedule. For major jobs, never pay in full up front, and do not make a final payment until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; write a check to a company or use a credit card.
- Get a receipt. Request a receipt marked “Paid in Full” when the job is completed and your final payment is made.
- Keep your contract. Hold on to your contract for future reference or if any questions arise after the work is complete. For assistance or a BBB Business Profile, go to BBB.org or call 888-996-3887.
Michelle Gleba is the regional director for the BBB.