As we enter the summer months, many homeowners opt to take on home improvement projects. As it's also the start of hurricane season, removing trees can be at the top of the list.
The Better Business Bureau encourages those hiring a contractor to remove trees or to do other household projects to hire with caution.
"We encourage the homeowner to acquire a contract agreement with anyone they hire," said Simone Williams, Media & Public Relations Lead with the BBB of Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. "Be sure that their name, address, license number (if applicable,) and phone number are included in the contract."
Williams said it's important to read the entire contract and understand it and never to sign a blank contract.
For those removing trees, Williams said to be careful with the wording. "Do not assume tree stump removal is included in a contract if it's not specified."
Williams said as you look for a contractor, you can used the BBB website to check ratings before you call for a quote. But sometimes, the contractors come to you, door to door. Williams said to check if they are a member of a professional organization, like the American Society of Consulting Arborists.
"One of the red flags to be wary of is if the tree company comes to you and has no printed materials, letterheads or business forms, if they have very little information on their formal credentials as an arborist, if they offer an unusually low price at first, and they only accept cash payments, or as for payment up front," she said.
When it is time for payment, Williams said make sure you're protected.
"Never pay for a tree removal or tree trimming project of any kind until you are 100% satisfied with the work," Williams said. "Pay by check or credit card only when the job is complete. Paying by credit card provides some recourse should a job not be completed as stated in the contract."
A suspicious, sketchy, or bad contractor can be reported to the BBB Scam Tracker as well to help others stay away from a bad deal.