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7 Questions to Ask before Hiring an Ice Dam Removal Company

Due diligence is crucial if you want to pick an ice dam removal company that will save you money and heartache in the long run, rather than cost you more of it.

Easier said than done.  Most companies will pain you.  Scammers and greenhorns abound.  Lots of companies fall in the middle, too: they’re honest but still might not do the job you need done, for one reason or another.

That’s why I’ve put together a simple list of questions for you to ask any ice dam company over the phone.  Pay close attention to their answers.

1. “How much do you charge?”

Most ice dam companies charge by the hour.  If you’re talking with one that doesn’t, a beeper should go off in your head.  The scope of ice dam jobs varies wildly, based on about a dozen factors – from outdoor temperature, to where the ice dams are located, to how much snow is on your roof, and about 10 other factors I can think of.  If you’re quoted a flat rate you’ll either be left with a much-larger bill, or a half-done job, or a beat-up roof that’s the result of rushing.

2.  “What’s your minimum charge?”

Here at Ice Dam Guys® we have at least a 2-hour minimum charge, simply because we know that it’s next to impossible to complete even the smallest of jobs in less time.  Other companies know it will take at least two hours but don’t have a minimum charge.  Why?  Because they just want to get their foot in the door and their hands in your wallet.  We lose a lot of jobs due to our minimum charge, but that’s ok.  If their expectation is that their job can be done in less than our minimum charge, we know that those are completely unrealistic expectations.  We’re in the business of exceeding expectations, not falling short of them.  Being open and honest up-front is the very best way to begin down the path of exceeding our customer’s expectations.  That being said, we will always manage expectations with a realistic minimum charge (and one that is adjusted as snow & ice conditions change).

3.  “Are you bonded and insured?”

You could open yourself up to financial ruin if you let an uninsured contractor play Slip N’ Slide on your icy rooftop.  (I’ve written about the importance of due diligence in making sure an ice dam removal company has the proper insurance coverage.)

4.  “Does your insurance cover ice dam removal?”

If Bob’s Asphalt does ice dam removal during the winter months to supplement Bob’s income his insurance may say “Bob’s Asphalt,” not “Bob’s Ice Dam Removal.”  If it does, there’s a good change that Bob isn’t covered for his time on the roof, which means you’re not covered if something goes wrong.  Don’t ask the question “Are you insured?”  Ask the question “Are you insured for ice dam removal?” Make sure they’re prepared to prove it if you smell any doubt whatsoever.  And remember, Bob may not even know that he’s not covered for ice dam removal.  He, like many business owners, may think because he has insurance that he’s covered for any and all services he provides.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Ice dam removal is a dangerous profession, and the insurance rates are epic!

5.  “How soon can you be here?”

This is, of course, especially important if you’ve got an active leak.  Same-day or next-day service is the best way to ensure that things don’t get worse than they already are.

6.  “Do you use steam?”

Steam is by far the best method for removing ice dams – it’s the safest and most effective.  If the company doesn’t use steam you’ll want to move on immediately.   You should also move on if their steamer can’t heat water to at least 250 degrees.

7.  “Tell me about your shovels and roof rakes.”

Shovels and roof rakes should have plastic cutting edges, or if they’re metal they should have small plastic rollers or bumpers.  You’ll want to keep metal cutting edges away from your roof’s surface.  Running a metal edge across your shingles can shorten the lifespan of your roof substantially.

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