Be careful when hiring outdoor service providers this fall

IMG_4182As the autumn leaves begin to fall, you’re likely thinking about hiring someone to help you with outdoor work to prepare for the winter months. In the fall, people have need of a variety of outdoor trade services from leaf cleanup and tree services to gutter and roofing repairs.

Most of the time, you’ll start receiving solicitations and advertisements from these kinds of companies early in the season. But, before you hire any contractor for your outdoor work, be sure to do your homework.

Start with referrals from friends/family. Where else would you start when trying to find a good landscaper or tree service? Asking family, neighbors, friends and co-workers is probably the best way to begin the search for a service provider. Find out as much as you can about the services they bought, what the company was like to work with, costs, and anything else you think might be relevant to your situation.

Ask for at least 3 references. Once you’ve decided on a company that’s been referred to you, or if you’re just shopping around, ask for at least three references from the business based on similar work. References should be from customers who are not related to the business principals nor who are paid or reimbursed for their testimonials. Get names and phone numbers and call them yourself. 

Ask for proof of insurance. Companies who do contract type trade work carry insurance against damage or injury that might occur as a result of their presence on the property or work performed. They may also carry a surety bond, in addition to insurance, which is often required by state and local governments to protect residents from financial loss.

Watch the TV interview …

Avoid hiring kids. I know, it sounds kind of opposite to the whole entrepreneurial spirit not to help out a teenager with a startup lawn care business. But consider this, someone under 18 years of age wouldn’t have business insurance and, if he or she were to be injured while on your property, you would most likely be liable for damages. Yes, you have homeowner’s insurance, but do you know if you’re covered in the event there is an accident?

Check with your insurance agent. It’s always a good idea to verify with your insurance agent that your homeowner’s policy carries the right kind of liability protection for these situations. Don’t make assumptions, check it out and be certain before something goes wrong.

Take the time to check it all out before you enter into a contract with someone. There can always be unforeseen situations, but do your best to make sure you and your family are protected as much as possible.


Here are our recommendations for providers in the local Dayton region …

Homeowners’ (property / casualty) insurance: 

Andrea Loftis Agency, American Family Insurance, Fairborn, Ohio – – 937-878-9020

Matulka Insurance Agency, Beavercreek, Ohio – – 937-781-0011

Gutters / Exterior Repair:

Quality Roofing & Exterior, Dayton, Ohio – – 937-694-5529