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How to Hire a Cheap Ice Dam Removal Company and Have It End Well

You know in your bones that quality pays for itself, nothing’s free, and you get what you pay for.  The problem is you know ice dam removal can be expensive, so you want ways to reduce ice dam removal costs.

Of course, you’d prefer to work with a credible, professional, experienced ice dam removal company.  But you know it won’t be cheap, because why would a good ice dam removal company be cheap?  It’s got to cover expenses like:

Those are just a few investments of many that a professional ice dam removal company must make.  A cheap company is cheap because it hasn’t made all or any of those commitments to you.  Either they’re not insured at all, or they’re not insured specifically for ice dam removal, or they use inexpensive off-the-shelf electric steamers (or worse, designated hot-water pressure washers), or all their technicians are greenhorns, or they’re not specialists.  With a cheap company there’s always a catch, and usually you won’t know what it is until it’s happened.  And if you’re ultra-lucky, you’ll never even know it happened.

But there is one way to hire a cheap without necessarily getting burned.  You’ll still pay with your time, but you probably won’t have to shell out as much money: If you want ice dam removal done right and you want to hire a cheap company, you must become the professional.

By that, I am NOT telling you to get on your roof and try to remove the ice dams yourself.  That will not accomplish what you hope it will, unless you’re trying to cash in on your life insurance policy.

What I mean is you must apply a do-it-yourself approach to just about every other aspect of the project.  You’ll need to:

  1. Do enough research to tell the cheap but possibly OK companies from the cheap but potentially dangerous companies.
  2. Research proper ice dam removal equipment (and the bad alternatives).
  3. Research the only proper ice dam removal method: steam (and the bad alternatives).
  4. Research proper ice dam removal steaming technique.
  5. Prepare the site for the company, including raking your roof prior to their arrival.
  6. Stand outside in the cold and make sure the worker does the job correctly – like by using a chunk-cutting technique.
  7. Intervene as needed, and tell them how to do their jobs when you must.

Even before you can take the time to do those steps, you’ll need to do some homework, so you know what you’re talking about.

To that end, you can start with our Learning Center and FAQs.  If you read those resources, and maybe watch this video, you’ll know more about ice dam removal than do most companies you can hire.  At the very least, you’ll know whether you still want to spend the time to lifeguard the cheap ice dam removal company, or fork over for the company that’s expensive for good reasons.  It’s a time-or-money tradeoff.

Besides biting the bullet and hiring the experienced specialists, is there an alternative to babysitting the cheap company?  Yes: The alternative is a lot of uncertainty.

A cheap company won’t necessarily ruin your roof or burn your house down. Their workers may just be inexperienced.  They may charge a lower hourly rate, but may also take much longer to get the job done.  They may send out multiple guys and then charge their hourly rate “per man.”  They use incorrect equipment.  They may have insurance, but be underinsured.  They may have insurance, but not for ice dam removal.  Or…they have no insurance at all (which proves to be the case all too often in this niche industry).

Everyone is a beginner at some point.  Even many honest companies get their pricing wrong at some point, or don’t realize they’re not insured for “ice dam removal,” or understand that the equipment they’re using is subpar.

But it’s your home, and you have no obligation to pay for other people’s learning curve or unwillingness to invest in their craft.  If you don’t hire an experienced and established company, and you aren’t prepared to micromanage the cheap company, you’re rolling the dice.

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