I'm sure there are plenty of really good contractors and companies that provide ice dam services in the Northland. Unfortunately, that's not what happened to a friend of mine. He thought he was hiring a local company he could trust, but it turned out to be a nightmarish, expensive, and disappointing situation.

We've had a ton of snow this year. December was record-breaking. A lot of us have had some ice dams show up on our roofs. For those unaware, an ice dam is when the snow melts and freezes on your roof creating an ice barrier that can cause issues, including leaking water into your home. They are difficult to remove, and hiring a professional is often the best choice. However, make sure you do some looking into what company you are hiring.

My friend noticed he was having significant problems with a couple of ice dams on his roof. He did a google search and found what he thought was a local company. They agreed that they could come out soon and gave him an hourly rate. It was around $500 an hour. That seems like a lot of money, but if they are efficient professionals, they should be able to get it done quickly, right? When the company came, only two guys showed up, and they definitely weren't in a hurry.

Ken Hayes
Ken Hayes
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The customer asked if he should remove the snow before they get there from the roof. They said no, they take care of that. What they didn't tell him is that it would be several hours at $500 an hour to remove the snow in the area around the ice dam before they would even start getting rid of the ice dam.

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He would have happily shoveled off the area of the roof himself, saving him over a thousand dollars. Instead, they took advantage of him being in a pinch and weren't honest up front. When he called the company to get some answers, he got a phone call from someone well out of the region that he was dealing with. He finally had to put his foot down and tell them to finish up because he couldn't possibly pay them anymore. The bill was racking up to thousands of dollars.

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The job wasn't finished. They took his money and left. Meanwhile, he's stuck with a partial ice dam and a really bad feeling about the entire situation. He called me and asked if I could help him with the rest of his roof the next day. So three of us shoveled snow and cleared vents for 4 hours. It was back-breaking work, but glad to help out a friend when he needed it. Fortunately, the areas we cleared didn't have much in the form of an ice dam.

Ken Hayes
Ken Hayes
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I don't fault my buddy for falling into this trap. He thought he was hiring a legitimate company. He said it felt like highway robbery. It was like they were taking advantage of him because they knew he was stressed and in a pinch.

I did some research this morning and found out that is exactly what these shady companies do. They know you are panicking because your house has leaking water and is causing problems. They also know if they give you an hourly rate, they technically aren't going over an estimate. A news piece from WCCO says that ice dam removal typically costs between $750 and $2000. This wasn't that big of a job, and cost even more than that, and they didn't even complete the job.

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Experts suggest that you have an estimate of the project beforehand with a visual inspection. Ask what the hourly rate would be, and be clear of any costs ahead of time. Obviously, there are some situations where they could run into something that might take some more time, but there is a clear difference between that and taking advantage of someone.

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