How do I find a gutter cleaner?
January 5, 2007 9:10 AM   Subscribe

How do I find a gutter cleaner?

Newbie homeowner question: we had gutters put up, the autumn filled them with leaves, and they presumably need to be cleaned, but gutter cleaning is not a profession in itself, so I've been at a loss to know who to call. My guess is that professional roofers might charge more to clean gutters, but I really have no idea. (Extra points if you happen to know of a good gutter cleaner in Pittsfield, MA!)
posted by languagehat to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It's not a profession in and of itself because it's easy to do on your own and save several hundred bucks. All it takes is a latter tall enough (easy enough to borrow from a coworker/neighbor, rent from Home Depot, or buy one outright ... and it'll still be cheaper than the cost of having someone else do it.), a bucket on a rope (or not, if you don't care where the glop lands ... my dad always used to bucket it down to us and we'd dump it in the wheelbarrow) and some leather work gloves that you don't mind getting wet. I also add a waterproof parka in there, but I'm a wuss.

But you could look under 'handyman for hire' in the yellow pages or your town classifieds. Most handymen will do it.
posted by SpecialK at 9:16 AM on January 5, 2007


languagehat:

"gutter cleaning" is not a profession per se, it's true, but many of the handymen and -women i've found also clean gutters. do you have a neighborhood ass'n (or simply neighbors) you can ask? that's how i've found my best references for homeowner-work, which is not my forte.

in short: browse your yellow pages for "handymen" (please blame the yellow pages, and not me, for the gender bias inherent in using that term as controlled vocabulary) and give them a call? or even shorter: ask your neighbors?
posted by deejay jaydee at 9:18 AM on January 5, 2007


Gardeners, yard maintenance.
posted by Max Power at 9:37 AM on January 5, 2007


Day laborers and a ladder.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:57 AM on January 5, 2007


NPR sponsorship must work, because the first thing I thought of was Angie's List (which I hear about daily, it seems, during the morning news). The closest list to you is Albany, which has 6 listings under "Gutter Cleaners."

Obviously you'd have to join to see the ratings, but the list may be worth investigating on your own.
posted by hsoltz at 10:01 AM on January 5, 2007


This won't help with your present gutter issue, but when it's time to get them replaced, get the ones that include a leaf guard (not just a mesh screen). We've had them for 13 years and our gutters have remained free of junk (except for a bit of sludge). It was worth the price. Can't recall the name of our brand.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:38 AM on January 5, 2007


Find someone who does "odd jobs." It's not really something a roofer would do. It's more up there with yard cleaning.

Every fall around my town (Boston 'burbs) there are half a dozen signs posted on telephone poles and trees: "Gutter cleaning: 508-555-XXXX."
posted by bondcliff at 10:39 AM on January 5, 2007


Often people who offer pressure washing service will also clean gutters.
posted by BeerFilter at 10:53 AM on January 5, 2007


If you decide to do it yourself, I can recommend making a handy-dandy gutter scoop out of a plastic quart milk jug: cut the bottom of an empty jug off, hold by the handle and scoop away.
posted by jamaro at 11:00 AM on January 5, 2007


Response by poster: OK, first off, I should have mentioned in the post that I have no intention of trying to do it myself. I realize it would be a cost-saver, but I'm 55 and bookish, and balancing on ladders while dealing with buckets and work gloves is not my thing at all. And it would cease to be a cost-saver once I fell off and wound up in the hospital.

With that out of the way:

browse your yellow pages for "handymen"

Alas, my yellow pages have no listing for handymen, nor for odd jobs, nor for day laborers, gardeners, or yard maintenance. To date I have seen no signs posted on telephone poles, but I'll certainly keep my eye out. Asking the neighbors is an excellent suggestion, except that the one on one side works nights and I hardly ever run into her and am afraid of knocking on her door for fear of waking her up, and the one on the other side never seems to be around. But I should widen my horizons: maybe I'll take a walk and just ask anyone I see pottering around their house. Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone—I'm getting some good ideas!
posted by languagehat at 11:21 AM on January 5, 2007


Our free neighborhood newspaper has a classified section that seems to be filled with guys looking for this kind of work. Or if you had craigslist, you can always find someone like this in the barter section.
posted by advicepig at 11:41 AM on January 5, 2007


Looking in the yellow pages try Landscaping. They all should have maintenance services and perform those kind of tasks.
posted by Max Power at 11:56 AM on January 5, 2007


Off duty firemen often will do those sort of projects.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:58 AM on January 5, 2007


I use a hose and/or a home-made scoop on a pole.
You just need to get your mind in there, and you'll figure it out :^)
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:19 PM on January 5, 2007


Response by poster: OK, I happened to see my next-door neighbor out the window and dashed down and asked, and she said she'd call her friend Mary whose husband does this kind of thing, and she came over just now and told me he'd do it for $100. That sounds a little high to me; what do y'all think?

She also told me a great story: Back when my wife and I moved into this house, two years ago now, we had the roof retiled. While the men were working on it, her sister found a dead possum in the back yard. Not wanting to deal with it herself, she came over and asked the head of the roofing crew if he could get rid of it. He did, they started talking, they hit it off... and they're still together! Awww....
posted by languagehat at 1:34 PM on January 5, 2007


We use our roofer, but I noticed a truck pull in front of our neighbor's house last week. The side of the truck said "gutter cleaning." I guess some people make a business out of this. Although, it could have been one of those magnetic signs, and perhaps he has others in the back like "carpentry," "pet grooming," "visiting dentist" and "Laser vision correction in your home."
posted by caddis at 1:38 PM on January 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


languagehat, cute story. Regarding the $100, think about how it takes to do the job and the difficulty of the job. Do you have a two story home? Is it X thousand linear feet that need to be cleaned? Thinking of those things, I figure $100 is pretty good on average, and he'll probably do a thorough job.
posted by snsranch at 3:56 PM on January 5, 2007


We pay our roofer $75, of course he is totally unreliable for these small jobs and has yet to come for our fall cleaning. Perhaps $100 for someone who will actually show up isn't so bad. I went out on the roof myself this year, which of course is a good way to get yourself killed.
posted by caddis at 4:04 PM on January 5, 2007


Hmmm, I really need to proofread before hitting post. Can you say, "of course?"
posted by caddis at 4:06 PM on January 5, 2007


'hat, some home repair jobs you do NOT want to skimp on; gutter-cleaning isn't one of them. Anybody who seems capable of taking instructions, balancing, and doing a thorough job can do the trick. Post a couple of notices offering $50 for the job at your h.s. and the Berkshire CC. Check in occasionally to supervise and steady the ladder. Have the kid check the job with a hosedown before forking over the loot.

Then spring for a gutter screen or leaf guard from your friendly hardware store.
posted by rob511 at 4:26 PM on January 5, 2007


According to NH Craigslist if you email this guy: serv-257914763@craigslist.org, you can get your gutters cleaned and your vinyl siding pressure washed.

According to the Pittsfield, MA yellow pages there are 18 entries to choose from.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:40 PM on January 5, 2007


I had a guy do ours for $50 a few times, but he was unreliable, so I've been doing it myself the last few times. No biggie, except that you want some gloves that are thicker and water resistant due to spots with goop and/or bugs. It's really not that bad once you're comfortable on the ladder.

FYI, a roofer that also sells gutter covers told me you still have to check/clean twice a year even with them, so I took his tacit advice and skipped the covers.
posted by NortonDC at 10:59 PM on January 5, 2007


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