How to Avoid Falling for Fraud After Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy, which came directly through New Jersey in late October, left destruction and sadness in its wake. Now, more than a month later, residents are continuing to clean up and assess damage.

Even though this is the time when most people are banding together and helping one another, a few bad seeds have set out to take advantage of people at a vulnerable time.

To avoid hiring a fake contractor who will rip you off, here are some important things to know when hiring a contractor for landscaping and tree removal after the storm in New Jersey.

Don’t hire the first contractor you speak to

You’re likely at your most vulnerable, so you should avoid quick and careless decisions. Sometimes the first contractor you speak to may not be a legitimate contractor. Shop around for better deals. You can come back to them later.

Be wary of unrealistic quotes

If you go to a few contractors to get a quote about fixing the landscaping on your house, be especially wary if one is offering a quote significantly lower than the others. This could be a sign of fraudulent behavior. It is also illegal for companies to raise prices excessively, even if they are being booked up quickly.

Check with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs

Grandview Landscaping, like many other legitimate companies, is registered with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Double check with them and the Better Business Bureau to make sure the contractor is real.

Get a contract in writing

A verbal agreement does not hold the same weight as a written contract. Make sure you sign a physical contract that clearly spells out the terms of the agreement. Don’t sign anything without really looking at it.

Also be careful of solicitations from emails, people and phone calls

If you have sustained a lot of damage to your property, sometimes you’ll find people calling or visiting you with promises of speedy insurance processing. They might also ask for personal information to process a claim, but you should only give out information if you call FEMA.

Be smart

Finally, you should make sure to use your common sense and follow your instincts. If something feels off, don’t do it. And don’t hesitate to call us at 973.601.1114 if you would like to talk to a real, knowledgeable business about landscaping or tree removal.

Posted: December 9th, 2012 | Permalink

Tree Lightings in NJ and NY Ring in the Holidays

It’s that time of year when the holidays are finally starting to come alive. Thanksgiving is in the rear-view mirror and the season of magic and wonder is upon us.

Starting off locally, Santa Claus descended upon Morristown on a fire ladder to the delight of numerous children. At the Morristown Green—a historical park at the center of the town—Santa, with the help of a countdown from the audience, brought the town to life during the annual Christmas lighting.

You can get a glimpse at the great event from the video below:

Then, of course, you have one of the country’s most famous Christmas events—the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

The star of the night, an 80-foot Norway spruce, comes from New Jersey and holds a special place because the massive tree made it through Hurricane Sandy.

New Jersey and the Northeast in general has suffered a lot of setbacks over the past few weeks with destructive storms, but now is the time of year to band together to celebrate and rebuild as a community.

If you’re looking to light up the spirit of your neighborhood, contact us today to learn more about our New Jersey Christmas lighting services.

Posted: December 2nd, 2012 | Permalink

Types of Christmas Lights

With Thanksgiving only one day away, it means that Christmas is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about what types of decorations you’re going to put on your house for the holidays.

Installing holiday lighting yourself can be a pain because there’s so many options at the store, numerous ways to decorate your house and it takes a lot of time to put up. But we’ve made things easier for you by offering Christmas light installation services for residents of New Jersey.

Since it’s great to know more about what we offer, we’ve made this helpful guide to teach you more about the different types of Christmas lights.

Incandescent lights

For years, incandescent Christmas lights were the most popular. These are the common string lights you see everywhere. Incandescent bulbs transmit a powerful white light that’s then changed to different colors by paint surrounding the bulb. These have fallen out of favor because LEDs are seen as much more efficient. Incandescent lights are cheaper to buy but cost more to operate.

These can be used both inside and outside, but you have to beware because they are somewhat susceptible to weathering and give off a small amount of heat.

C7 and C9 lights

When you picture Santa’s cottage up in the North Pole with a string of large-bulb Christmas lights, those are C7 and C9 lights. These are some of the oldest types of Christmas lights out there. You actually have to screw in a bulb to the sockets along the string. They’re large, durable and bright, but they haven’t been very popular since the 1950s.

LED lights

These are the newest types of Christmas lights that are quickly gaining steam. Although they tend to be more expensive up front, they save you the cost of electricity in the long run because of how efficient they are. They were fairly limited early in their creation, but they’ve since expanded to include various colors and styles. The lights are even brighter than incandescent bulbs and highly durable, which make them perfect for use outside.

Posted: November 21st, 2012 | Permalink

How to Prepare Your Property For a Storm

It’s been a rough few weeks for the residents of New Jersey. After the devastating Hurricane Sandy came barreling through the area, a powerful nor’easter dumped several inches of snow on the area. While hurricanes are pretty rare in this part of the country—except for a bizarre few that have come dangerously close recently—storms are not an uncommon occurrence in New Jersey.

There are a number of things you should do before the arrival of a storm, including stocking up on water and making sure your flashlights are charged, but you also need to make sure your property is prepared. Here’s how.

Trim your trees

Whether you’re expecting high winds or heavy snow, the greatest amount of damage that happens to your property during a storm is usually from a fallen tree. It could fall on your car or house, but perhaps the most compelling reason to take down trees that could potentially fall is that they’re a major cause of deaths in storms. When high winds pummel an already fragile tree or heavy snow piles up on the branches, it could come crashing down unexpectedly.

That’s why you should always—not just before a storm—keep an eye out for trees or branches that look like they have the potential to break. Once you find these trees or branches, call an expert to come take it down for you.

Secure or store loose equipment or items

You should do this normally, but before a storm, it’s important to securely store anything that is loose in your yard. Put the patio chairs in your garage, pick up an loose toys or gardening equipment, and make sure outdoor shelters are taken down or secured. Things that are flying around can cause significant damage or they can be damaged in the rain or snow.

Take extra care of potted plants

You can’t do much for your garden and plants in the soil, but potted plants are at a high risk, so you should take care of them. You should make sure you do one of a few things. Either completely remove the potted plants from your yard by taking them into your garage or inside. Another option is to put it on the side of your house that won’t get a lot of windy. Finally, if you’re anticipating a high-wind storm, lay the potted plant on its side with the pot to prevent significant damage.

Remember that prevention is the best thing you can do for your yard during a hurricane. Double check everything in your yard and try to anticipate any problems, so you can take care of them.

Posted: November 15th, 2012 | Permalink

Tips For Snow Removal

With Hurricane Sandy barely in the rear view mirror, New Jersey is about to get hit with a nor’easter that’s supposed to drop a few inches of snow on the area. The potential rain and quickly dropping temperatures could also mean a lot of ice buildup.

Damage, especially since many places have yet to recover from the previous storm, might be exacerbated. And whether you’re a business looking to stay open in a storm or a resident who wants to keep your driveway clear, snow and ice removal will be important. Give us a call if you’re interested in commercial snow and ice management.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Opt for a professional

If you’re a business, selecting a professional snow remover is important because shoveling the snow yourself is simply out of the question. You’ll need someone with a snow plow, since that is one of the only effective ways to get rid of large amounts of snow. You should also choose someone with experience.

Only shovel small amounts of snow

For smaller jobs, it’s fine to use a snow shovel to clear your driveway or sidewalk. If it’s anything more than that, you should avoid shoveling because you can risk injury, especially if it’s in the morning. Shovel small portions of snow at once to not strain yourself.

Consider a snow blower for heavy snow

A much better alternative to the traditional labor associated with shoveling snow is the snow blower. A snow blower is essentially a small snow plow that can clear large amounts of snow by tossing it aside. A single-stage snow blower is a great option for residential areas.

Use rock salt for icy sidewalks

One of the biggest enemies after snow storms is ice. It can sit speciously waiting on your sidewalk or driveway for you to come along to slip and fall. If you’ve done some shoveling or the sidewalk is relatively clear, put down some rock salt to de-ice the area and create friction.

Posted: November 7th, 2012 | Permalink