Get a written estimate first!
The contractor should give you a written estimate for all the costs associated with the tank removal & replacement and the scope of work. The estimate should detail line by line the costs for labor, materials, sludge removal, town permits and costs for transferring oil from one tank to another. The estimate should also cover the costs of scrapping the old oil tank if it's removed or cleaning the interior if it's abandoned. You should also know whether the company will charge you additionally if the NJ town inspector does not arrive on site the day of the removal & replacement. It would also be a good idea to document what will happen if the tank removal takes longer than originally estimated. Be sure to discuss the costs for restoring any disturbed landscaping such as shrubs and grass.
Do not accept open ended quotes for the work!
The company should be able to give you a firm price without an open ended quote. If the quote contains many contingent fees you may want to choose another contractor. An experienced tank removal company may not even need to visit your home prior to performing the work. Many homeowners have fallen into the trap where they received an attractive price over the phone only to find out on the day of the removal that the final price is substantially greater. The way to avoid this is to make sure the quotes you receive are not open ended.
What should happen during the contractor's site visit?
The contractor should find the location of the tank and make sure there are no obstructions that would substantially slow down the tank removal crew's work. They should take note if the tank is under a deck, below a patio or underneath the driveway and you should discuss how the contractor will deal with that situation.
A good contractor will make sure the tank is accessible with a backhoe or similar machinery. If a backhoe cannot be used for digging, the tank must be dug up by hand. This can mean that extra fees apply and you should know what to expect in the way of charges before the day of the oil tank removal work.
During this time, you should ask the contractor where they plan to install the new tank. If the new tank is placed inside the home, the tank removal company should make sure the tank is placed far enough away from the heating and electrical systems. This will avoid creating a fire hazard inside the home.
If the new tank is outside the home, the company should know whether the town or municipality requires crash balusters to prevent cars and vehicles from hitting the outside oil tank. If they are required, make sure the material & installation costs are included in your estimate.