Image result for hiring contractors for flood repairsPrayers go out to all the families in Houston and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Know that your community, friends and businesses are here to support you in such a time where having a helping hand means so much.  We are here as a company to assist you in any way we can.  With that being said please read over this blog to help you in the next step of recovery.  With so much going through your mind after seeing your home flooded we wanted to help you in hiring a reputable contractor.  Hiring contractors that best suit your needs to repair damages caused by the hurricane is of the utmost importance.  

Your home is of extreme value to leave it to someone that may not answer your call tomorrow.  

The following information should be kept in mind when hiring contractors:

  • Be Cautious

It is at our time of need when many unscrupulous individuals may try to take advantage of our situation.  Do not fall for “door-to-door” salesmen stating they were in the area or have extra material to help you with repairs, both situations are red flags.  Not all door-to-door contractors are scammers but many home repair scams tend to occur in the wake of disasters such as a hurricane.  You are going to need dependable contact information that tells you who they are and how to get a hold of them.  Make sure you check references of the individuals you receive bids from.  Research their certifications and experience in flood damage restoration and repairs.  Do not fall for high pressure sales tactics and being rushed into a decision today.

  • Payment methods

Compare bids of at least three companies quoting you for the exact same flood repairs.  Get quotes in writing and do not accept estimates over the phone.  Explain to them when you call the situation your home is in after it flooded.  A contractor will ask for partial payment before the start of a project but never for a large down payment.  You should not however pay in full until the work is complete and after you have found the repairs satisfactory.  The contractor should have stated in the contract a partial payment schedule to satisfy the part of each completion.  Always inspect the work and make sure the contractor has met the schedule before making a payment.  You should not sign a certificate of completion until all work is complete, site cleaned and you are satisfied.

  • Request a contract

Home repairs are performed under contract to protect you the consumer and the company from any issues that can come up during completion of a project. When a contract is drawn up make sure you have the opportunity to review on your own time. Be suspicious of companies rushing you to sign on the spot. Do not sign a contract with blanks in it. Review the copy you are given to make sure everything promised to you is in writing. Insist the contract includes everything the contractor says he will do and date when work will start and completed. The cost of special orders and materials should also appear. Many contractors charge a fee for changes to a work order so know the amount. Have documented proof such as pictures of damages before work begins and as it progresses.

  • Always ask for insurance

Require the contractor to show you proof of insurance coverage for their work and call insurer to confirm coverage.  Do not let their contractor’s license and insurance slide if it is expired.  You can check their information any time through the state’s contractor licensing board.  It will be to your benefit to hire a licensed contractor if their is a dispute during repairs.  Ask your contractor for a copy of their general liability policy.  Request to be added as an additional insured on their policy to protect your property during repairs.

  • Think local

Take the time to choose a contractor that is local to work on your home.  They will have a connection to your community.  With a local contractor you can also visit previous project sites and speak with homeowners for references.  And their availability will be more flexible as their office will not be far in case problems arise.  You do not want to hire a contractor with offices in another state that you can only reach them by phone.

Check them out

There are several websites you can use to verify a companies references and complaints on jobs they may have completed.

– Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas  https:/www/www.bbb.org/houston

– Angie’s List https:/www/www.angieslist.com/

– The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation https:/www/www.license.state.tx.us/

What the law says

When signing a home improvement contract an important notice will appear next to the space for your signature, it states:  “You and your contractor are responsible for meeting the terms and conditions of this contract.  If you sign this contract and you fail to meet the terms and conditions of this contract, you may lose your legal ownership rights in your home.  Know your rights and duties under the law.”  This means that if you fail to make payments the company has the right to place a lien on your home.  You may also be subject to a lien if the contractor does not pay his employees.  You are held responsible even if you did not contract them directly.  That is why it is important to understand exactly what your obligations are in the contract.  Make sure you get copies of everything you sign.