Storms hit the United States pretty hard this past week. If you have some damage to your business or home and need to have a contractor take a look you have to read this article before you call one.
The process of hiring a contractor is a tough one. Whether you are hiring someone to repair some minor damage, do a remodel or you have had an insurance loss these are steps you cannot afford to skip. Missing one of these steps will cost you money out of your pocket. Money you were either expecting to spend on your remodel or money you were not budgeted to spend after a claim.
- Please please please whatever you do absolutely DO NOT let a contractor so much as step foot on your property without insurance. Do not take their word for it. Ask to be named a certificate holder and to have a certificate of insurance faxed, emailed or snail mailed to you. Being listed as a certificate holder ensures the contractor has current insurance. This is a very common request so don’t be shy. Don’t know what you are looking for? Forward it over to your insurance agent. That is what we are for! Skip this step and any damage a contractor causes and/or any injuries to the contractor’s employees will be your problem which = money out of your pocket. Generally speaking the contractor minimally should have general liability, workers compensation and be bonded.
- Beware of contractors that are not local. There have been an in-flux of contractors from other states that are not ethical. Do your research on a company – ask where they are headquarted, who owns the company, check out the BBB, Angie’s List etc. . . Contractors that don’t live/work/play in your area do not care about their reputation. They are working only for the money and the quality of their work will prove it. Worst part is when you go to complain to them you won’t be able to find them because they have moved on to another town. Here is a piece WCNC just posted about this topic http://www.wcnc.com/money/consumer/dont-get-taken-by-storm-chasing-contractors/56521269
- Do not under ANY circumstances pay for all the work up front. We had several clients that paid for full roof replacements before the work was done and the company took their money and went out of business. How awful is that?? Your roof needs replaced, the insurance company gave you the money and you just paid it all to a company that filed bankruptcy before they did your work. Talk about money out of your pocket!! If you are ask for money upfront make sure you are dealing with a legitimate company (because you have done your research), have a signed contract agreeing on the work and cost and only give a small percentage ( no more than 25%) up front.
- Last but not least ask for references. Anyone that does a good job should be able to provide you with at least 3-5 customers they have done a similar project for. Don’t just get the references so you can check it off your list – CALL them. The number one question you should ask the person is if they would hire the contractor to do additional work for them. Ask that question first if they say “no” then you really don’t need to know anything else.
- Oops – last but not least (for real this time) get more than one estimate. I know it takes time but you are spending a lot of money on the project. Get at least 3 and 5 if you have enough time. You are not just paying a contractor to do the job but are also paying for that person’s professional opinion.
If you get that funny feeling in your gut that something just isn’t right TRUST YOUR GUT! If you get into this process and just aren’t sure about something. . . the certificate of insurance, what insurance the contractor should have ANYTHING, call us 704-510-8884. Every single day this is what we do. Even if you are remodeling call us 704-510-8884. You have hired O’Connor Insurance as your insurance professionals and we are more than happy to help you.