With the aftermath of a hurricane, you might find that your home has suffered extensive damages due to heavy flooding and strong winds. From broken pipes to mold build up, it’s important begin the restoration process as soon as possible in order to avoid further damage to your health and safety. After doing a general clean up of your home, paying attention to weak floors or exposed wires, you’ll begin to notice which parts of your home may need repairs or replacement.
In this guide, we share important tips to hiring contractors to repair your home after the hurricane.
1. Find a Reputable Contractor
A reputable contractor is one that is licensed, insured and bonded. Your contractor will be responsible for inspection, restoration from start to finish, as well as having the knowledge needed for maintenance upkeep in the future so it’s important to find one you can trust. You can start by searching for licensed contractors within your area. Or better yet, ask family, friends and neighbors for recommendations. Having a referral ensures that you can find a trustworthy contractor to repair and restore your home. Make sure to do a background check and ask for references of work so you have a better understanding of the contractor you’re looking to hire.
Be careful of door-to-door contractors or storm chasers. These are contractors or companies who travel to different places with severe weather conditions and offer repair services without proper licenses. They tend to promise speedy repairs at a lower cost and quality, without being accountable for poorly built repairs.
2. Gather and Compare Three Bids from Different Contractors
Generally, a minimum of three different bids helps you compare pricing thoroughly before you decide which contractor to go for. You want to get value for your money so having three different estimates will lay out what each contractor can offer, the time it takes to finish, the materials they’ll be using and their qualifications – making it easier for you to pick the best one.
While pricing may be one of the trickiest parts of hiring a contractor, it’s well worth the effort of making sure you know exactly what you’re paying for. More often, the least expensive will turn out to be more expensive in the long run when not properly laid out in detail – especially if you haven’t selected finishes, floor materials, cabinet styles and so on. Make sure the scope of work is clearly spelled out in the breakdown of pricing, and don’t be afraid to ask about each item on the list.
3. Pay Only in Installments, Never by Cash or Check Up Front
After agreeing on the pricing, it’s time to agree on the payment plan. Before any type of work begins, make sure both you and the contractors know when to expect payment. Make payments in installments, contingent on milestones set in the contract. For instance, a certain amount is to paid after demolition, drywall and so on. Only hand over the final payment when the restoration work is completed, and you are satisfied with the results.
4. Ask for a Written Contract
Get everything in writing. Having a written contract that indicates the contractor’s information, the complete cost of the restoration, the materials used, start and end dates, the payment schedule and the scope of work is absolutely necessary. This helps you make sure that you’re only paying for the work being done, as well as to ensure your protection should misunderstandings arise. Never rush into a signing a contract, and go through it with your attorney if possible.
5. Take Photos
Finally, make sure to take photos of your home before repair work begins, and as the work progresses. You can do this in different stages throughout the restoration, or as frequently as you can. It’s important to check in regularly with your contractor to ensure that all construction work is going as planned. Additionally, having a physical record of the progress will come in handy when problems come up or when you notice something you may want to ask your contractor about. Make sure to save the photos in a secure location, so you know where to look for it when you need it.
We’d like to thank Justin Krzyston of Stonehurst Construction and Design for sharing these five tips with us. We hope these steps help anyone looking to hire a contractor to repair their home.