With the 2016 hurricane season well underway and many homeowners already facing the difficult challenge of rebuilding following Hurricane’s Herminie and Matthew, it is always good to be reminded of what one should consider when hiring a contractor on short notice to repair storm damage.
Rudy Rowe, owner of Rowe Roofing and Southland Contracting has managed repairs from big to small following hurricanes and other natural disasters in his 30 years as a general contractor and roofer in Florida. Rowe wants homeowners to understand that there is as much pressure on contractors to help in times of need as there is on homeowners to get their homes back to normal. Despite the chaos following the storm, Rowe believes it is important for both parties to try to take a collaborative and patient approach to repair projects.
First, Rowe wants homeowners to know that they have every right to protect their homes after a storm and should not wait for an insurance adjuster to arrive to have a tarp or other protective devices placed over a damaged roof or other part of their home. “Call your insurance company immediately, but don’t sit and wait for the adjuster if you can put a tarp or have one put on your home. Beginning the drying process sooner than later may save a home from significantly greater water damage.” From there, Rowe cautions to be careful before you sign any documents and don’t feel desperate to hire a contractor, even if you are desperate!
"Having a longstanding relationship with a roofer or contractor you trust is a huge advantage in times of storms. But if you don’t have a relationship with a reputable builder, check Angie’s list and other sources before you start making calls.” Rowe also suggests that homeowners consider several factors before hiring a new contractor during a storm or at any other time. "Pay attention to the trucks the contractors and his crew drives. Are they clean and in decent condition? Is the company name prominently displayed on the truck? Do the workers dress professionally, are their uniforms or work clothes clean when they begin the job?” Rowe believes these are all simple; telltale signs that a contractor cares about his reputation and will likely do quality work and also cautions, “of course, making sure the contractor is fully licensed for the type of work you need done as well as fully insured for liability are also critically important ways to protect yourself."
Finally, Rowe says homeowners should be careful about hiring unknown entities or out-of-town contractors who show up after storms, some of which may be there simply to take advantage of the situation. Some may be fully qualified and well meaning, but others may be unlicensed, uninsured and even unscrupulous and there just to bilk unwitting customers. Rowe says to never hire an out of state contractor, as they simply will not likely have the required license and insurance that you need to protect your own interests.
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