It is quite true that natural catastrophe bring out the best and worst in people. However unfortunately, the number of illegitimate contractors called as “storm chasers” or “fly by night” contractors that try to take full advantage of the chaotic situation created by the disasters is on the rise. It is definitely the most vulnerable situation for the homeowners that are desperate to get life back to normal as soon as possible. However, you need to find the right person for the job before giving too much power to someone.
In this regard, following are some important warning signs to look for.
All of the professional contractors are required to obtain the license to work in your area. You can also check the listings on the state licensing board’s site to verify whether the person or the company is a legitimate contractor or not. Similarly, those contractors who work from door to door might not have an established local business and a licensed contractor from other state is also not allowed to work in yours.
Extremely Low Rates:
Try to get minimum of three bids on your project before hiring anyone to fix your home after the catastrophe. Furthermore, try to provide as specific information about your requirements as possible to get the accurate estimates. In this regard, if you receive a bid that is extremely low from others, there must be some reason behind it. The cheapest rates are not always the best rates and the bidder might belong to the same category discussed above.
Requires a Large Deposit:
Every state has its own rules and regulations regarding how much money a contractor can demand as an upfront payment ranging from less than 10% to almost 30%. Therefore, you must be aware of laws of your state about the deposits before agreeing on any amount.
Does not have Permanent Place of Business:
This is the most important point as not anyone who comes to help you is qualified and licensed to do the job. Some are skillful but lack the required expertise and experience to overcome the complications created by the disaster. According to rules of some states, all the contractors should have a physical office with legitimate address (not just P.O. Box) alongside a legitimate email and phone number. This will also help you to find if they are licensed and to contact them at any time.
This is the most common warning sign that should raise the signal for you. Avoid any contractor that says that contract is not necessary. It is actually the contract that specifies what actually is the scope of the work, what materials are to be used and what is the payment procedure and schedule. Therefore, you need to sign a contract with a potential home fixer and try to avoid those that try to take advantage of the desperate situations.
Natural disasters can really create an awful situation for the homeowners and they get desperate to get things right. However, you should beware of scammers and try not to fall victim of illegitimate contractors that will create further difficulties for you.