As the smoke clears after a property fire, owners wrestle with strong emotions: shock, confusion,
anxiety, uncertainty, sadness. One emotion often wins: an overwhelming urge to do something now. That’s exactly what unscrupulous contractors bank on when they call you or tap your shoulder as the embers cool. “Sign this contract and make this reasonable deposit right now and we can start restoration immediately,” they urge.
Keep your money and your pen in your pocket. Companies that arrive unannounced, urging hasty contract signatures and down payments are the last ones you should hire. “Resist the very human urge to allow this unknown person to ‘help’ you, regardless of how comforting or skilled they may seem. Politely decline and check with your insurer before signing anything,” says Christopher Thomas, Technical Trainer for Paul Davis. “Qualified and trustworthy contractors allow all the time you need to evaluate your options, make a decision and ask questions.”
To help property owners find qualified restoration contractors, insurers maintain lists of qualified mitigation and remediation companies. They have carefully checked these companies’ references, qualifications, technology, expertise and communications skills.
Here’s what a qualified company provides before contract signature or project start:
- An on-site inspection by their staff – scheduled at your convenience soon after the fire.
- License verification, liability insurance, and Better Business Bureau ratings.
- A written cleanup and remediation plan and schedule. Be sure to ask how they will guarantee work schedules and completion dates.
- A payment schedule. Avoid large down payments or deposits prior to work being performed. Always make payments to a company entity, never an individual, and use credit cards when possible as an added form of consumer protection. Your credit card company can help if your contractor doesn’t complete the work. Avoid large down payments or deposits prior to work being performed. There are far too many stories of remediation nightmares in which unsuspecting property owners pay in advance and see checks cashed while the service company vanishes.
- References of other home or business owners they have worked for within the past two years.
Have questions now about disaster planning and preparation for your business or home? Call Paul Davis at 800-661-5975 to speak with a member of our team.