Some surprises are great. Others, well, can be a real disaster. At Paul Davis Restoration we’ve heard some terrible stories from homeowners and business customers who rushed to hire a restoration company in their panic following property damage from storms, fires, smoke and floods.

In emergency situations, it’s normal for property owners to be traumatized, confused and very anxious to hire a restoration company right away to get the clean-up started immediately. So, it’s no surprise that after a fire, flood, or other severe damage strikes a home or business, companies you may never have heard of show up immediately to take advantage of the crisis.

This is the best time to stay calm, be careful and sign nothing! Many unqualified, unscrupulous companies, with no expertise in mitigation or remediation, prey on shocked property owners, urging immediate action. Beware: companies that rush you into contracts are the last ones you should hire. Stop and check with your insurance agent or adjuster before signing anything.

Insurers know that unscrupulous companies seek to line their pockets as they pick yours. To protect against fraud, insurers maintain lists of qualified mitigation and remediation companies. They have carefully vetted these companies’ experience, technology, expertise and communications skills.

While your insurer likely will not make the choice for you, calling companies they suggest is the wise way to proceed. This is no time for second best™. When you do reach the two, three or four companies they recommend, here’s what you should request before any contract is signed or work begins:

  • An on-site inspection by their staff.
  • License verification, liability insurance, and Better Business Bureau ratings.
  • A written cleanup and remediation plan and schedule. Ask how they will guarantee work schedules and completions dates.
  • An equipment list.
  • A payment schedule. 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. Always make payments to a company entity, never an individual, and use credit cards when possible. Your credit card company can help if your contractor doesn’t complete the work.
  • Be sure to request references of other home or business owners they have worked for within the past two years.

Mitigation and restoration contracts can be difficult to read through and understand; reputable companies will explain carefully and take as much time as you need to feel comfortable. Again, don’t sign anything that you don’t understand. Seek further advice from your insurer at any point in the process so you aren’t presented with another mess – this time a financial one – to clean up.

With Paul Davis offices – over 370 throughout North America – you’re assured of sound and secure mitigation and restoration advice. Our highly experienced and qualified technicians care about your needs and your comfort as they work to bring your property back to tip-top condition. Don’t hesitate to call Paul Davis at 800-661-5975 or visit us at www.pauldavis.ca whenever questions arise after wind, rain, or other damage to your home or business.