Tips for Hiring a Contractor After a Natural Disaster
After any natural disaster, consumers need to be wary of fly-by-night operators seeking to take advantage of water damage victims. IAQA recommends that consumers use the following minimum guidelines to qualify any contractors they hire:
- Obtain references from your relatives, friends, and neighbors.
- Know your contractor, ask for and check references.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau.
- Ensure the contractor is licensed and insured.
- Compare the cost estimate from your insurance provider with the estimate by the restoration contractor. They most likely won’t match exactly but should be similar for the covered loss.
- Agree on completion criteria prior to beginning work.
- Pay only a portion of the cost up front, typically 30%. Pay another portion of the cost at halfway, typically another 30%.
- Confirm quality of materials installed with those specified, inspect and verify satisfactory completion of work before paying the final invoice.
- Hire industry certified service providers from reputable industry trade organizations, such as:
- Reputable Contractors will work according to established industry standards and guidelines. Ask your contractor about the following industry standards and guidelines, a reputable contractor will be familiar with them.
- ASTM D-7338 Standard Guide for Assessment Of Fungal Growth in Buildings
- IICRC S500 Standard Guide for Water Damage Restoration
- IICRC S520 Standard Reference Guide for Mold Remediation
- NADCA ACR 2013 Assessment, Cleaning and Restoration of HVAC Systems
- Contractor wants 50% deposit plus cost of materials.
- Contractor offers financing of the deductible or other significant costs.
- Contractor offers to act as the homeowner’s agent in representing them to FEMA and lists themselves as beneficiaries.
- Contractor and the assessor that writes the scope and/or verifies completion of work are the same company.
- Contractor emphasizes cost saving over relationship, trust and final warranty of satisfaction.
Additional Storm Damage Resources
Visit our storm damage page for additional information on mitigating storm damage and flooding. Also, please visit our Consumer Resources page which has helpful information on topics such as mold, fire and smoke damage and volatile organic compounds.