Stay away from the out of state contractors that come rushing in when there’s a natural disaster. Your BS meter should be on high alert during this time of crisis. I’ve put together a couple of quick tips but you need to ensure that they licensed, bonded, insured, and have references. That means that you’ll take the time to validate and confirm everything they give you.
Door-to-Door Sales And Solicitation
This one is fairly common. The fly by night contractors will deploy a team of “salespeople” in the flooded area. Their main job is to canvass the local neighborhoods and sell flood damage services to homeowners. The sales pitch is very simple and more than likely you’re in need of help so it makes it really easy for them to sell you. It goes something like this “We will work with your insurance company so that you have no out of pocket expense. Don’t worry we have a professional staff that can work on your house immediately.”
This sounds great because most, if not all, of the local contractors are completely booked. So, you take a gamble with the door-to-door sales guy.
Quick tip – Consistently follow-up with your insurer to make sure the contractor is approved to perform the work. I would go a step further and ask to see some licensing provided by the state as well as some type of business insurance. If you can get a BBB report then that will cut down on fraud as well.
You Have To Act Now… Limited Availability
These terms should be raising red flags as soon as the contractor says them. Don’t be hustled into believing that you have to make a decision on the spot. You need to slow down and validate everything they’re telling you. Don’t take anything at face value.
If they want you to sign a contract then you need to read it carefully. The State Bar of Texas has a free resource page for you to leverage. Take advantage of it!
Guaranteed… It Better Be In Writing
If they guarantee anything then it better be in writing. Talk is cheap and savvy sales guy love to tell you everything you want to hear but they usually come up short when its time to deliver on the promise. If you’re unsure then get your insurance provided involved immediately.