The storms of last week have many people wondering what they are going to do next. As the water recedes and damages begin to become apparent, homeowners will be looking for contractors to help with various tasks including roof repairs, siding repair or replacement, gutter replacement, yard cleanup and construction services to help rebuild any portions of the home that were damaged by floods. This is when many less than trustworthy contractors suddenly come out of the woodwork, targeting homeowners that are feeling vulnerable at the moment. In order to avoid getting taken by a scam, there are a few simple rules to follow.
Don’t Make Quick Decisions
When someone comes to your door, offering to help you with your damages, you might feel a sense of relief. After all, you don’t have to spend hours on the computer or the phone looking for the right provider, there is one right in front of you. Unfortunately, these cases that seem too good to be true typically are just that. Reputable contractors do not go door to door; they are usually busy helping their customers with their damages.
Do your Research
If a contractor does come to your door that you are interested in pursuing, don’t sign any paperwork; do your research first. Just as you would if you found a contractor online, you should check with the Better Business Bureau or other reputable third-party websites, such as Angie’s List, that offers reviews and ratings on various companies. This will give you an idea about the legitimacy of a company and whether or not you should be giving them your money and trusting them with your home repairs.
Get a Contract
Once you do find a contractor to work with, always get everything in writing. If the company does not offer a contract or written agreement of costs, the job to be performed and the timeframe, chances are it is a scam. If the company insists on you relying on their verbal contract, it is best to not use their services. Chances are they will not hold up their end of the bargain.
Don’t Give Money up Front
Any contractor that insists on you making full payment up front under the pretense that he needs it to purchase the supplies for your repairs is typically a scam artist. Without a written contract, you should not be giving any contractor money and most reputable contractors will not require full payment up front.