Advice for Selecting a Contractor When Disaster Strikes
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is one of the most active in recent memory — and there's still over two months to go. November 30 is when hurricane season officially ends and in addition to preparing for hurricanes, jewelers in coastal states need to be prepared for what to do after a storm strikes.
One of the most important aspects of recovering from a disaster is selecting a contractor. Working with a reputable contractor gives peace of mind, whereas choosing a fly-by-night service provider could make a bad situation worse.
Keep these tips in mind to avoid a nightmare situation and make a smooth road to recovery.
- Be proactive and have a list of preferred contractors ready ahead of time. Their services will be in high demand after a storm and they often work on a first come, first serve basis.
- Ask for references and check with the Better Business Bureau before prioritizing your list. Don't put all your trust in research done online from review sites — get the opinions of family, friends, and colleagues, too.
- Part of your selection criteria should be that the contractor is licensed, insured and bonded. A license ensures your state or municipality recognizes the contractor as a professional in their field, their insurance typically covers liability and workers' compensation claims resulting from their work at your business, and a bond signifies that a surety company backs the contractor if their work is not on time, on budget, or inadequate.
- Be wary of anyone who goes door to door. They might make extravagant promises about their work, but stick to you're list of pre-identified contractors.
- Consider getting more than one estimate. Unlike an unfortunate mishap, this may not be an option after a major natural disaster. You don't want to miss a sure thing by shopping around and not having any options left when you've finally made a decision.
- Make sure the contractor listens to your concerns about what has been damaged and how you’d like the damages to be repaired. Even though you should have references, they'll be under stress to get a lot of work done quickly when a hurricane clean up is underway.
- Get all estimates in writing with a detailed description of the work and, preferably, the cost to complete each task. Should a dispute arise, this will help make the resolution process easier.
Download our complete Hurricane Preparedness Guide to get more than just advice for selecting a contractor — you'll also learn how to prepare for storms and stay safe during them!
This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated for accuracy.