Our hearts go out to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey. While many are rebuilding and putting their lives back together, we've seen our state and our communities come together in a big way...#TexasStrong. Catastrophes have a way to bring out the best in people... and also the worst. In past disasters, perpetrators took the deposit for a job and didn’t do the work. And we won't to make sure this doesn't happen to you.
The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offer these tips for hiring contractors:
1. Deal only with licensed and insured contractors.
Always obtain a current certificate of insurance for the contractor verifying the existence of the coverages required by the work (such as general liability, workers compensation and auto insurance).
2. Review the contract thoroughly. Get written estimates.
Never work purely with oral agreements. A contract will establish firm requirements for a proper job, completion benchmarks, lien filings and/or release, payment schedules (never pay full price in advance) and what constitutes proper completion of work (inspections and a local building ordinance compliance visit).
3. Avoid dealing with contractors that request money up front before a job is completed.
A deposit is a normal practice in contract work, but never pay more than 50% up front for a job. Full payment should only be required upon satisfactory completion of the job outlined in your contract.
4. Be skeptical of a contractor that charges a lot of money for temporary repairs.
Yes, there is more work than workers in some areas right now. But never accept a contractor's estimate for a high price for temporary repairs, no matter what the reason.
5. Only pay by credit card or personal check.
Never NEVER NEVER pay a contractor with cash.
6. Get References
Ask for them, call them, go by and see the work.
7. Don’t be pressured (e.g. “one-day-only” special or a discount for hiring on the spot.)
If you feel pressured into hiring a contractor, then he's not the one for you. Don't fall into gimmicks today and regret your decision tomorrow. Be smart. If it doesn't "feel" right to you, it probably isn't.
You can report scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721.The line is staffed by a live operator 24/7.
If you have any questions about your project and/or need help finding a contractor, ask a DDM Advisor.