Hurricane Irma damages: How to hire a contractor 

Posted: 1:13 pm Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

By Eric "Hollywood" Davis STAR 94.5


As homeowners across the South begin to assess the damage Hurricane Irma did to their property, they face the task of cleaning up and making repairs.

Here are some tips on hiring a contractor to help with the work:

1. Do not rush to get the work done. Contractors who come in after the storm may try to pressure you into a “quick fix,” but they may simply be pulling a scam.

2. Get at least three estimates for the work to be done. Get them in writing.

3. Be careful of people going door-to-door offering to do repairs. Ask for references then check them out.

4. Online sites that vet people who do repair work, like Angie’s List or Porch, can be a place to start when looking for a contractor. Consumer Reports also has some tips for finding a contractor.

5. Get a written contract. Make sure it specifies the exact work to be done and the cost for each item to be repaired.

6. Local insurance adjusters often work with contractors. They can be a source for reputable repair companies.

7. Check out contractors on The Better Business Bureau keeps profiles on home contractors. Take a look at the BBB’s guide to choosing the right contractor.

8. Verify a contractor’s license and insurance. Click here for information on contractors in Florida; click here for information on contractors in Texas; click here for information on contractors in Georgia. You can also go to DisasterAssistance.Gov for a list of government-approved contractors.

9. Do not sign an “assignment of benefits” form for repair work. The Consumer Protection Coalition warns a homeowner will lose control of the insurance policy and unscrupulous contractors can inflate the bill

10. Never pay for a job in advance, and pay for it with a credit card if you can. Make payment for the work to a company, not an individual. Some contractors will ask for help buying supplies for the job. That is not necessarily a red flag. Offer no more than 10 percent of the cost of repairs up to $1,000.

11. Ask for a receipt and do a final walk through to inspect the work.

Sources: The Better Business BureauAngie’s ListPorchDisasterAssistance.Gov