A Homeowner’s Guide to Selecting a Restoration Contractor

No one ever knows when disaster will strike. No matter whether it’s water damage or flooding from an unusually strong storm, structural damage from a falling tree or a vehicle collision, or fire damage from relentless wildfires, when it happens it can be overwhelming. 

As a property owner you need to be prepared so that when the unimaginable does occur, you are ready. The first thing you will need to do is hire a restoration contractor.

Unlike a general contractor who is licensed to repair damages to your property, a restoration contractor is a person (or company) who will be one of your first responders. They will assess the damages to your home or business, contact insurance companies to confirm coverages, and advise you on how to best go about making repairs. Your restoration contractor will be your strongest advocate, helping you get the home repairs you need to fix everything from your roof to your windows to your decking. A good restoration company should help you clean up the mess and protect your home and property from future damage. So it is in your best interests to contact one as soon as possible. 

Read on for the best ways to select the best restoration contractor.

Searching for a Restoration Contractor

You will need to find a contractor with the appropriate licenses, training, and other required standards. There are several ways you can go about your search. Asking your relatives, neighbors, and friends for recommendations is a smart course of action because they can give you first-hand advice on the level of work they experienced. If they didn’t require any restoration work, they might know someone who can refer you to a competent restoration contractor. 

If the contractor is from your area, they will be knowledgeable about your home and community and know city and county laws that are specific to the work that needs to be done. California has been undergoing intense flooding after a months-long drought and is prone to wildfires. A contractor familiar with the state will have that much more experience and knowledge.

You can also consult the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration
Certification
. The IICRC is a directory that certifies various companies to provide restoration services – including mold remediation, stone and tile cleaning, water restoration, fire and smoke damage restoration, floor maintenance, and house cleaning. Make sure you choose a company in your area that is certified to provide the specific restoration services that you need. 

Or you can peruse social media sites like Meta (Facebook) and review sites like Yelp for their feedback.

Look Out for Disreputable Firms

Sadly, some organizations look at natural disasters as a way to take advantage of their victims. Called “storm chasers” by the IICRC, they can be detected by the following signs:

  • Quoting prices that are way too low. Good restoration services are expensive. 
  • Companies that insist on cash payments before beginning work. Never pay with cash – only check or credit card. 
  • Companies that cannot provide you with the necessary certifications and references.

Call the Contractors Prior to Meeting Them

Once you have whittled your list of possible contractors, you can call and interview them, as you might if you were hiring an employee. Inquiring about their availability should be at the top of your list. Finding a contractor that is available 24/7 is wise, in the event you suffer future damages.

You will also want to find out what their schedule is like, and if they have worked on any projects like yours. Asking them for a list of references or previous clients is also advisable. And if you can visit the site of their previous work you will be ahead of the game.

Research their Background

Now that you’ve collected more information on your possible contractors, you need to delve further into their backgrounds. You can call their previous clients to see how they did and you can ask to see a portfolio of their work – or visit the sites where they worked, as mentioned earlier. It’s also smart to make sure there are no negative claims filed against them – scouring the Better Business Bureau is one site to research. 

Meet with Potential Contractors in Person

Since you will be spending a lot of time with these contractors, it is advisable to meet them in person before hiring them. Meeting them at a former work site is ideal. At this point, you will want to ask for an estimate for your project and you can ask or answer any unaddressed issues.

Deciphering the Bids

The candidates for the job will then provide you with quotes for the project. These bids should mark the expenses for individual materials, labor costs, and other expenses, and the timeline. You should also inquire if the total costs cover cleanup, repair, restorations, labor, and required materials. Review the quoted price carefully to avoid unexpected charges in the future.

Set up a Payment Schedule

Many restoration companies allow you to set up a payment plan. A 10 percent deposit is standard. Anything larger should give you pause.  example, a deposit that is half the bid or more could be an indication of issues with the contractor’s work standards or finances. 

Finalize the Deal

Another warning sign is if the company is trying to rush you into making a decision. Take all the time you need to ensure you are confident in your choice and comfortable with the contractors. 

Why You Should Hire Pan American for Restoration Services

Picking up the pieces after a disaster is often a stressful, life-changing event. You need a restoration company that acts as a calming influence and is your biggest advocate. Pan American Properties has the expertise, references, and staff to help you through this most stressful of times. Contact them today at (888) 754-9700 or email them at cs@papinc.com.

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