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How to Choose Contractor for Your Restoration Project

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You’ve just learned that you’ve had a water, fire, vehicle, theft or other damage. Regardless of the scale, the dread and panic can sweep over you quickly such as a dark cloud. What do I really do now!?

This is likely the first time you’ve were required to file a claim or deal with anything of the sort. You don’t know any contractors and not at all any that are experienced in working with this mess.

You Can Choose Highland Construction Contractor That You’d Like

When you experience a water or fire damage one of the first things you might do is call your insurance company. You might feel pressure from your insurance company to choose a contractor that they recommend. If you are the recommended contractor is a good one after you do some research then by all means use them but keep in mind that you can work with the contractor of your choice. By far the most efficient way is for you to select a contractor early on in the process, so they can help you navigate things from the start but do not feel pressured to create a decision. It’s more important that you make the right decision than a fast one.

Keep in mind that if your insurance company is pushing a contractor, it’s possible that their motives may be conflicted. “Their contractor” can have a tendency to please the adjuster if you want to ensure future work from them and not need your best interest at heart. This is not always the case but it’s something to understand.

Ask for References

Any contractor worth their salt will provide you with a reference list upon request. Granted, this can be a handpicked set of their finest customers but look for varying jobs over a period of time, including recent ones. Make sure you call at least some if not all of the references. The benefits are twofold: You can get a report on the contractor’s performance, timeliness, quality, etc. but you can also inquire further specifics about how exactly the insurance process was for them and about possible pitfalls or problem areas to watch out for. Ask if there have been any guarantee issues and how timely were they and exactly how did they respond to these? It’s not unusual to have a warrantee issue but the key is how performed the contractor handle the situation.

Check Online Reviews

Similar to references, this gives you a genuine world feel for what the contractor is like. Take into account that a random negative review is not abnormal, check out the nature than it and how (if) the contractor responded to it and judge accordingly. Ask the contractor if you have any unanswered questions.

The insurance Repair Process Can Take Some Time, Choose Accordingly

Even a relatively small water damage claim can take per month or two from learn to finish, and medium to larger claims may take half a year, a huge fire damage may take a year or even longer. Choose a contractor with this thought. You intend to choose someone that you trust and feel comfortable with because your relationship with them is going to be longer than you think.

Review Contracts, Change Orders and Work Authorizations

Consider asking to review the documents the contractor uses for the various stages of work. In my view the primary reason for a contract is to clarify things between two parties. Apart from the legal part of contracts, keeping things clear and both parties on the same page is their most effective daily aspect.

Verify that they are Licensed, Bonded and Insured

This may go without saying but it’s something that lots of neglect. It’s worth looking them through to your state’s website, in Washington State you can also verify that they aren’t in arrears on things such as their L&I payments.

How Long Has The Contractor Been in Business?

This can point to experience in the industry, which is critical when it comes to navigating a successful insurance claim experience. This may also talk with their reputation. Typically businesses with a poor reputation aren’t in business permanent but that’s not always the case. Sometimes businesses that prey on people’s bad activities can be in business for a longer period of time because people feel forced to make a decision in a very emotional moment without research. While a remodeling company can repair a home after a fire damage or water damage and mold, often it’s best to work with a contractor that specializes in insurance repairs.

Unfortunately this is a real part of the insurance repair industry, particularly when it involves fire damages. Many contractors use a salesperson to listen to police/fire scanners. When they hear a fire damage come across they will arrive on the scene one of the emergency personnel. They may dress or act like they are there with the fire department or your insurance company. Never decide to use a contractor immediately after a fire damage. This really is a very emotional time and it is a major decision. I propose taking a week or two to review the needs you have and take the steps needed to locate a contractor that you are more comfortable with. If they show up at your home your day of the fire, they likely discovered you on the scanner which just doesn’t feel to me.

What are Their Employees Like?

See if they have an ‘About Us’ or similar section on their website. If they don’t, ask them how long their employees have been with them. High turnover is common in the restoration industry and finally speaks to the quality of the contractor, the way they treat people and what type of work they are more likely to perform.

What are their Subcontractors Like?

What trades do they do in house and which do they use a subcontractor for? How do they determine which subcontractors they may work with? Lowest price? Quality work? Other? How long have they had a relationship with a given subcontractor?

Customer Communication

This is one of the most critical aspects of your relationship with the contractor. Communication is the backbone of an effective restoration project. How must they respond to your first phone call? How well do they communicate throughout your first meeting?

Warranty

What is it, how long is it for and how timely will the contractor be in answering a potential warrantee issue? Ask references about any experience they could have had.

Summary

After doing your due diligence, just trust your instincts and select the contractor that you are feeling the most comfortable with. Keep in mind that quality contractors typically aren’t pushy because they will often have enough work that they don’t have to be. If someone is pushy or hoping to get you to make a decision in the heat of the moment they might not be the main you want to work with.

Remember that in three years it won’t matter how long it took to revive your home. Choosing the right contractor can be the difference between a smooth process that restores or even increases your home’s value or simply the contrary if you choose the wrong company. So feel free to take your time and choose accordingly regardless of the pressure you might feel to be able to forward quickly.

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