After experiencing a property loss, reputable contractors and fast, reliable work is a large part of the rebuilding process to make you whole again.
The Colucci Law Group recommends these steps for choosing the right professional contractor:
- Check for a permanent place of business, phone number, tax I.D. number and a business license.
- You can find all of this information at: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/ByName
- Or, you can call us at 850-391-7244 and we will search for you.
If you are already considering a contractor, and they pass the above step, then request verification of their professional liability insurance. If they are not insured, do NOT let them on your property. Also, call the insurer and make sure the insurance is up to date. Ask for any coverage gaps. The insurer will tell you.
Many, but not all contractors will be Bonded. This means they have paid for a policy that insures you will get the job done if they can’t complete it. It is not a requirement in Florida, but it helps to narrow the field if they are Licensed, Insured, and Bonded
Look for a company with experience, by asking for client references. Request a list of completed projects. They should be able to provide it quickly. The good guys have this list ready because they expect you to call. Also, ask about a list of a few “unsatisfied customers.” A good company knows that problems arise, and shouldn’t hide from them. The important thing to know is how they dealt with the problem. You can also check to see if the contractor is a member of local/national industry associations, and even if they are on the Better Business Bureau, or Angie’s List, etc. If so, check for complaints, and ask about them.
An estimate for work, or a services contract, or a work proposal, or any other name for a Quote, should include complete descriptions of the work to be performed, specifications of all damage to be repaired and the materials used in the repair. It should also include approximate start and complete dates/times, as well as detailed information on their payment procedures. Watch for agreements that threaten to come back to you for payment if the Insurance Company doesn’t pay.
Make sure the contractor explains his project supervision and quality control procedures; especially in light of any issues an unsatisfied customer brought to light. Again, people make mistakes, and you want to know how they handle them and what procedures are in place to prevent them. Ask to meet the project supervisor that will be on your job, and how the communication chain will go regarding the project and any issues you may have. You have a right to know the man in charge on your job, so make sure you ask.
Up front, before you sign anything, ask for and carefully read, and make sure you understand any warranty offered; watch for provisions that would void the warranty. This goes for materials, labor and the overall finished project. For example, if you get a new roof, ask for the contractor’s labor warranty as well as the shingle warranty from the manufacturer. There will be one, and you will want it. Also, ask for extra material to make repairs later. A handful of shingles, or a few small siding pieces, or an extra few tiles, etc. will do the trick.
Remember, price is only one criteria for selecting a contractor. Professionalism and quality workmanship also should weigh heavily on your decision.
As Always, you can contact us at the Colucci Law Group, and we will guide you the entire way. In addition, ask about our list of approved contractors. We have taken much of your guesswork away. We are here to fight for you, so do not hesitate to contact us at 850-391-7244.