How to Choose the Right Restoration Contractor For The Job
Disaster can strike unexpectedly, and your home isn’t exempt from damage that such an event can bring. Whether your home is damaged by a sudden fire or flooded due to a burst pipe, your property will be in need of serious repair.
As a homeowner, you may be used to fixing minor issues and maintaining parts of your home. However, doing a restoration job by yourself may lead to accidents and injuries if you have no idea how it is properly done. More complex issues such as those caused by natural disasters and technical and structural problems should only be solved through the knowledge and expertise of a professional disaster restoration contractor.
That said, it is important to note that not all restoration contractors are equal. Just selecting the contractor you find on a random internet list is not a guarantee that your home will be restored to its former peak condition. Choosing the right restoration contractor for the job should not be a sudden decision based on availability and convenience. Rather, it should be a process that takes different factors into consideration. In addition, all homeowners will have second thoughts about letting a complete stranger into their homes and work on the property.
So, for your peace of mind and to ensure that you get the job done, here are some of the ways you can vet future restoration contractors.
1. Verify that the contractors’ licenses are valid
Licensing and permits are important in the construction and restoration industry. For home restoration jobs such as structural repairs and plumbing work, most states require that the job be done only by licensed contractors. While you can still choose to work with restoration contractors who do not have a license, there will be no guarantees that the work that they will provide will be top quality. In addition, hiring an unlicensed contractor will also make you the de facto general contractor of the project. This makes you responsible for defective work, property damage, and injuries that may happen while the restoration job is being done.
Save yourself from the potential headache and hassle of a botched restoration job by hiring only a licensed contractor. Having a license is a good indication that the restoration contractor you are hiring has the necessary knowledge and skills to do the job since they need to pass an examination mandated by the state before they can practice the profession. Most states have their own websites that you can use to verify if a license is valid and updated. Simply ask for the contractors’ license numbers and check them with the said website to ensure they are registered to work within the state.
2. Ask if the contractors are certified
Having a valid license is just one of the many factors that you need to consider when hiring a restoration contractor. Restoration contractors usually hold a general contractor’s license because there is no specific license for them. A lot of what restoration contractors do is specialized, such as damage assessment and reconstruction, compared to a general contractor, who usually focuses on new construction and remodeling.
So aside from licenses, you should also look into the contractors’ certifications. Contractors who specialize in restoration are usually certified by the Inspection Institute of Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). The IICRC is an educational program that provides contractors with the proper techniques for cleaning, removal, and restoration of damaged building materials.
3. Ask if their businesses are properly insured
Restoration contractors often work as a part of the insurance process. As such, they should know about the ins and outs of insurance claims and they themselves should be protected. Accidents can happen in any construction project such as a restoration job. After all, damage from fire, flooding, and other disasters can severely weaken the structural integrity of your home. To protect yourself from any potential liability, ask potential restoration contractors if they have proof of insurance.
There are usually two types of insurance that restoration contractors need to have—general liability insurance and workers’ compensation. General liability insurance provides legal and financial protection in instances where someone is hurt, or something is damaged during the restoration work. Workers’ compensation provides medical assistance and wage replacement for workers who are injured during the job.
4. Look at the contractors’ past work
One of the best proofs of a restoration contractor’s professional capability is their work history with previous clients. Any restoration contractor worth their salt will give you a list of previous clients when you request them. While this may be a handpicked list of some of the best work they did, you can check some of the more recent ones and judge for yourself. If you can have their contact details, talk to these customers and inquire about their experience working with the restoration contractor. Here are some of the questions that you should ask:
- Did the restoration contractor provide an accurate estimate?
- Were you satisfied with the restoration work?
- Was the restoration project finished on time and within budget?
- Were there any mistakes? How did the contractor handle them?
- Do you recommend the contractor?
5. Inquire if part of the work will be done by a subcontractor
When getting any construction work job done, many homeowners just leave the job to the contractor without asking any questions. This should not be the case. Do not hesitate to ask questions about the project itself, especially about the people who will work on your home.
There are cases where a restoration contractor will hire a subcontractor to do part of the job. Knowing this information is important, especially if you will be affected should there be a payment dispute between the restoration contractor and the hired subcontractor. If the restoration contractor is unable to pay the subcontractor, the latter may file a mechanics lien to recover payment.
Looking for a restoration contractor can be a challenging task, especially when currently facing a damaged and unlivable home. Hopefully, the steps we outlined above can help you choose the right disaster restoration contractor that can guide you through the process. Good luck!