As tornados, hail, heavy rain and high winds swept across the state, many home and business owners have seen a wide array of damage to their homes and other property. Often times, out-of-town contractors will emerge after a storm subsides, soliciting for business from those in immediate need. While there are many reputable contractors to choose from, the Better Business Bureau wants to remind local residents affected by the storms to be cautious unscrupulous contractors looking for a quick buck.
“Storm chasers can consist of both good and bad companies and part of the BBB’s goal is to help you decipher between the two,” said Chris Coleman, President of the Better Business Bureau serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region.
The BBB offers the following tips for storm victims:
- Contractors must be registered with the State of Iowa. Call 515-281-5387 or check online at http://www2.iwd.state.ia.us/contractor.nsf to determine if a contractor is registered.
- Get several quotes from contractors, and insist that payment be made to the company, not an individual.
- Do not pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront.
- Resist high-pressure sales tactics such as the "good deal" you'll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.
- Pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there's a problem.
- Check that the contractor's vehicle has signs or markings on it with the business name, phone number and license plates for your state.
- Be careful when allowing someone you do not know to inspect your roof or basement. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work.
- Get a written contract that specifies the price, the work to be done, the amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor, and a time frame. Require a copy of their current certificate of insurance.
- Ask for local references and don’t be shy to check them.
Lastly, Start With Trust. You should never feel forced to make a hasty or uninformed decision. Your BBB can provide a list of highly rated BBB Accredited Businesses free of charge. BBB Accredited Businesses have a proven track record and have made a commitment to work with the BBB to resolve disputes. For reliable information and Business Reviews you can trust, visit www.iowa.bbb.org or call 1-800-222-1600.