Contractors or Cons?
Your home may be destroyed by a fire, flood, storm or other catastrophe. You're scrambling around to get your life back in order and you may think that things couldn't get worse. Well, they can and often do because of people who can't spell contractor without c-o-n.
The period after a serious loss is hectic, emotional and disorienting. Your major concern is to get your home repaired or rebuilt. These elements make you very vulnerable to "CONtractors" - people who specialize in victimization instead of construction and in rip-offs rather than repairs.
Slow Down And Make Good Decisions
While you may be in a hurry to restore your loss, it is critically important to avoid persons who appear on your damaged doorstep offering to start construction. While handling a serious loss, think of taking precautions such as the following in order to avoid compounding your problems:
Pay attention to any "feelings" you get about any contractor, particularly when they initiate contact
Refuse to pay any money "up front"; a reputable contractor always works according to a written agreement, spelling out cost of materials, labor and other important work details
Contact more than one contractor to get competitive estimates
Make sure that any contractor you talk to provides references and proof that they are insured
Check references and ask for evidence of how long the contractor has been in business
If a local chapter is available, call the Better Business Bureau and check for complaints
Ignore any tactics intended to pressure you into making an immediate financial commitment.
Keep in touch with an insurance professional during such trying times. They're already committed to providing genuine help.
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