Water Water Everywhere? Know Who You Are Calling Before Calling

Sub zero temperatures caused quite a shock to the tri state on several levels since the last couple of winters have been somewhat mild. Now, many homeowners and businesses are finding themselves under water – literally – because of split pipes, leaking sprinkler systems and other aquatic maladies. But before reaching for the smartphone to Google who to call, be wary of who might be calling you to repair the mess and check the insurance policy on what might be covered.

This is one situation where many people are caught off guard and need to find a plumber that will minimize the damage as much as possible. However, once the water stops flowing, there are other factors to consider, such as the wet ceiling, drywall, sub flooring and electrical that might have been affected by the burst. Remember, soon after the water stops, mold will grow. So who you call must be someone you can trust to get everything back into place or at least as close to normal as possible.

The first place to start is with your homeowners insurance policy to review what’s covered. Renters should contact the building owner to see what is covered. Next, when looking for a plumbing contractor or a restoration company to make repairs, follow these recommendations:

  • Ask for Recommendations: Ask family and friends for recommendations. Continue your research with BBB to assess accreditation, ratings, reviews, and complaints.

  • Look at Credentials: A contractor hired to do any type of work or repair should be licensed and insured. Depending on the type of repair and location will determine the type of licensing required. Check with BBB for more information.

  • Get Three Estimates: When a larger job needs to be completed, get at least three different estimates. Compare the prices carefully; the lowest estimate may not be the best bargain. Make sure you understand how the contractor plans to charge for the job being done. It may be a flat rate for all work or they may charge an hourly labor fee.

  • Look into References: Ask for a list of references where they have previously completed work. Contact them if the final cost was as estimated, if the job was done on schedule, and if the quality of the job has held up since the work was done. Try to contact one of the references that had a similar job done as the one being requested.

  • Get a Written Agreement: A contract should provide specific details of the job and should include: description of the job, materials needed, cost of the materials and labor, completion date, and any type of permits or inspections that are needed.

This is also a time when scammers will try and take advantage of the situation with door to door sales, phone calls, texts or email solicitations.  Never ever give out personal information with request you are unfamiliar with or have not initiated contact with.

Start with someone you Trust. Visit www.bbb.org for more information, a full Accredited Business Directory, list of reviews and additional tips.

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About Sandra Guile

Sandra is the PR Specialist for BBB Cincinnati, promoting BBB's message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, blogging, media relations, press releases, web content and other written materials. Her goal is to connect with consumers and business owners in a trustworthy environment and encouraging best practices.