Need Help with Storm Clean-up? Tips from your BBB to Receive the Services You Need

March 14, 2011

The recent tri-state storms have sent many homeowners in our area into “clean-up” mode, assessing roof damages, trees down and general home repairs required from the storm.  Your BBB often receives lots of calls during this time, due to urgency of this need and the readily offered services presented by storm chasers, contractors, and door-to-door salesmen.

We understand that home repairs can’t always wait…..and although there are many businesses out there providing quality services, your BBB still advices caution, research, and patience to insure who you hire delivers to your needs.  A few tips below might help with search:

1)      Start with your Insurance Company -Take photos of the property and the damage and check with your insurance agent on policy coverage and specific filing requirements.  Consumers should know many business’s contracts state if insurance won’t cover the cost, the consumer is still liable.

2)      Beware of Storm Chasers- Your BBB has heard of many fly-by-night operations entering areas recently hit by natural disasters.  Beware of anyone who uses high pressure sales tactics, ask for full payment up front or cannot provide proper business paperwork for review. These operations may not have proper licensure for your area and may offer quick fixes or make big promises to which they won’t deliver. Further, the company may be hard to contact with any problems, once they have left the area.

3)      Search with your BBB. Your BBB offers Reliability Reports on more than four million local and national businesses and charities across the U.S. and Canada. Our reports provide known contact information, complaint statistics and other details to help you make an educated decision for your circumstance.  Check our website at for more information.

4)      Vet your Contractor – different areas have different requirements on licensure, insurance and bonding. Verify all state and local requirements are being met for the business you consider and insure those doing the work, are actually from the business and not subcontracted.

5)      Confirm Quality and Price – Ask for references from recent jobs and consider driving by to see the work. Also ask for contracts up front (including any warranties for review) and get multiple quotes for comparison. Your BBB recommends that all contracts (including any promises from the contractor and completion dates) be in writing.  Remember, with natural disasters, details such as cleanup and disposal of waste may be especially important.