To help consumers select storm clean up and repair services, your BBB offers these tips
- Make any temporary repairs that are needed and save receipts. Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and how to file a claim.
- Don't be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact. Be pro-active in selecting a business and not re-active to sales solicitations.
- 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 is a contractor is registered.
- For major repairs, take time to shop around and get 3-4 estimates based on the same specifications and materials.
- Check out businesses with BBB at www.bbb.org/iowa. BBB Business Reviews show contact information, complaint details (if any) and the BBB Rating. For lists of BBB Accredited Business by type of business such as roofing contractors, windshield repair or tree services, see the BBB Accredited Business Directory.
- Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim to have left-over materials from a job “down the street” or who do not have a permanent place of business. If sales people go door-to-door, check to see if your community requires them to have solicitation permits.
- Be leery if a worker shows up on your doorstep to announce that your home is unsafe. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, have an engineer, architect or building official inspect it.
- Be careful allowing someone you do not know inspect your roof. While most roofing contractors abide by the law, 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.
- Never pay in full for all repairs in advance, and do not pay cash! While many businesses may ask for a deposit, BBB suggests that no more than one-third of the job be paid up front.
- If one estimate seems much lower than the others and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Fly-by-night contractors may give below-cost bids but often are uninsured, do shoddy work or use substandard materials, and may not even finish the job or be around later to honor guarantees.
- Ask for local references and don’t be shy to check them out.
For tips and alerts, for BBB Business Reviews, or for lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by city, visit http://www.bbb.org or call BBB Serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities & Siouxland Region at 800-222-1600.