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Finding a Contractor after the Storm

Be prepared to forego multiple bids — or even pay to get a bid


The fact that a natural disaster affects a tremendous number of homes, it will be extremely difficult for home owners to find competent professional contractors to work on their homes.  Demand for contractors and remodelers in the hardest-hit areas will far outpace the supply. As a result, the traditional rules of thumb when it comes to hiring a contractor may not apply.  Consider hiring S.E.H. Consulting and Shuana D. Crowden to manage your renovation project.  Their professionalism will surprise you.


Contractors in these areas may not choose to submit bids to people who they know are shopping around.

Instead of soliciting multiple bids, which usually involves the contractor assessing the property in person, homeowners should find a trusted contractor and have them work up a rough estimate for the cost of the project over the phone. Then, compare bids from additional contractors, before ultimately having one inspect their home and write a more formal bid.


Homeowners who would feel more comfortable having a contractor visit their property still have options. Homeowners should offer to pay a nominal fee for the contractor’s time as compensation that could be refunded if they ultimately hired them.


Is the contractor fraudulent?


There are a tremendous amount of scandalous activity following a major natural disaster.  To find trustworthy contractors, check with state or local homebuilder’s associations, plus the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Additionally, consumers can check with local Better Business Bureaus or sites like Angie’s List to find company ratings.

Homeowners should also request to speak with previous customers or companies that use as references. If they choose not to provide references, then that’s a bad indicator. Homeowners should also ask about how much hurricane-repair experience contractors have. Homes that were flooded will need to be dried out with dehumidifiers and other equipment, but less experienced contractors might not know that.

Subsequently, consumers should check that a contractor has general liability insurance, which covers damage to the property that could occur during the job. A contractor should be willing to have their insurance company provide their certificate directly to a homeowner as proof.  Consider hiring S.E.H. Consulting and Shuana D. Crowden to manage your renovation project.

Try to choose a local contractor


The best route to take when selecting a professional is to go local whenever you can; this will protect you as much as possible form dishonest or unscrupulous characters that you cannot locate. Also, most local governments in regions affected by major storms require that contractors have a license on file to be able to get the permits for construction work needed.  A local address shows stability.

But there are other practical reasons to hire local in situations like these. Many out-of-state contractors will travel to disaster areas seeking work. While these businesses could be legitimate and licensed, they won’t have established relationships with subcontractors or lumberyards in the area, which could make jobs move slower or cost more. Even if a contractor is based on the other side of town, that could mean additional travel time between their office and a consumer’s property, which translates to less time actually doing work on the home.

DO NOT pay upfront for your renovation!


A common scam following major storms is contractors who travel door-to-door offering discounted work. Be very wary of anyone who says, ‘Pay now and you get a discount, Norman said. Many of these people will simply take a homeowner’s money and run.

Contractor work should be paid out over time as certain projects are completed, with contingencies built in to account for possible changes in the price of materials.  For example, the homeowner will pay 10% of the agreed-upon amount after the drywall has been installed.  Homeowners should reserve a final payment until last-minute work is completed.  S.E.H. Consulting will work with you to get your project completed.

Choose a Firm that has a clear and honest dialog


Given the amount of time these projects will take, it’s important to get a sense of how good a contractor is at communicating.  Work with a contractor who’s good at communicating the good news and the bad, no communication is the most destructive aspect of all.

Additionally, in many cases repairs will be akin to renovations. Consumers will need to make choices regarding paint color, tile, cabinetry, etc. And an honest contractor will help you make those decisions while keeping you within your budget.  Consider hiring S.E.H. Consulting and Shuana D. Crowden to manage your renovation project.