More than four months after four hurricanes ravaged Florida in 2004 many Florida residents are still reportedly waiting to get their damaged roofs repaired.
The Disaster Contractors Network (DCN), a group of experienced professional contractors, many of whom have been specifically trained to deal with post-disaster recovery, offers the following advice to assist those still needing roof repairs:
* Get estimates from at least three licensed, insured contractors.
* Beware, particularly, of contractors soliciting work door-to-door.
* Ask for and check references of other work the contractor has done.
* Ask for proof of license and insurance. Besides being licensed the contractor must be registered for the area where the work will be done. Even those who are from out-of-state will have the location (city or county) and an expiration date on their license. They must also have workers’ compensation and disability insurance. If not, the homeowner could be liable for accidents on the property.
* Ask for a written estimate. Read the fine print. Make sure it includes everything you expect the contractor to do.
* Get the contract in writing. It should cover what is to be done, when work will start, cost and payment schedules, and the quality of materials to be used. Once signed the contract is legally binding on both the homeowner and the contractor.
* Never make full payment up front. Don’t sign over an insurance settlement check to the contractor. Most reputable contractors accept payment based on the percentage of work completed. To report complaints, call 1-(850) 488-6603.
* Don’t make final payment until the job is finished. Obtain lien waivers to ensure that no one who supplied materials can put a lien on the home because the contractor did not pay them.
* Make sure all work that requires city or county inspection is officially approved in writing before final payment is made.
If there are more questions on contractor licensing check the homeowner information section of the DCN Web site at www.dcnonline.org or call 1-(850) 487-1395.
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