Fort Wayne, Ind. (PRWEB) July 11, 2012
The Homeowner’s Helper advises Allen County homeowners to select contractors carefully when seeking storm repair work such as roofing and siding.
The Better Business Bureau of Northeast Indiana said that unethical contractors—called “storm chasers”—come out in full force after such devastation, taking advantage of trusting homeowners who are in a bind with severely damaged homes.
Tony Messuri, president and owner of northeast Indiana’s premier home improvement referral service, The Homeowner’s Helper, offers tips that can help keep homeowners from making costly mistakes.
Messuri offers the following advice:
•Check with people you trust for recommendations of contractors who have done work for them, however do not solely base your decision on these recommendations. Work with local contractors when at all possible, and avoid door-to-door solicitors.
•Don’t hire the first contractor to approach you. Get at least two written bids – more for larger projects – and make sure they are based on the same specifications and warranty.
•Ask for references and check them out before signing a contract. Many contractors go door to door, often claiming to be doing work for neighbors. Don’t take their word for it.
•Check the company’s business record with consumer service agencies such as the Northeast Indiana Better Business Bureau: (260) 423-4433 or (800) 552-4631.
•Ask the contractor for proof of liability insurance, and make sure the contractor is properly licensed to work in your community, if required.
•Insist on a signed, written contract before work begins. It should include exact costs, start and completion dates, a clear explanation of the work to be done and warranty information. Read it carefully before signing.
•Include a payment schedule in the contract based on work stages – with a final payment due upon the project’s completion. Don’t make a large payment up front. Don’t pay in cash, but rather by credit card or check.
“Another way to prevent problems with contractors is by working through a home improvement referral service like The Homeowner’s Helper,” Messuri said. “Services like ours work with contractors that we have prescreened and determined to have a proven record of quality work that they stand behind.”
However, he adds, not all referral services are alike, so homeowners should check their reputation with consumer agencies, such as the BBB, as they would an individual contractor. They should also look into the evaluation criteria a referral service uses in choosing recommended contractors.
“In addition, keep in mind that locally owned and operated referral services tend to be more in touch with monitoring the performance of the contractors in their network and offer more personalized service to consumers,” Messuri said.
For more information, visit http://www.thehomeownershelper.com.
About The Homeowner’s Helper
The Homeowner’s Helper is a free referral service to assist homeowners in finding credible and competent contractors to complete various home improvement and maintenance projects in Allen County and surrounding counties. It is a member of the Northeast Indiana Better Business Bureau. For more information, visit http://www.thehomeownershelper.com or call (260) 676-2032.