Home Repair after a Hurricane: How to Choose the Right Building Contractor

Anyone who’s lived through a hurricane knows that even when the storm is over, it isn’t really over. Cleanup and repair are often more involved than the preparation and storm itself combined. If you find yourself in a situation where your home needs repairs from storm damage, you may be at a loss of what to do. Most homeowners will quickly discover that finding a home repair service isn’t difficult—there are plenty. But how do you know that a particular contractor will do a job well done?

Shop Around

As with any home service, you’ll want to do your research. Don’t just go with the first contractor you find. Ask around at home improvement stores, such as Home Depot or Lowes, for names of reputable contractors. Since contractors often regularly do business with these stores when buying materials, they will have built a reputation among the store’s employees. Get contact info for at least two or three, but keep in mind it’s very unlikely that a good contractor will be able to give you an estimate over the phone. Beware of any who say that they can. As with most goods and services, you get what you pay for. If a contractor claims immediately that they are the cheapest, more than likely their work will reflect that.

 

Check Reviews—and Ask Around

Some home repair businesses may be well-advertised and have a strong online presence, others may not. This doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality that you can expect from a contractor. Though you may be able to find online reviews for some building contractors, others, perhaps smaller businesses with less online presence, may be just as good, if not better. When your home’s safety is in question, depending on word-of-mouth is often more reliable than online reviews. Do your research online, but ask around among trusted friends, neighbors, and co-workers too.

 

Get it on Paper

A good building contractor leaves a paper trail. All pricing should be clearly explained and in writing before work has begun to avoid confusion. In addition, a good contractor will often need plans and drawings of work to be done. They may require you to provide this beforehand, created by an architect, engineer, or designer, depending on the severity of the damage and work to be done on your house. If your chosen contractor asks for such plans, take it as a sign that they are doing a thorough job.

A Good Contractor is a Busy One

Keep in mind that the best contractors will most likely be booked for a while. Though this is a good indicator that you’ll be getting quality work on your home, it does mean that you may not have it completed as soon as you may like. In addition to having a fair amount of business, a good contractor will also not be in a rush. Paying attention to safety, building codes, and details means your repairs will probably take longer than you may expect, and may cost a little more, but in the long run, it will be time and money well spent.