A new report shows that one in ten US homes suffered damage from natural disasters during 2021, thanks to climate change. Yet, severe weather isn’t the only culprit¬†regarding home damage.

If you manage to escape the ravages of these weather events, there are still a host of catastrophes that can impact your home.

Accidental fires, termite infestations, and even letting the bathtub run over one too many times can cause lasting problems that impact the comfort and value of your home.

Here’s how to choose a restoration company to help you get your house in order after disaster strikes.

Research Local Contractors

Fire Damage Restoration Company

It’s always best to work with a local contractor when considering your options for restoration services. These experts know the intricacies of living in your environment, and can best predict weather conditions to avoid disruptions in their workflow.

They often have established relationships with local suppliers of necessary materials to ensure you get the best prices in town on these essentials.

If something goes wrong once they’ve completed the job, you know where to contact them for assistance. They can arrive¬†at the site quickly to address any problems. If you’re struggling to get hold of them you can pitch up on their doorstep.

This leads to greater accountability on their part. They also have a reputation to uphold in your community.

Local contractors are familiar with bylaws and regulations in your community, so you won’t experience delays while they navigate the paperwork.

Finally, when you hire local contractors, you know your money’s going toward growing your community.

Ask for Recommendations

Has someone you know had restoration work done on their home recently? If you’re impressed with the results, ask them to give you the contractor’s name.

You’ll enjoy much better peace of mind knowing they can do a great job. You can also get first-hand information on their service levels, prices, and work ethic this way.

Read Reviews and Look at Ratings

Reading online reviews is the next best thing to getting a direct recommendation from a previous customer. A quick online search for restoration companies in your area will provide names to get your research started.

You can look up these companies on the Better Business Bureau, Angi, and HomeAdvisor all have review sections you can read. Pay attention to common themes in these write-ups, both good and bad.

If a contractor has many complaints about service or incomplete work, you should take this as a red flag. Otherwise, complaints aren’t always a bad thing, as long as the contractor takes steps to acknowledge the problem and resolve it quickly.

Too many glowing reviews that seem remarkably similar are a sign that someone’s¬†got paid to place them online. Many of these reviews have user-generated star ratings for each contractor, too.

Investigate the Services Offered

Head over to the restoration company’s website and browse through the services offered.

Some companies only handle one type of project, like fire or water damage restoration. Others offer a more comprehensive range of services.

Some contractors, like Belfor, FastPro Restoration, and Service Master Restore, provide a detailed list of all their services, so you know what they can do before you hire them.

While you’re browsing their website, you can often view a gallery of past projects, read more reviews, and check up on some other information, too.

Be sure to verify any information regarding their licenses and qualifications, sometimes contractors don’t update their websites as often as they should.

The above steps will help you identify a shortlist of reputable contractors who can do the work you need. Call them or arrange an interview to discuss their offering in more detail.

Consider Contractor Credentials

You must only work with contractors who fulfill the requirements outlined by state laws in your area. Restoration work involves several trades like plumbing, dry walling, water mitigation, and more.

That means a restoration company is likely to need a general contractor’s license to offer services in your state. Bear in mind that some states only require a license for jobs that exceed a value of $1,000.

In most cases, licensing criteria include passing any necessary examinations, taking out required insurance, and registering their business.

A licensed company must comply with regulations and rules set for restoration work. When they do this, they prevent you from unwittingly getting involved in legal disputes.

Try to work with a company that meets and exceeds the licensing criteria. Some sources for restoration industry certifications include:

  • Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)
  • Restoration Industry Association (RIA)

These institutions provide a wide scope of high-quality training, and contractors must maintain certain criteria to retain their certification. These include:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Ongoing education and training
  • A written customer complaint policy
  • Complaint follow-up procedures

Some states also require that contractors have relevant environmental certifications.

You may find some of this information on the company’s website, but you should double-check these claims with the relevant certifying or licensing body. The same applies to insurance.

Ask About Insurance

Every contractor and subcontractor should have property and liability insurance. This covers you in the event of unfortunate incidents on your property.

All US companies must carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance to assist their workers if they’re injured on duty. Subcontractors must also comply with this law.

It’s best to work with a bonded business, as this covers you if they don’t finish the work as promised. Insurers won’t cover companies unless they have a reputation for reliability.

Choose a Restoration Company With Experience

Abundant home restoration experience is almost as important as credentials and qualifications. Hiring an experienced home restorer offers several benefits as follows:

Sufficient Capital

Well-established contractors have the funds to complete your job no matter what. This ensures they can complete the work on time and within your budget.

Time Savings

Protect Your Home From Flood Damage

Experienced contractors know how to manage and schedule your project to ensure it runs like clockwork. They can help prevent costly downtime and resolve any unforeseen problems quickly.

Cost Savings

An experienced contractor never has to spend money correcting things that went wrong. They can anticipate problems before they occur and take steps to prevent them.

In most cases, subcontractors offer preferential rates to established contractors to ensure they get ongoing work. This means you’ll¬†enjoy a better price, too.

Established Relationships

Experienced general contractors know which subcontractors and suppliers offer the best service. They’ve worked with many of these local companies before, so they can easily select the ones best for your job.

The best subcontractors give preference to the restoration companies they’ve worked with before.

Avoid Costly Re-Inspection

Unless you have abundant building experience, there’s no way you can tell if the work performed on your home is up to code. An experienced contractor can tell at a glance whether your home will pass a home inspection.

They’ll ensure your home passes the building inspection the first time, saving you time, money, and stress.

Ask For References

Despite your online research, it’s always a good idea to talk to some of the contractors’ previous clients. Satisfied customers rarely post reviews, and some companies pay reviewers to sing their praises.

You need first-hand information before you make your decision. The best contractors will happily provide you with a list of people you can call to discuss their services.

Try to chat with at least three of these previous customers, and ask them about the following:

The Nature of the Work Done

The first thing you should do when talking to a reference is to establish validity. It’s no use talking to a commercial client if you need a residential job done.

Each project involves different prices, paperwork, and timelines.

Time Management

Time delays are common with construction projects. Small delays aren’t a cause for concern, but it’s good to find out what caused any hold-ups, and how the contractor resolved these issues.

You need to know how time delays affected the project and whether they resulted in extra costs. 

Budget Considerations

Water damage affects

Ask if their project stayed on budget. If it came in under budget, find out how.

Did the contractor take shortcuts or ask the client to give up some of the agreed improvements to stay within the budget?

Workmanship

Was the customer satisfied with the outcome of their project overall? Did the contractor comply with safety standards and produce work that’s up to code?

Did they arrive on time every day and clean up afterward?

Post-Project Problems

Issues sometimes crop up after the completion of a construction project. Ask if the reference experienced any problems and if the contractor resolved them satisfactorily.

Unexpected Occurrences

The best contractors take surprises in their stride. Ask the reference how their contractor and subcontractors coped with any mishaps and whether they were happy with the outcome.

Customer Communication

Ask whether the contractor completed the necessary paperwork on time and correctly. Permitting issues can cause an inspector to order that you demolish all your expensive repairs if they aren’t legal.

Overall Satisfaction

The most important question to ask a reference is if they would hire the contractor again. If not, find out why.

Find Out if They Handle Insurance Claims

Certified restoration companies will have the necessary experience and knowledge to help you streamline insurance claims. They should assist you with the required paperwork and provide all the details required by your insurer.

They’ll need to detail the extent of damages and justify the work required according to the specifications of your insurance policy.

Even if you don’t anticipate any problems with your claim, it’s always best to have an expert on your side during interactions with your insurer. It’s the best way to ensure you cover every instance and¬†avoid unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses.

Ask How They Work

It’s important to find out the finer details about your restoration project. Some things to discuss include:

  • Daily arrival times
  • Who will supervise the job?
  • Clean up procedures

One final area to investigate is whether the general contractor vets all their employees and subcontractors thoroughly. After all, there’s a good chance they’ll have free access to your home for days on end.

Get at Least Three Estimates

When you’ve gone through all the above steps to narrow down our options for a restoration company, ask your top three contenders to provide you with estimates for the work.

Comparing restoration costs is the only way to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. Besides, your insurance¬†provider will require three quotations when processing your claim.

While comparing these prices, be sure to consider all the details. A more expensive estimate might include better-quality materials, longer warranties, or extra services.

Find Out Their Availability

When you’ve identified the best contractors in town, ask when they can complete the work. The most experienced and reliable home restoration companies are bound to have a full schedule.

Causes of Roof Damage

In many cases, home restoration work is an urgent situation, so this time frame has a major impact on your choice.

It’s a good idea to choose a contractor that offers around-the-clock emergency services to help you cope with the worst of the damage quickly.

Remember, in times of widespread natural disasters, restoration companies are in high demand. The sooner you reach out, the better.

Plan for the Worst

Now that you know how to choose a restoration company, you can set about getting your home back in shape as soon as possible.

If you don’t need any restoration work done right now, don’t wait until something goes wrong before you do some research.¬†Rather, take your time pinpointing a¬†team of experts in advance, so they’re¬†ready and able to help right away when needed.

That way if a major disaster does come around, you’ll be first in line at this busy time.

Would you like to find out more about the intricacies of modern living? Browse our blog for more advice about simplifying your life at home and work.

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