The Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin is advising both renters and homeowners to use caution when dealing with water damage or flooding problems.
If your home is damaged by water, the BBB recommends three things to successfully hire a contractor to fix this damage:
• Request bids from two or three different companies.
• Don’t automatically pick the lowest bid.
Check each company out, first.
• Base all bids on the same criteria.
“Shop around and get estimates from different companies,” said Ran Hoth, CEO/president of the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.
“It is important to trust the company and make sure that they are ethical, established, and have good reviews from past customers.”
Typically, a down payment of one-third the total contract price is made with additional payments due after completion of each phase of work.
Final payment should not be made until the job is completed and you have inspected the work. Do not pay with cash, instead, pay by check or credit card.
Before signing a home improvement contract, consider the following tips from the BBB:
• Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements.
• Research details and free information on contractors you can trust at bbb.org and consider using the BBB’s free online search of accredited businesses.
• Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim to have leftover materials from a job “down the street” or who do not have a permanent place of business. If sales people go door-to-door, check to see if your community requires them to have solicitation permits
• Get all estimates in writing.
• Never sign a contract with blank spaces or one that you do not fully understand. Be sure the company’s full name, address and phone number are on the contract.
• Homeowners should check with local and county units of government to determine if permits or inspections are required.
• Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance.
• Check building and contractor qualifications with the Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services, Industry Services division.
For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.