Spring cleanups are well underway for most of us. Some homeowners contract with a lawn care or landscaping company to assist in the heavy lifting that comes from a long and windy winter season, but many attempt the task alone. If you are like many New Englanders, there is much to be done. Perhaps you are even considering some touchups to the house, or a small remodeling project too. If so, beware of fraudulent “contractors.” According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) there are many home repair scams out there, and recent severe weather has allowed thieves to take advantage of those in most need. Here are some tips from the BBB to help avoid this type of con.
- Be wary of door-to-door workers who show up unsolicited offering to make repairs. This includes companies offering to remove fallen trees and branches.
- Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements and keep copies of receipts for emergency repairs for reimbursement later.
- Take time to shop around for contractors and check to make sure any contractors you are considering hiring are properly licensed and have up-to-date workers compensation and liability insurance. Also, make sure they are approved by your insurance company.
- Get everything in writing. Require a written agreement from anyone you hire that outlines the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Review it carefully before signing.
- Never pay the full amount for repairs in advance. Follow the rule of thirds. Pay one third up front, one third at the halfway mark and the final third at the completion of the project. Pay with a credit card if possible.
- Check licensing. While licensing requirements may vary by state, most reputable companies will be licensed and ensured. It is your right to ask for proof. Licensed contractors are subject to laws designed to protect the consumer.
- Some tree maintenance may not require a license. Some states do not regulate minor tree services such as stump grinding and branch trimming. A license is required if the tree is being excavated from the property.
- Start with trust. Go to www.bbb.org to check the company’s BBB Business Review before doing business and find a BBB accredited business.
For policy information please call any one of our agents at Brownell Insurance. We are here to assist. 603-437-1992.