Choosing a Contractor After a Natural Disaster
Are you in the process of building or repairing your vacation rental property on the Alabama Gulf Coast? One of the most critical steps in home construction is choosing the right contractor for you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and arm yourself with the necessary information to select the best contractor for your project. If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to choosing a contractor, we’re here to help.
Once your property is restored and you’re ready to rent it out, let Harris Vacation Rentals assist you with property management.
What to Ask for From a Potential Contractor
Do you know how to decide if a contractor is legitimate and will provide you with the best service possible? Here’s how to start. Ask for:
- The builder’s name, address, and phone number (office and cell). Contact the numbers provided to verify that this information belongs to a legitimate business.
- A copy of their Business License issued in the city/town they’ll be performing the work.
- Documentation showing that they are licensed, bonded, and insured.
- Reliable references. Be sure to contact them!
Tips for Choosing the Best Contractor
As you go through the process of selecting your contractor, remember to keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Get quotes from multiple contractors. (This can be difficult following a natural disaster, so try your best to find one that you feel comfortable with and move on.)
- Once you’re ready to move forward, be sure the contract you sign contains the contractor’s license number. Do not sign until you understand the terms of the contract. If you do not understand the contract, do not hesitate to ask a reliable source for assistance. It is better to take more time upfront than to quickly sign a contract you do not fully understand.
- Ask the contractor to provide a detailed schedule for how the builder will complete the work. It should include a staffing plan and a contingency plan in case subcontractors fall through.
- Be aware that an ethical contractor will be patient in answering your questions and have reasonable payment terms. (“I need to get paid today” is a major red flag.)
- Working with a contractor that has been serving the local community for years will reduce the risk that you will connect with someone that’s only here to make a quick buck. These contractors have “been in the phone book” locally for several years and have a community presence. This is known as “The Phone Book Test.”
- Most professionals do not solicit business door-to-door and do not require a large payment upfront.
- If you’re not local, it’s crucial to have a trusted Property Manager that can work with your contractor and send progress updates.
What to Look Out for When Selecting a Contractor
Now you know what to request during the contractor selection process and what makes for a superior contractor. However, it’s still important to know the warning signs of a wrong or unreliable contractor.
- Out-of-town businesses.
- “Too good to be true” offers and “never-to-be-repeated” deals.
- Requests for “Assignment of Benefits” (AoB’s)
- This is when a contractor or other third-party requests full access to your insurance benefits and decision-making authority. DO NOT agree to this.
- Glossy materials that over-sell their abilities.
- The contractor is saying, “I need to speak to …”
- Out-of-town contractors will search the county property records to get a name to drop. This actually happened to Harris Vacation Rentals at our main office. We contacted the police, and they located this person and gave him a verbal warning to cease and desist.
Need Extra Assistance?
Are you still feeling overwhelmed? We understand! Here at Harris Vacation Rentals, we’ve been serving property owners like you for over 30 years. Our property management services are here to help reduce your stress and make the most out of your vacation rental property.
Contact us for more information regarding property management and post-natural disaster assistance.