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Tips for Hiring Contractors
Posted on Tuesday, November 01, 2005 @ 13:44:35 CST by kguske
Common Areas, Landscaping

Hurricane Wilma Advisory # 50

Broward County Hurricane Hot Line: 954-831-4000

Homeowners searching for contractors to make repairs to their property from damage caused by Hurricane Wilma should take precautions to hire licensed and insured contractors.

Following a disaster, the demand for qualified contractors usually exceeds the supply, opening the door for unlicensed contractors or rip-off artists, who may overcharge, perform shoddy work or skip town without finishing the job. Because many legitimate, licensed home repair companies are booked for months, anxious homeowners who are eager to repair their property often neglect to take the usual precautions when hiring contractors.

As a result, some homeowners fall victim to part-time contractors, who may not get the job done in a reasonable time; contractors from surrounding areas, who may be difficult to track down for follow-up; inexperienced contractors, who may not do the job well; and all too often, just plain crooks, who are seizing the opportunity to make a fast buck.

To avoid unnecessary hassle and extra expenses and to ensure that home repairs are done correctly and to code, follow these tips:

  • Deal only with licensed and insured contractors.
  • Verify the track record of any roofer, builder or contractor. Ask for a list of recent customers and call them.
  • Get recommendations from friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, insurance agents or claim adjusters.
  • Check with the local consumer protection agency, building officials, and the better business bureau to see if complaints have been lodged against any contractor youíre considering.
  • Donít rush into a contract. Get a written estimate that includes any oral promises the contractor made. But remember to ask if thereís a change for an estimate before allowing anyone into your home.
  • Ask for explanations for price variations, and donít automatically choose the lowest bidder.
  • Get a copy of the final, signed contract before the job begins.
  • Resist dealing with any contractors who ask you to pay for the entire job up-front. A deposit of one-third of the total price is standard procedure.
  • Donít pay cash. Pay only by check or credit card Ė and pay the final amount only after the work is completed to your satisfaction.
  • Be skeptical of contractors who encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs. Make sure thereís enough money for permanent repairs.
  • Ask a knowledgeable friend, relative or attorney to review a home repair contract before you sign.
  • If you get a loan to pay for the work, be cautious about using your home as security. If you donít repay the loan as agreed, you could lose your home. Consider asking an attorney to review the loan documents, as well.
  • If you suspect a repair rip-off, call the Broward County Consumer Affairs Division at 954-357-5350.


For more information contact the Pembroke Pines Crime Watch Office at


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