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Know the red flags when choosing a contractor for tornado cleanup

08/26/2016

In an all too familiar scene, Kokomo was again struck by tornadoes on the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 24.

Several homes and businesses were destroyed, and even more were severely damaged by the storm. And while fortunately there were no major injuries or fatalities, the recovery will be long and grueling.

Unfortunately however, such environments are breeding grounds for contractors who are less than reputable. It’s not uncommon to see victims lose significant amounts of money to scam artists in the aftermath of a tragedy.

The Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce wants to make sure that doesn’t happen here as Kokomo again rebuilds after the storm. When it comes to choosing a contractor, there are some easy steps to take to ensure you’re dealing with a company or individual in good business standing.

The Better Business Bureau warns of some red flags to watch out for when choosing a contractor:

Is the contractor certified and insured? It’s the homeowner’s job to ask whether the company is insured against claims covering workers’ compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. And don’t just take their word for it: Get the name of the insurance carrier and call to verify coverage.

Do you have everything in writing? Get all verbal promises in writing, including start and completion dates in the contract. Get in writing that the contractor will provide a lien waiver upon completion of the job. A lien waiver is a statement by the contractor that all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work.

Are you paying for everything up front? Don’t. Pay one third at the start of the project, one third when work is 50 percent completed and one third after completion.

While there are some bad apples, there are many trustworthy and reliable contractors out there to help you rebuild. The Chamber of Commerce encourages businesses and homeowners to be smart about the choices they make in the aftermath of this storm.

If you do find yourself on the receiving end of a bad contractor in the coming weeks, we encourage you to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. You may do so by visiting Better Business Bureau-Indiana online at www.bbb.org/indy or calling its offices at 1-866-463-9222.

In an effort to support the community during this time of need, the Chamber of Commerce will also help serve as a watchful eye. It will compile a list of reported concerns to help ensure others aren’t taken in as well. You may call the Chamber at 765-457-5301.