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10 Questions to Ask Before a Project

It’s happened to just about everyone who has undergone a project to their house or business. You’ve put a plan together, made a decision, and then lived to regret it. About halfway through, you start wondering where the guy you thought you were hiring went to? Or I thought we agreed on this, but in reality, you are getting that.

We have put together a list of questions to ask your restoration contractor before you hire them. Let’s face it, no one wants to need a restoration contractor, but certainly, no one wants to hire another to fix the first one’s mistake. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure you make the right decision the first time.

Here we go.

IS THE COMPANY AND MORE SPECIFICALLY THE WORKERS OR SUPERVISOR ON YOUR PROJECT CERTIFIED TO BE THERE?

This is the biggest one in our books. The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” may work for some things around your house, but unfortunately, it doesn’t cut it when it comes to restoration. Let’s discuss this briefly just to give you an idea. Your toilet overflows and leaves a puddle of water spreading from your bathroom into your hallway and living room. Bad day, right? So what do you do? Well you call a friend who knows a guy that can fix anything. He arrives with a shop-vac from Lowes and some fans like the ones that used to sit on your desk. Several hours later after dumping his 5-gallon vacuum what seemed like a hundred times, the floors appear to be dry and you think everything is fine. Now lets consider what really happened. The water that came out of that toilet bowl is not necessarily clean water. The potential for contaminants in that water has now potentially saturated your building materials everywhere that water migrated to. The vacuum he used removed the water on the surface but what about the soaked and potentially contaminated carpet pad? The water has moved behind the baseboard and has saturated the drywall and possibly insulation in the wall cavity. While air movement is necessary, nothing has been done to extract the moisture from the air or to pull it out of those wet building materials. Now three days later you have a musty smell and something is discolored above the baseboard. I’m sure it’s nothing, though. So your “jack of all trades” comes back over and sprays some bleach on it(we will discuss that later), all the while assuring you that everything will be just fine. Let me know if your story relates to this one and I’ll be over in a minute.

DOES YOUR STATE OR COUNTY REQUIRE LICENSURE FOR THE PARTICULAR PROFESSION YOU ARE IN NEED OF?

In the state of Florida you can go to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) website www.myfloridalicense.com and search for licensed professionals. If your contractor tells you that he is licensed, it’s never a bad idea to double check that his license is active and in good standing. Unfortunately, the DBPR does not give you contact information for these individuals. You can cross reference them with www.acac.org and www.iaqa.org to find their more detailed information.

DOES THE SCOPE OF WORK BEING PERFORMED CONFLICT WITH ITSELF?

Meaning, is the contractor performing multiple tasks that should be outsourced? For example, it is a conflict of interest for the contractor who is performing a mold remediation to also assess or sample the mold. It is possible to skew the results. Make sure that if a pre or post-remediation testing is being done, that it is performed by a third party. Of course, you want to make sure that this third party is also licensed and certified.

DOES THE SCOPE OF WORK SET TO BE PERFORMED MATCH INDUSTRY STANDARDS?

First of all, you should always get multiple bids, and that will help with this question on the list. Do the bids seem to be similar? Is one extremely extravagant, or hundreds of dollars when another is thousands of dollars? This doesn’t mean that every project is going to be thousands of dollars, but you get the idea. Take the time to do the research. A great starting place is our website. We have compiled pages of useful information regarding the process of remediation and what to expect.

HOW MUCH EMPHASIS IS PUT ON PROTECTING YOU AND YOUR HOME?

When it comes to restoration work, whether it’s a mold remediation, water extraction, or duct cleaning, often times you are dealing with at least the potential for contamination from a living organism, be it fungal or bacteria. Proper caution should be taken to protect you from harm. Again, this goes back to a scope of work based on industry standards, but are containments under negative pressure going to be erected, will steps be taken to isolate and prevent bacteria from contaminated water, etc?

HOW DO THEY ESTIMATE THE PROJECT?

This should be a big one for you. 80% of insurance companies strictly use a software called Xactimate for their estimates and reports. Only hire contractors that also use this software. Why does that matter you may ask? This software is updated monthly based on your region. It contains price lists which estimates are based on. If your contractor doesn’t use this, you could get caught signing a contract for a price much higher than what your insurance carrier approves.

HOW LONG WILL THE PROJECT TAKE?

Did you know that insurance companies have time limits on projects? These limits are based on industry standards. For example, during a water mitigation, you have three days tops (in some extraordinary cases 5 days) to dry out the structure. This includes equipment rentals. Therefore, the proper protocol must be in place to achieve these limits.

IS IT IN WRITING?

This is just good business sense. Get an itemized estimate, a detailed contract, and written work orders and addendum’s.

IS THERE A GUARANTEE?

Many restoration contractors do not offer warranties for restoration work, and some that do should raise some flags. The reason is that it is very difficult to guarantee that, for example, mold will not grow in an area that has been remediated after the remediation is done. Since, there are so many variables that cause mold growth it is nearly impossible to warranty. However, there are some products that offer warranties under the right circumstances. The point of this, though, is that the remediation contractor should warranty their work if it does not pass the post-remediation verification testing. See our Air Quality page for more information on this.

DO YOU HAVE ANY REFERRALS?

I can’t tell you how many times a client has asked for a list of referrals but never contacted them. For some, it is enough to know that the contractor has at least worked before and has a list of clients, but it’s a good idea to go ahead and contact them. Ask questions about whether they were there during the entire project? What type of project was it? How long did it take?

Feel free to contact us and ask all of these questions. Our firm proudly stands behind our work and professionalism. Take a minute to view the rest of our site and see our list of services.