The damages of this week’s tornado leaves many Vanderburgh and Warrick County residents searching for emergency repairs to save their homes. One of the untold costs associated with this type of disaster are the losses due to fraud. Unfortunately, disreputable “fly-by-night” contractors often appear after these kinds of events, and further victimize the residents by swindling them out of their precious and often limited resources.
Here’s a warning from the Southwestern Indiana Builders Association, who reminds everyone that you CAN protect yourself.
By using these helpful tips, and watching for warning signs, you can protect yourself from another disaster – the unscrupulous contractor.
Helpful Hints To Help Choose A Professional Contractor:
- A professional remodeler should always provide a written contract that clearly explains the work to be completed, along with the price and payment policy. If it seems too low, it probably is.
- Your professional contractor should be registered with the Warrick County Building Department OR licensed by the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Building Commission. This ensures the state and local insurance requirements are in place.
- A professional contractor is happy to give you references from previous customers, suppliers or banks. A reputable contractor doesn’t mind you verifying their business. In fact, they encourage it.
- All work have a permit from the local Building Department. And the contractor should pull the permit – not the homeowner. This ensures the work performed is in compliance with applicable codes and standards, and is inspected by authorities.
- A professional contractor has a verifiable office, or address in the community. Not only does this provide some protection, it also is likely to support those who sponsor our Little Leagues, churches, and other organizations.
- Many reputable contractors are members of professional organizations, such as the Southwestern Indiana Builders Association. Membership indicates professionalism and commitment to the industry.
Watch for these WARNING SIGNS!
- If you are told to pay in cash, or 100% up-front before the work is even started!
- If you are told a written contract or permits aren’t necessary!
- If you’re told a “special low price” is good only if you sign the contract today!
- If the homeowner is asked to pull the permit themselves!
- If a contractor has no references to check!
- If you can’t verify the name, address or phone number of the contractor!
To verify your contractor is REGISTERED with the Warrick County Building Department, call 897-6188.
To verify your contractor is LICENSED in Vanderburgh County, call the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Building Commission 436-7867.
To verify your contractor is a MEMBER of the Southwestern Indiana Builders Association, call 812-479-6026. Or visit our website at www.SIBAonline.org, and click on “Our Members” to find builders/remodelers or search for particular companies.