Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to employ the restoration company that is suggested to you by your insurance company. Insurance companies have many agendas that may not be in your best interests, and trusting them without vetting the restoration company is a one way ticket to disaster. Here are some of the vital questions that you must ask before committing to any restoration company.
Does the restoration company specialize?
General restoration should not be an option for you; you have very specific types of damages that have been rendered from very specific types of events. Having a restoration company that specializes in that damage type is essential to proper rebuilding. If you do not insist on this specialization, then you risk having your work outsourced in many different directions with no single responsible party. You also risk a longer timeline which will invariably make the entire process more expensive for you. Your estimates will also likely not reflect the true nature of the cost, meaning that you may end up surprised once all of the work is finally done and the bill comes.
Is the estimate free?
Professional restoration companies are not afraid to give you an estimate up front, because they know restoration is not primarily sensitive to price. You want the company that can get the job done, and if a properly equipped competitor comes in at a lower price, an established company will likely be able to match it.
Is there a guarantee of work?
The best restoration companies are not afraid to stand behind what they do with a guarantee of certain essential functions.
Is the company properly licensed within the jurisdiction?
Check with the Better Business Bureau to view the licenses of companies that you are considering for your restoration. Also, make it a point to check the local and state municipalities for special licenses that are required in the area. Make sure that your preferred restoration company has these licenses before you commit to any repair; otherwise, you may have no recourse if a company does not follow through on its promises. Overall, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification is the standard in the industry.
Does the restoration company clean up as well as repair?
What good is it for a restoration company to fix damage from a fire and leave marks on the carpet so deep that you now need a professional carpet cleaner? Top quality restoration companies take the time to protect your house as they rebuild it, reducing the need for cleaning after the fact.
What kind of insurance protection does the restoration company have?
Many areas will not allow a company to operate without certain insurance protections; however, you should check with the individual company in order to make sure. Workers compensation and liability insurance are the big red flags. A company that does not have these protections may cause you to have legal trouble if something unexpected happens on the job. Any subcontractors should be similarly protected.