Hurricane Irma roared through Naples and Southwest Florida on Sunday with sustained winds topping 110 m.p.h., gusts reaching 142 m.p.h., and serious flooding caused by rain and a storm surge that reportedly reached up to seven feet. While the hurricane initially hit mainland Florida as a powerful Category 3 storm, it was soon downgraded to a Category 2 storm, and reports from around the region suggest that overall damage is not as devastating as feared.
Still, damage is widespread and all area homeowners and businesses face extensive cleanup, at a minimum, with many also likely needing assorted repairs, and some requiring extensive renovations. Assessment and cleanup began as soon as the winds started to subside, and when those who evacuated return to their homes and businesses, the entire region will be engaged in full-scale cleanup and repair work…for weeks and months to come.
Beware of Scammers Posing as Contractors
Communities generally pull together during times of crisis to help each other out, but, unfortunately, some unscrupulous people use disasters to take advantage of people in need. “Charity” scams are already underway across the country, with con artists working the phone lines and Internet to encourage donations to fake charities for hurricane relief. “Repair” scammers are already roaming our streets and going door-to-door to encourage people to pre-pay for repair work that will never be done, or offer repair services that they are unqualified to fulfill, and will likely botch. Likewise there will be some contractors from away looking to gouge unwitting victims of storm damage with repair costs far above what should be considered reasonable for the situation.
Most Construction Work Requires a License
Not to say that everyone offering repair services during this difficult time is a con artist, but there are some measures you can take to ensure that repairs and cleanup of your property are professionally conducted at a reasonable cost for the circumstances. When meeting with a “contractor,” or other people offering storm remediation services, perhaps the most worthwhile means of establishing their bona fides is by asking to see their contractor’s license. The state of Florida requires that many elements of construction—including painting—be conducted by a licensed contractor. In fact, construction work of most any kind valued in excess of $1,000 must be conducted by a licensed contractor. In Florida, a “registered” contractor’s license is valid for work locally, while a “certified” contractor’s license is applicable statewide.
Other measures you should take to assess and hire potential workers to repair your storm damages include:
- Try to hire known contractors, whether by first-hand knowledge or reputation.
- Ask to see proof of insurance.
- Ask for references and follow through by checking them out.
- Make sure all details—scope of work, materials, labor costs—of the job are put down in a written contract.
- Do not pay in cash and do not agree to pay a significant amount advance.
- Also be wary of those offering repair work under the guise of your insurance—do not sign any Assignment of Benefits (AOB) form and contact your insurance company before signing any related agreements.
FCI Painting is offering a range of after-storm clean up and repair services along with its full slate of painting and pressure washing services to homeowners and business in Florida’s Collier and Lee Counties who have been affected by Hurricane Irma. As a fully licensed Florida State Certified General (CGC) contractor with more than 20 years of dedicated service in southwest Florida, FCI Painting has the experience, manpower and tools to get your business or home back in shape.
To learn how FCI Painting can help you resolve storm damage and cleanup, contact us today online, or give us a call at (239) 435-1001.