When you are looking for the best restoration company to help you with damages to your home, what do you look for? A friends recommendation who has had water damage, a kitchen fire or a flood affect them? A neighbor who perhaps had a dryer vent fire, or perhaps a sewage back up in the bathroom? Or do you just trust that your insurance company is going to send out someone who has your best interests at heart, and who is professional and certified to do the job right? Are they really the best restoration company for you?
While all of those may seem like the best course of action, you should do a little research before you hire a company to restore and repair your home after any type of damage occurs.
Things to look for:
Years in business – how long has the company been in business? Is it a brand new start up or a well established business that’s been around for 30 years or more. A company that has a long track record probably has a great reputation and provides excellent service.
Is it a franchise – franchises are in the business of selling franchises. Many offer little to no training in restoration, they just charge a monthly fee for their name and brand. Not all franchise companies are bad, but there are some out there. If you are considering hiring a franchise, ask them about independent training and certification they have taken.
Certifications – IICRC certifications are a MUST for any disaster restoration professional, and they have to be kept up to date. IICRC website to check on certification for both the individual and the company. The technician working on your home needs to be certified, not just the owner of the company. An IICRC certified water, fire or mold technician should be present and may supervise others during any type of restoration. IICRC trained and certified technicians have been through professional, third party training and testing for competency.
Standards – Any restoration should be completed following the IICRC Standards for the type of loss. IICRC Standards These standards are written by a group of industry professionals, and reviewed and updated on a regular basis. These standards are what is used as a basis in a court of law for our industry, so ask your technician about the standards. They should refer to the S-500, S-520 and other standards that you can ask to see to ensure the work on your home is being done professionally.
Proper licensing and insurances – you see it every day, contractors being arrested for doing unlicensed work. So what’s wrong with not being licensed? State licensing isn’t just about the State getting money. State licensing requires proof that the individual is competent and is following proper guidelines and safety procedures to ensure the job is done according to codes and standards. Many states, such as Florida where we are based, require a separate license for mold related services, which includes both remediation and testing Florida Mold Licensing
Awards – has the company been given any awards or recognition? Independent agencies such as newspapers or other reporting agencies will do research or polls occasionally and give out awards or other recognition for companies doing great work. Accent American for instance, won Best of the Best in the Tampa Bay Times People’s Choice awards Gold Winner for carpet cleaning, Tampa Bay Times 2nd place for Customer Service from Creative Loafing Creative Loafing Awards and was named one of the Best Restoration Companies by Expertise.com Expertise.com
Insurance recommendations – insurance companies generally have recommended service providers that they will refer you to. Accent American is recommended by many insurance companies. It is absolutely your choice who you hire to perform work on your home, and you have the right to pick a different company if you choose. Do your own research, and hire someone that you feel comfortable with. Restoration companies will not generally come out and give you an estimate for free, it takes many hours to put them together. Your insurance adjuster will provide you with an initial estimate to compare with the restoration company. Qualified restoration companies have worked with insurance claims for many years, and know how to deal with them. Ask for their help and advice when dealing with the adjusters.
There are a couple of insurance companies who are listing a clause that they have the “right to repair” and will attempt to force you to use their preferred vendor. Be very cautious about this, look through your documents for this language and either have them remove it, or get a different insurance company. This is an attempt to force you to use their provider, who does not have your best interests in mind. They probably aren’t the best restoration company for you.
What about ratings and reviews? While ratings and reviews from customers can be helpful and give you some insight into the best restoration company, you need to be cautious and read through them carefully. If you see too many that say almost the same thing, they could be fake. Or if the review really doesn’t make a lot of sense, or doesn’t seem to “fit”. There are companies that “sell” reviews and will write positive reviews all over the internet for a fee. And some review sites, such as Yelp, hide reviews using a “not recommended” tab, even though the reviews might be positive. Take reviews with a little bit of skepticism, unless they are from someone you know personally.
Be cautious, do some research on your own. Find the best restoration company you are comfortable with. Discuss your concerns with them and let them help you.