How Your Contracting Business Can Help People Rebuild After Disaster
It happens every year or two–a big wildfire or flash flood. In the aftermath, cities all over California need good contractors who can rebuild their homes and businesses. It’s a time when stress and emotions are running high. Here are a few ways you can be a respected source of information and service for people when they need it most.
Have All Information Ready on Request
Unfortunately, disasters can be a terrible time for fraud. Even if your business is completely beyond reproach, you should keep in mind that property owners will be on high alert for people who aren’t. Verify all of your certifications, insurance, and other necessary documents, and be ready to show proof as soon as it’s requested. The more you can do to establish yourself early as a reliable, credible contractor, the more comfortable your clients will feel choosing your services.
Help Clients Follow the Rules
When a single person’s house burns down, getting information might be as simple as calling their insurance agent. As the damage increases, home and business owners may face a shortage of accessible information about their options and the process they need to follow. Most disasters resulting from wildfires (or subsequent mudslides) may be covered by insurance. If they call you while still waiting for an adjuster to come out, encourage them to take detailed pictures of the damage and make a record of valuable items that will need repair or replacement. This step can help to confirm that the damage is covered by insurance before you do the work.
Look for Government Resources
In disasters that create a huge amount of damage, sometimes the government will step in and provide some services. As a contractor, you want to keep your eyes open for these opportunities. For example, government organizations often rely on local contractors to provide disaster cleanup. You may need to complete a registration and verify your business before you can participate. In many cases, these programs may be available to property owners at low cost or no cost. They usually require the owner to opt in for the service. If you have this information, you can help direct people to resources about it before they schedule cleanup or other work. There may be rules about how you can market your qualifications within a specific program, so be sure you understand what you are allowed to do.
Keep Price Increases Valid and Easy to Prove
At times, increasing your prices to complete a project is unavoidable. If your regular supplier got wiped out and you have to go through someone else who charges more for the same materials, you may have no choice. Similarly, if your regular subcontractor isn’t available and you have to pay a higher rate for another, you shouldn’t have to absorb that cost entirely. Like fraud, customers are on high alert for price-gouging. Dramatically increasing prices can be illegal. If you need to charge more than about 10% above what you did for similar services before the disaster, be prepared to document that difference.
Rebuilding after a big catastrophe calls for experienced and professional contractors. If you take a few extra steps, you can participate in the relief effort and find a lot of work for your contracting business. To learn more about getting your contractor’s license, visit CSLS today!