Hiring a Contractor After a Wind or Hail Storm
Ultimate Wind & Hail Damage Guide For Homeowners- Hiring a Contractor After a Wind or Hail Storm
What Is a QLC
QLC stands for Qualified Local Contractor; an established, local contractor who strives to maintain excellent customer relationships by working with their clients to resolve problems, perform quality work, always pay their subcontractors and vendors, and conduct themselves professionally with the goal of building a successful business.
If you hire a QLC, you are in good hands and won’t have to worry about most of the things I talk about in previous posts about Storm Chasers, scams etc. If you end up hiring a contractor who is a Non-QLC or an out-of-town Storm Chaser, the best practices and advice on this website are meant to help you reduce your chances of getting ripped off, while keeping the contractor accountable.
Pros & Cons
These are the Pros and Cons for using a Qualified Local Contractor. The Pros are also the requirements for a company to be considered a QLC company. Make sure to use the step-by-step guide that I’ve created to ensure that you are hiring a contractor who is a Qualified Local Contractor (by reading this).
- Pricing may be
- The wait may be longer (due to the volume of the storm damage in the area).
Pros (& Requirements):
- Supports local economy.
- They often have a customer-first mentality vs. a bottom line mentality.
- Often active in the community through volunteer efforts and supporting community causes.
- Established reputation.
- Offer 25 year labor warranty covered by the manufacturer.
- Have a minimum of 10 years in business for each trade (roof, siding, gutter, windows, etc.).
- Have had the same phone number, same business name, and same license number for a minimum of 10 years.
- Can provide references from local homeowners.
- Have a high quality of workmanship.
- Have hundreds of insurance-related storm jobs under their belts.
- Have expertise on insurance claims: trained hail inspectors that have years of hail damage experience, as well as the ability to navigate through insurance claim process and help the homeowner to hold insurance company accountable for ALL legitimate damage.
- Maintain the proper licenses and insurance.
- Undergo safety training, and perform background checks on all employees
- Crews will have extensive product knowledge.
- Encourage or offer continuing education for all employees including crews and salespeople.
- Have knowledge of local laws and building codes.
- Have state (local) license plates and a local driver’s license.
- Have established credit in good standing with all the major supply companies.
- Have high scores with rating companies like the Better Business Bureau and others.
- Have the same crews for a minimum of 5 years and crews will be certified by the manufacturer of the product they are installing.
- Salespeople have manufacturer certifications.
- The company will have multiple industry certifications such as Master Elite, Firestone Red Shield, Velux Skylight Authorized Installer, Crew Master Installer, etc.
- Recognized as an industry leader through its awards and achievements.
- Have a professional production department with the necessary processes in place including separate quality control inspectors, individual crew chiefs, full production staff in house, scheduling, and follow up.
- In house office staff accounting, bookkeeping, production manager, production assistant, admin assistant, general manager, and controller to provide the highest quality product.
There are always positives and negatives while you hiring a contractor regardless of their qualifications. Some of the cons of hiring a QLC will be the wait time that you may have to endure because Qualified Local Contractors are always in a high demand and are careful not to overextend themselves. If you can’t get a QLC out right away to do the urgent repairs, you might have to find someone to make any temporary repairs necessary (such as a tarp)and then hire a Qualified Local Contractor to properly complete the job.
You may notice that the pricing of an established contractor is higher than a non-QLC company, with regards to non-insurance related costs (upgrades). It is due to higher quality materials, extended manufacturer warranties; certified, trained, pre-screened (background check) crews and other important components which are necessary to create a high quality product that increase the cost. But as they say: “you get what you paid for”.
Tip: In the storm restoration industry, price should not be a concern. Your insurance company is going to pay the majority of the work (if not all) of the roof repair/replacement expenses.
The biggest advantage of working with an established local contractor is that a QLC will not cut corners on the quality of work or materials, they are experts on homeowner’s insurance claims, and they continually train their crews and salespeople on the latest industry installation methods. Some other benefits of working with a Qualified Local Contractor are:
Proper Licenses and Insurance:
Did you know that if a roofer falls off your roof or damages your home in any way (roof torn off and it rains, fire, damaged landscaping, etc.) you can be liable for it? Always remember, that you, the homeowner are ultimately responsible for anything negative that happens on your project if the contractor doesn’t have the money or enough insurance to remedy the problem.
If you hire a contractor that doesn’t have all the proper licenses or is not following code, the county will shut down your project. If the contractor cannot afford or is incapable of rectifying the violation, then you the homeowner are ultimately responsible for the code violations. That’s why it’s important to make sure that a contractor you hire has all the proper licenses.
Insurance Claims Expertise:
Imagine you receive a letter from the IRS wanting to audit you. You would want an experienced CPA/attorney with the most experience in IRS audits (who probably worked for the IRS) and who understands exactly how they operate and all the complicated rules and regulations of the tax code, right?
The same way the former IRS employee (the CPA/attorney) will be helpful in navigating through the audit, your Qualified Local Contractor will be invaluable to help you navigate through the complicated insurance claims process. Just as an IRS audit can be disastrous if not approached in a proper way, a legitimate insurance claim for your roof restoration project can be underpaid or even denied, possibly costing you thousands of dollars.
Remember, the insurance adjuster looks out for the interest of the insurance company and their bottom line (not yours). That’s why you need a Qualified Local Contractor who will ensure the scope of work is written in acceptable insurance language, speaks the language of the insurance adjuster and knows the specific software (such as Xactimate) that the insurance adjuster uses.
A Qualified Local Contractor will make sure that you get the full amount you are entitled to from the insurance company.
When a hail storm hits, everyone becomes a roofer! Even your local handyman or gutter guy will offer you roof restoration services after the hail or wind storm.
Out-of-state contractors (Storm Chasers) who usually call themselves “insurance recovery experts” or “specialists in insurance restoration” will also temporarily relocate to your area and may even “rent” these local companies for their local licenses and name.
If a storm hits your area, you will want to be hiring a contractor who is a trained hail inspector with years of hail damage experience, and (due to the complexity of the insurance claim process) the contractor should be very comfortable navigating through the insurance claim process and helping you, the homeowner to hold the insurance company accountable for ALL legitimate damage.
Although Storm Chasing companies are usually very knowledgeable in insurance claims, all of them are going to be ignorant in your local laws and building codes.
Now who would you trust to handle your multi-thousand dollar insurance claim and roof restoration project?
Established Crews (minimum of 5 years) Certified by Manufacturer:
It is not uncommon after a hail storm for regular contractors to quickly put crews together. They may pick up day-laborers (from Home Depot or 7 Eleven) to handle your multi-thousand dollar roof repair/replacement project. An established QLC crew on the other hand will have all the necessary tools, experience, safety training, installation training of the different roofing systems, and will be certified by the manufacturer (this is very important if you want to have the extended manufacturer warranty on your roof).
Extended Manufacturer Warranty (25 years):
The Extended Manufacturer Warranty is extremely valuable. If you have a problem with your roof (such as a roof leak, shingles blow-off, etc.) and the contractor will not or cannot take care of the problem, you can call the manufacturer and they will come out to fix the problem free of charge because the warranty is held by the manufacturer.
In fact, the manufacturer comes out and inspects your roof once the installation is completed to ensure that the roof is installed 100% correctly. This warranty gives you complete peace of mind for any unforeseen issues down the road.
Note: Not many companies on the market today qualify to offer this kind of warranty. In order for them to be able to offer the extended manufacturer warranty-the crews must be trained and certified by the manufacturer.
Established Credit Line:
A Qualified Local Contractor will have an established line of credit with a minimum net 30 days (preferred 60 days) with multiple supply houses. This is especially important in the storm situation when a contractor is doing multiple jobs, but has to wait for the funds to come in from insurance/mortgage companies to start the project, buy materials, etc.
You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where your roof was damaged by a hail or wind storm and you have a signed contract with a contractor and have paid the deposit, but the company can’t obtain the materials and thus cannot start the restoration project due to lack of funds.
Extensive Product Knowledge:
A QLC company will have the knowledge and expertise on the best products available for your home. For example, what kind of ventilation your home should have or what the best shingle for your specific neighborhood is. They can also give you some ideas on how your home can stand out in the neighborhood, as well as point out geographic concerns such as moisture, high wind areas, tree coverage, etc.
Are Awards Important?
I believe that a contractor should have both industry and community awards. The industry awards indicate that the company is established, well run, and organized, while community awards indicate that the company is not indifferent to ordinary people and they will take a good care of you and your house, too. The combination of both is one of the requirements that make the company a Qualified Local Contractor.
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