If you follow Nick’s Plumbing and Air Conditioning Services on our social media platforms, you already know that we are here in Houston, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, to service all your plumbing needs. Several members of our Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning family have been directly affected by the recent storm’s wrath, as have many of our long-time customers.
Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning knows that many of you have suddenly found yourselves in need of both general and specialized contractors to repair the damage from the recent storm.
Hiring a contractor, particularly after an event like Harvey, can be an exhausting task.
To ensure that your home is restored to its pre-storm condition, and that you are protected in case of problems in the future, there are a few steps you can take to help keep you from falling victim to a local or out-of-state “Stan in a Van” contractor. The kind that inevitably appear immediately after a natural disaster.
While it’s always best to do business with a local, established company that has a proven track record, many of the Houston area’s general and specialized contractors are overwhelmed with emergency calls.
If you absolutely must hire an out-of-area contractor, Google is a tremendous resource for weeding out the folks who are simply trying to make a fast dollar from other people’s misfortune. Websites with customer reviews like Google, Nextdoor.com, and Yelp can also be a good indicator of a contractor’s business ethics.
After a storm damages your home, it’s a good idea to get an independent full-property inspection, and at least 3 estimates before settling on a contractor. Do your proper “due diligence” on any local or out of state contractor. Some of the most important criteria to look for include;
- They must be an established company (more than 5 years in business), with a positive track record with at least 3 locally verifiable references.
- They need to carry the required liability and worker’s compensation insurance within Texas.
- Must be experienced with insurance claims.
- Can pass a background check.
- Out-of-area contractors should have a reciprocal contract with a local contractor. This ensures that any future warranty issues will be remediated by a local contractor.
Texas does not require licensing of general contractors at the state level. However, many cities and municipalities do require licenses. To further confuse the issue; electricians, plumbers and HVAC contractors must be licensed by the state. Roofers and mold remediation contractors do not have to be licensed at all.
It is important for the homeowner to check with your municipalities website for information regarding any city or county level requirements. Residents in the city of Houston can visit HoustonPermittingCenter.org and scroll down to Pipeline Permits for information regarding plumbing, gas and sewer pipe issues.
If your local municipality website doesn’t offer permitting specifics, call the phone number on the homepage of their website.
Further information regarding the hiring and proper vetting of contractors, both local and out-of-area, can be found at StormDamageCenter.org.
Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning is always available to respond to your emergency plumbing needs. If you need any assistance with your plumbing, sewer or gas lines, call Nick’s Plumbing and Air Conditioning Services today.
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