By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
City & Shore Contributing Design Editor
My advice for finding someone to do your home repairs may seem contradictory to anything you’ve ever heard before, but this is South Florida and the rules are different here.
Conventional wisdom is to get three estimates and go with the one in the middle. This may be OK in a small town where everyone knows the repair people, but not here. Obtain three estimates – but don’t end your research there.
My best advice is to ask friends whom they used for the roof repair, tile job or other work. Use Facebook to get more recommendations. Ask the sources: Did the person show up on time? If they were going to be late did they call to inform you? Was the job done on time? How was the quality of the work? Was the price reasonable? Did they give a guarantee? Check angieslist.com and the Better Business Bureau for a rating at bbb.org.
Make sure the company is reputable. Does its truck have a sign? Do they advertise? Does it have a valid license? Make sure it is in good standing with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation at 850-487-1395. Ask if the license is active and if any complaints have been filed.
Verbal contracts are invalid. Get everything in writing, spelling out exactly what will be done, the cost and the payment methods. Make sure the contract includes everything covered in your warranty and be sure that both labor and materials are covered. Most manufacturers guarantee their materials but this does not mean that the labor for replacement is included. Be sure the labor guarantee is specified separately.
Do not pay the total before the work is completed. And don’t pay in cash – a red flag that the contractor may not be honest with the IRS.