According to a recent report, one in every 50 homeowners has to file a water damage claim every year. The damage on the average claim equals around $10,000.
If you’ve experienced water damage in your home or commercial property, you know how emotionally and financially devastating the situation can be. When you’re in the middle of the chaos, the last thing you need is to search frantically for a competent team to call.
You don’t have to stay up late Googling, “Water damage restoration near me”. Instead, we’re here to help you cut to the chase. With this type of catastrophe, time is of the essence.
You need to act quickly, and you need a reliable crew on speed dial. Today, we’re sharing 10 tips to help you distinguish a reliable local expert from the rest. Read on to discover the traits and qualities that set the best apart.
Why Do Expertise and Professionalism Matter?
From broken pipes to an overflowing toilet, there are myriad issues that can create an overwhelming amount of water damage.
Even concerns that start out as small as a roof leak can easily snowball into an unmanageable disaster. If this happens, the most important thing is just getting someone out to your property, right?
Not quite. On one hand, it’s important to move as fast as possible to avoid further damage. Yet, hiring the wrong water damage restoration team could result in further destruction. You need your space to be restored as quickly and effectively as possible, and only an experienced and qualified crew can get the job done the right way.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 ways you can recognize a superior service provider when you need it the most.
- Ask Around
We might live in the Digital Age, but good, old-fashioned word of mouth is far from dead. In fact, it’s still one of the most viable and reliable ways you can find local services.
When you’re looking for a water damage restoration company you can trust, begin by asking your friends and family members if they’ve ever been in your shoes. If so, who did they call and what was their experience like?
If you’re not getting very far by inquiring to your closest circle, don’t hesitate to widen your reach a little. Using a tool such as Facebook Recommendations, you can pose the same question on social media and reach a much bigger audience of friends, followers and acquaintances. The answers you receive will be location-based and should fall within your greater geographical region.
- Read Online Reviews
A well-established and prominent water damage restoration team won’t make you play hide-and-seek with their brand reputation. They’ll usually have a dedicated space on their website, where you can read online reviews, customer feedback, and testimonials from clients who have used their services in the past.
If you can’t find such a section, you can also search online to find the company’s profile in an online business directory, such as Google My Business (GMB). On each profile, you can usually find more information about each company, including their operating hours, location and contact details.
According to research, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family members. If you can’t find any information from former customers on any prospective team, consider that a red flag and continue your search elsewhere.
- Request References
Another way to double-check the validity of any water damage restoration team in question? See if they can provide any references that you can contact to learn more about their company.
A reputable local company will be equipped with plenty of references, including people who have been in similar shoes as yours. Be wary of any company that pushes back on this request, as it could speak to their poor or unreliable reputation in your area.
Especially if you live in an area that frequently experiences storms or other weather-related disasters, any team you contact should have plenty of experience answering emergency calls and providing top-tier service.
If you receive a list of references, make sure you use it. Call each reference and ask about their experience working with the team in question. Did they respond on time or did they make them wait? Were they professional and informed or did they seem to fumble the entire time?
Take notes with each reference, and take all information with a grain of salt. While it’s important not to hinge your entire decision on the opinion of others, it’s helpful to hear the perspectives of people who have walked through a situation that mimics yours. Approach this step as part of the interview process, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the contacts that are given to you.
As you interview these references, keep professionalism and punctuality top of mind. While you’ll naturally want to choose the most cost-effective company, it’s more important to select one that’s qualified to do the job.
- Prioritize Quick Response Times
When you’re standing in a basement full of water, the last thing you want is to wait until regular business hours for help to respond.
Waiting even one hour to begin restoration could exacerbate your damages exponentially. If there are any companies on your list that don’t offer emergency services, you can shorten your options and quicken your efforts by focusing on those that do.
At CTR, you can count on us around the clock. We offer water damage restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We understand that no one plans on these kinds of events happening, and there are many times they occur outside of standard business hours.
While you’re interviewing prospective teams, ask about their response times. Do they have set office hours or are they available at any time of day or night? Do they charge extra for after-hours services or is the same cost?
Ideally, you’ll find a team like ours that is ready to dispatch whenever you need help. Regardless of the cause or severity of the damage, we’re ready to handle any degree of cleanup or repair. The water extraction, drying, and repair process must be started as soon as possible, and we won’t make you wait.
- Request Copies of Licenses and Insurance
It goes without saying that any water damage restoration company you team with should have an up-to-date business license, as well as an active insurance policy.
It’s all too easy for unscrupulous companies to pose as experts, wielding little more than a dehumidifier and a drywall repair kit. Yet, these companies are not experts and could leave you even more underwater than you already feel.
A professional restoration company with a reputation to protect will be licensed through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). The IICRC is the non-profit organization responsible for certifying and standardizing all aspects of the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. To make verification as easy as possible, the IICRC has an online global locator that allows you to search for licensed companies in your area.
Not only does an IICRC license prove that the company in question is valid, but it also helps assure you that the team will follow current best practices for detecting any damage and safely removing excess water.
In addition to a license, it’s also critical to make sure that the company has up-to-date bonding and insurance policies.
Any time a professional is working on your property, there is the risk of running into additional issues. This is especially the case with water damage, which could affect the structural foundation of your building. In addition, this is manual work that could result in physical injury if an accident occurs on-site.
Insurance and bonding ensures that you’re protected in the event that someone gets hurt or your property gets damaged during the cleanup and restoration process. Otherwise, you could be left footing the bill if such problems arise. Request to see copies of the company’s IICRC license, as well as their insurance policies, before signing on the dotted line.
- Compare Response Times
As mentioned, time is scarce when you’re dealing with water damage. The longer you wait, the worse the problem could become. Even if your walls and other surfaces appear to dry after a few hours, keep in mind that the moisture is still there, even if you can’t see it. Allowing it to sit can amplify the amount of microbial growth that occurs, which can lead to dangerous mold.
In addition, it’s also easiest to get your insurance claim approved if you act immediately rather than letting too much time lapse between the event and your call for help.
That’s why you need a team that offers a quick response time, even on holidays, weekends, or after 5:00 p.m. on a workday. After all, leaky pipes aren’t exactly polite enough to follow standard business hours!
A reputable company won’t have any qualms about coming to your house to begin work any time of day or night. That said, be sure to ask about timeliness when choosing a local team. If you run into any pushback or hesitation concerning after-hours support, it’s time to look elsewhere.
While initial response time is the most important factor to consider, it isn’t the only one. You should also look for a water damage restoration company that can complete the work in a timely manner, as well as one with a dedicated follow-up policy to ensure the work that they performed held up.
As you do your research, keep in mind that anyone can promise anything over the phone or internet. In addition to asking team representatives about the average response time, be sure to read the reviews posted online, too. This way, you can see if the guaranteed lightning-quick pace was just lip service or an actual company policy.
- Understand All Costs
When you’re in the throes of water damage, you might be willing to pay just about anything just to solve the problem. Yet, you shouldn’t have to break the bank or dip into savings just to keep your home safe and clean.
As you compare your options, look for a company that offers fair and reasonable pricing in accordance with local community and insurance industry pricing standards. Then, as you crunch and compare the numbers, remember that the team with the lowest price isn’t always the surefire choice.
While price will undoubtedly play into your decision, it’s most important to find a team that can perform the job well and get it right the first time. A reliable company will provide you with a written initial estimate, and then follow up with a more detailed, line-item quote once they’ve assessed the amount of damage. You should never be forced to hire a company based on an estimate alone, as the price could change exponentially once the crew gets to site and realizes the extent of the project.
Each company should provide an in-depth scope of work or contract before getting started so you know exactly what you’re paying for. This scope of work should include steps to return your property to its pre-loss condition, until you’re fully satisfied. Every step should be laid out, from the initial dry-down phase to the final punch list of the reconstruction effort.
Finally, the contract should also include a comprehensive list of materials used and services provided, as well as a finish date for job completion. Along the way, you could be able to clearly understand what the team is doing and how far along they are.
At CTR, we developed our own cloud-based process management software to provide this level of transparency to our clients. Not only does the software ensure our continued efficiency, but but it also allows us to track, monitor and manage every step of the project to provide more accurate reports and updates.
- Require Insurance Experience
Beyond dealing with water damage restoration and cleanup, any company you partner with should also have a high degree of experience navigating related insurance claims.
When you’re facing an extensive project, the last thing you want to tackle is communicating the details to your insurance agent and working through the laborious claims process. Thankfully, a certified water damage restoration company can help.
These experts are used to working with insurance companies to get your claim processed as quickly as possible. Beyond simply explaining how the process works, they should also be able to accelerate the steps so you can get money back in your pocket quicker.
Note that you’ll be expected to pay in full if you decide not to file with your insurance or if your claim is not covered. However, you can often lower the costs of the project by leveraging your homeowner’s insurance policy.
When this is the case, our team at CTR usually collects your deductible or co-payment only. Then, we will bill the remainder of the balance to your insurance provider as a no-cost service to you. That’s one less hoop you have to jump through, putting you one step closer to resolution.
- Ask About Industry Accreditations
Membership into every related industry organization might not be a must-have feature of the company you choose. Yet, it speaks volumes about their reputation and credibility.
Start by asking if the company in question is associated with your area’s local Chamber of Commerce. This is a great way to tell if they’re a recognized and respected local business. From there, you can expand your search to see if the company has a presence with any state and national organizations, from your local housing management association to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
At CTR, we’re proud of our affiliations and associations. In addition to IICRC, these include partnerships with some of the most illustrious organizations in the country. While you can see a full list of our associations online, a few examples include:
- The Idaho Affordable Housing Management Association (AHMA)
- The Idaho Health Care Association
- Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce
- Napa Chamber of Commerce
- Garden City Chamber of Commerce
- Caldwell Chamber of Commerce
- Meridian Chamber of Commerce
- Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce
- Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)
- National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM)
- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
- Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Boise
- Idaho Apartment Association
- American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE)
In addition, CTR has also been a BBB-accredited business since 2005, earning an A+ rating. We’re also proud to partner with some of the most top local organizations in our area, focusing our energy (and our dollars) into supporting regional businesses.
As Idaho’s largest independent and privately owned restoration company, we recognize the important role we play in the community. That’s why we’re proud to invest in our local economy by supporting Buy Idaho. In addition, our three locations are strategically placed to support communities in both Idaho and Eastern Oregon, and our regional managers are all natives of their respective territories.
- Require Extensive Team Training
The water damage and restoration industry is rapidly changing, especially as tools and technologies become more adept and sophisticated.
As such, best practices that worked even a few years ago could now be rendered obsolete. Some could even be unsafe in accordance with more modern safety guidelines. As such, it’s important to work with a company that offers continuous, up-to-date industry training to its staff members.
At CTR, we take training seriously. We routinely provide professional development opportunities to ensure our team members are able to respond quickly to any call. This way, you can rest assured that you’re trusting your property to the most skilled, knowledgeable and courteous staff members in the area. We know that you’ll understandably be in a state of distress when we arrive, and we’re prepared to take the burden off your shoulders through excellent, precise work.
When you’re interviewing prospective providers, ask what level of training their team members have received. Were they trained once, as soon as they were hired, but never again? Or, do they have access to workshops, classrooms, and in-person training sessions to hone and perfect their craft?
While you’re inquiring about the skill level of the team, this is also a great time ask who will be performing the work. Sometimes, the person you speak to on the phone might be different from the person who is dispatched. Make sure the team you choose works for a full-service restoration company. This way, the same team will own the job from start to finish, performing every step as a unit, including:
- Property restoration
Don’t settle for a company that can only perform part of the work in-house and will have to outsource the remainder of the project. Partnering with a full-service team allows for a more seamless, timely approach and improved visibility into every stage.
Water Damage Restoration Near Me? Start Your Search Here
No one expects to come home to water damage, or show up to work to find the unthinkable.
If you require restoration services for your residential or commercial property, you need a prompt and professional team you can trust. As you search, an online inquiry for “Water damage restoration near me” can yield many different results, leaving you even more confused. Instead of spinning your wheels and wasting valuable time, it’s best to have an excellent local company already on go.
That’s where we come in. At CTR, we’re dedicated to client satisfaction, and we’ll put your project first. We’re the state’s largest and highest-regarded independent restoration company, and we’re proud of the reputation that precedes us.
If you’re facing water damage, you don’t have to feel like you’re drowning. Take a deep breath, contact us for a free project estimate and let’s take this next step together.