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With Spring fast approaching, we’re dedicating much of our blog articles these days to events certain to happen in the near future: heavy rains causing flooded basements. Especially with a big El Nino weather pattern sitting over the Pacific Ocean, forecasters are calling for an unusually wet spring. So while we’ve discussed spring flood prevention tips, it’s probably a good opportunity to assume the worst and help you navigate the process of hiring a reputable basement flood cleanup company.
Tips for hiring a basement water cleanup company
We’ve spent many years cleaning up basements after flooding, and we’ve also had many occasions where we were called in to fix issues related to another company’s attempts to do the same. We’ve seen firsthand the issues that arise when the wrong company is put on the job. And you would really be surprised at how often that happens. So here’s some questions you should be asking when hiring the best basement water damage contractor in your area!
How much experience does your company have?
Experience matters. The truth is every job you’re sent to is different, and you learn a lot each time. The more flooded basement cleanup jobs you’ve performed, the more challenges and issues you’ve encountered and hopefully overcome. With each job, you take a little nugget of information that you can’t possibly learn in a controlled learning environment and you can apply it to your future jobs. So it’s probably a good idea to ask the company point blank ‘How many flooded basements have you mitigated?’ If they’ve only been in business for a year and their answer is a handful, you’re rolling the dice in a way.
Are your technicians IICRC-certified?
To our knowledge, there isn’t a state in the country that requires licensing in order to become a water mitigation professional. While some require companies to have a general contractor license if they intend on providing reconstruction services after flooding, you don’t need any license to perform the critical task of removing water from a basement and drying it properly to prevent structural damage and black mold growth. So that means anybody could start a company today and start servicing customers tomorrow. Hmmm, that doesn’t seem like a recipe for success to us.
So how do you know if the technicians are competent if the state doesn’t require any licensing? While not foolproof, one great way to know is determine whether each technician that would be tasked with cleaning up your basement flood is certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. In order to become certified by the IICRC, technicians must have a certain amount of experience in the field, attend multi-day classes and pass an extensive test. While there is still much to be learned outside of the classroom, a company that is willing to spend their resources and time to properly train technicians should tell you something about their willingness to provide competent service.
Is your company and its technicians insured?
The work we perform can be dangerous. From electrical hazards to the possibility of contracting diseases to even having the ceiling cave in over our heads, there is no shortage of risks when you enter a flooded basement. To protect yourself against any possible litigation should someone get hurt on your property, make sure all of the technicians on-site are covered under the company’s general liability and worker’s compensation policy. This is a basic question most never even think to ask!
Do you use Xactimate for pricing the work?
This is critically important for a couple of reasons. First, if you have an insurance policy that covers your loss, Xactimate pricing is going to be the de facto solution your insurer uses to determine an equitable price for the work. If your basement flooding company is simply winging it when it comes to pricing, and you sign a contract with them, there may be a huge disparity between what they charge and what your insurer will pay. Guess where that leaves you? Either in a lawsuit or paying out of pocket for the difference. Second, Xactimate protects you against price gouging. Everything in our industry should be done according to standard pricing, yet there’s plenty of shady contractors out there that are just trying to prey on people’s helplessness.
Here is a video that helps you understand how our pricing works and how using Xactimate protects you against unfair pricing:
Do you provide a free onsite estimate?
Some companies out there try and charge for estimates. In our business, that isn’t very common. It’s not to say it’s a bad thing, but we just find it odd they aren’t willing to go out there and earn your business. In a way, it seems like they’re trying to get you to commit to using them without even meeting them in person.
At RestorationEze, all of our basement flooding cleanup estimates are free!