Thursday, June 3, 2010

Contractors: Beware When Replacing Flooded HVAC Units  


Take steps to protect yourself and your business when dealing with flood recovery.

HVAC contractors are seeing an up tick in business as homeowners look to repair or replace flood-damaged HVAC units. However, contractors should take special care not to get overexposed financially during this phase of recovery.

We’ve heard from contractors who installed a new HVAC system on the promise of an insurance settlement that never appeared, or they started an installation on a house only to find out it was going to be razed. These are just a couple of examples of how HVAC contractors may not get paid when dealing with flood recovery situations.

Contractors should work on a “payment-on-delivery” basis for the immediate future in order to protect themselves from fraud or misinformation.

Everyone is scrambling to take care of more business during the recovery. As a result, contactors may compromise with a homeowner on payment terms in order to get the job, but it is also easy to get stuck with a bill if there is something wrong with the insurance settlement. Unless you personally know and trust who you are dealing with, your best bet is payment up front.

We also recommend checking with the local code inspectors to see if homes in the area are scheduled for demolition or if the homeowner has had an inspection of the property.

Occasionally a homeowner may find out that it will cost too much to bring an older property up to code or that the damage is too extensive to rebuild. You don’t want to be in the middle of installing a new unit on a house that’s going to be razed in a few weeks.

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