Hurricane Dorian left a path of destruction that put the full power and fury of nature on display. If you’re a contractor and you genuinely want to help homeowners rebuild their homes, we applaud and thank you—other contractors may see this as an opportunity to turn a profit. Your kindness will be felt by the families you help and by the communities you build. Here’s the best way to get disaster contracting work and a few things keep in mind before you offer your talents to those who need it.
Join the Disaster Response Registry
People who own homes in hurricane-prone areas may have been required to obtain hurricane coverage. The first thing most homeowners will do, therefore, is call their insurance companies and go over their policies to see how much hurricane and flood coverage they have. Most insurance companies partner with contractors to complete work for homeowners, but even if you’re not an insurance-preferred contractor, you can still help. A homeowner doesn’t have to use the contractor their insurance company offers—they’re ultimately free to choose their own. If you aren’t already, make sure you’re part of the Disaster Response Registry so that hurricane victims can easily reach out to you.
What to Keep in Mind
Regardless of your experience, rebuilding a home after a hurricane isn’t easy, and it requires more than just technical know-how—it also requires a great deal of emotional intelligence and a willingness to connect with people.
Most Homeowners Will Want to Move Fast
Hurricane victims won’t care about the scope of the project—a complete tear-down or floor repair is all the same to someone living out a hotel. They’ll be in a hurry to get things back to normal, so do your best to stay calm, polite, and responsive throughout the rebuild. Don’t give them unreasonable timelines you won’t be able to meet, either; it will only aggravate an already tense situation. When you finally start working, don’t let urgency get the best of you. Always follow best practices that will keep you safe and efficient on the job site.
People Are Wary of Con Men
Homeowners who have been through major disasters before are wary of silver-tongued hucksters—and rightfully so. Immoral contractors will take advantage of people who are at their lowest points. These dishonest con artists will take people’s money and do secondhand work or none at all. So, if someone is wary of you and your business, don’t take offense. Politely let them know that you understand their concerns and that you only want to help in any way you can. Offer references and show your accreditations and previous work. You can only help those who are willing to accept it, so don’t pressure families who turn you down, no matter how much you want to help. Your good intentions may very well come off as insincere and only add to their stress. If you do earn their trust, don’t waste it. Prove to them their trust isn’t misguided: stay on schedule, be compassionate, and do your best work.
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