Repair business booming, but buyer beware

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - As you can imagine, most people in the Tri-state just want to get their lives back together after Sunday's windstorm.

But rushing too fast to repair all the damage may not be possible, and could compound your headaches.

As people work to pick up the pieces Ike left behind, the repair business is booming, but customers should beware of possible scams, and above all be patient, because it could take weeks or even months to get everything back to normal.

"We've been working 9, 10, 11 hours a day," said Brian Scott of Brickman Landscaping.

Scott says tree-work is unfortunately falling into his company's lap.

The home repair business is apparently exploding too.

"Its just trying to work around everybody that's the big thing because everything needs to be fixed," Scott said.

The work load out here is intense. Siding has been ripped off of homes, tree limbs and trees are down all over the place and shingles were ripped of rooftops and electrical outlets have been damaged.

Home repairs after a disaster like this may be the most stressful time for a consumer.

"You can't find anybody," said Florence resident Joe Brinker. "The phones ring, everybody wants to come in, they want money up front. They want to do repairs up front. Its hard to find good repairmen. You get a lot of people that are fly by night coming through."

For Brinker, avoiding home repair fraud and rip-offs has been easy because he's asking the right questions.

But finding a qualified insured contractor has been another thing.

"I've been getting somewhere around 20 to 30 calls a day just for repairs and the vast majority of those are roofs," said Richard Adams of Ryan's Home Center in Crescent Springs.

Adams says he's trying to take care of as many customers as he can, but warns it will be a long process.

"We're sending guys out to cover them, to make sure they stay dry and keep things that are tore up safe but I'd say once this load starts pilling up it could be two to three months before we get to some of these folks," said Adams.

To avoid scams, here are some easy tips:

  • Contact your insurance company before you have work done.
  • Never pay a large sum of money in advance for work.
  • Check your contractors credentials.
  • Make sure the contractor supplies you with a written contract detailing all the work, its costs and a completion date.