Storm chasers are on the rise — and they may be trying to steal business from licensed contractors like you.
“Storm chasers” is another name for uninsured and unlicensed contractors who flock to residential areas recently hit by severe weather. They promise to fix up storm damage — usually for dirt-cheap — in exchange for an upfront payment.
Once they get that payment, they vanish — often without even starting the project they were paid to do.
With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) predicting an overactive hurricane season this year, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning homeowners to beware of this increasingly unsavory scam.
As a licensed and insured contractor, it’s in your best interest to warn customers to watch out for these scammers.
Here are four tips to do just that — and make sure storm chasers don’t steal business from you!
While storm chasers may not be a new phenomenon, there’s a good chance your customers may not have heard of this scam. That’s why the best first step is to consider making both prospective and current customers aware of these unlicensed contractors by:
Let your customers know about some of the more common signs of a storm chaser scam, including:
Empowering your customers with this information means they can make better choices and potentially resist the temptation to work with an unlicensed and uninsured contractor just to save a few dollars.
If you’ve been putting off getting your contractor’s license, now may be the time to make a move.
Here’s why: a contractor’s license shows your customers that you’re a trusted professional who has been vetted and approved by your state.
And whether you’re a handyman, plumber, or work as a subcontractor, having a contractor’s license means you won’t be lumped in with the unlicensed contractors attempting to prey on customers.
Holding a contractor’s license isn’t just important for your customers; it also protects you from undercover stings. Working without a contractor’s license is illegal in most states, so if you don’t want to get caught up in a sting operation (they happen more often than you think!), you’ll want to get your license.
Helpful hint: In most states, you may need to show proof of a general liability insurance policy to get your contractor’s license.
If you don’t have GL insurance or you’re not sure if you have the right policy, we can help with that — just click “Start Here” in the box below to compare GL insurance options from top insurers.
You also can give one of our licensed insurance agents a call if you have questions about the GL insurance requirements in your state or what a typical policy covers.
The best way to protect your customers from storm chasers is simple: Make sure you’re the contractor they reach out to first, before being scammed by budget unlicensed contractors!
As soon as there’s a major storm warning in your region, consider taking the following steps:
Once the storm clears out, check in to see if your customers are safe and healthy. Let them know that you’re there if they need any help with storm damage repairs.
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I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
Mariah writes on a number of topics such as small business planning, contractor insurance, and business licenses.
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