Crafts isn’t registered with the Better Business Bureau, she said.
“We’ve built our reputation without having to use the Better Business Bureau,” she said.
She said the company offers to “pre-inspect” for damage and then be present when the homeowner meets with the insurance adjuster to make sure that all the damage is noted and that the planned work will meet city codes. If there is insured damage, then the homeowner can decide whom to hire to make the repairs.
“I’m not putting insurance companies down whatsoever,” she said. “But they’re human. They’re busy. They may overlook something.”
Drumheller said the company urges homeowners to check out contractors’ credentials and get recommendations to avoid schemes that, for example, require paying money upfront.
“We tell them ‘Go with people that you feel like you can trust,’ ” she said. “There’s a lot of scammers out there.”
That’s true, said James Hegarty, president and CEO of the Omaha Better Business Bureau. Some out-of-town contractors may do good work, but others invariably cause problems after damaging storms in the Omaha area.
“Some took money upfront and didn’t do the work or did poor-quality work, or they were not available for warranty repairs,” Hegarty said. People should check online reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings from the company’s hometown, he said, and not hurry into contracts.
Making temporary repairs to prevent further damage gives people time to check out contractors, he said.
“We really believe that the best policy is to be patient and be absolutely certain you are dealing with a reputable firm,” Hegarty said. “It’s really important for people to do their research.”
Still, “storm chaser” companies pose a challenge for local contractors who already have work scheduled for their existing clients, said Danny Thompson, who owns Window World in Omaha and Wichita, Kansas, with his brother, Bryce.
“The out-of-towners kind of sweep in and undercut you on price sometimes,” Thompson said. “We’re not built to react that quickly. But we’re going to be here for you should anything go wrong down the road.”
Thank you Omaha World-Herald for reprint permission.