How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House? - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?

 
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:34 AM   #1
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How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


I live in colorado. As I'm sure you've heard we have had an ton of fires. Many homes have been lost. I want to be as respectful as possible but I also want to form a plan on how to approach the dozens of homeowners who have lost their homes without looking like an ambulance chaser. Any ideas?
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:37 AM   #2
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


You will be competing with many "chasers". If you're a local, make sure you convey that on your initial meeting. Otherwise, don't be shy, the chasers surely won't be.

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Old 06-28-2012, 07:43 AM   #3
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


OK, I guess I get that part, but how do I find them? What's the appropriate time to wait before approaching them? Do I just drive through their neighborhood when the authorities let them back in?

Thanks!
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:52 AM   #4
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


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Originally Posted by PC123 View Post
OK, I guess I get that part, but how do I find them? What's the appropriate time to wait before approaching them? Do I just drive through their neighborhood when the authorities let them back in?

Thanks!


Are you there to give a helping hand or are you sniffing for work. If your sniffing for work that's a bit much in my eyes. Perhaps it's the norm for people to bother you after losing all your belongings and home where you live but if it was my home I would tell you to piss off.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:00 AM   #5
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


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OK, I guess I get that part, but how do I find them? What's the appropriate time to wait before approaching them? Do I just drive through their neighborhood when the authorities let them back in?

Thanks!
Wrong approach.

Start getting in touch with every insurance company out there. They will be able to steer you in the right direction.

Make sure ALL your bona fides are in order too.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:11 AM   #6
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


Unless you are hoping to find someone who wasn't insured sitting on a pile of cash just waiting to rebuild, NHC is right...start buddying up with the major insurance companies. They usually have a few preferred companies they like to work with, but with so much to be done there is gone to be some wiggle room for others to get in.

As far as driving through the neighborhoods...its a little hard to act like an ass and not have people think you are an ass. You might stumble on something by being that bold, but I think there would be a lot of negative to go with that one positive.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:24 AM   #7
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


I imagine first the insurance adjusters will come through. Some of these may recommend a builder. The insurance company may also have a list of builders. The HO will make the final choice, usually. The insurance company and HOs will generally feel a lot better if you're local, have a good reputation and have solid insurance, etc.

Fire can be a specialty - if you have experience, make sure you push that. If not, you need to learn the basics quickly.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:47 AM   #8
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


U R LAME

If your a reputable builder they will find you.

Keep in mind, that the boulder county fire a year or so ago, only 50% of the houses were rebuilt.

A builder I know lost some houses he built for customers over the past 20 years during that fire. He also rebuilt some of them. The sad part one of the houses was written about, published, and photographed over and over and now doesn't exist. Never will again because it was so high dollar they cannot get the insurance company to cover all the building costs.

ps: insurance companies will payout the bottom dollar, so rebuilding a house valued at 1.5 million is almost impossible without a fight or a homeowner with deep pockets.

pss: as has happened in the past land use codes, building codes, etc will all change over night making it more difficult to rebuild without huge cost additions to the projects. All in order to make them fire safe. I've done it before and it's a nightmare the bs the gov't will throw at you.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:49 AM   #9
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


Your probably better off sneaking in there at night and scraping metal than you are rebuilding someones house.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:55 AM   #10
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


We lost 38 homes in the fire I fought last Labor Day week. I approached none of them. That seems Lowlife to me personally, to each his own. I was approached to rebuild one home, they met me while I was helping on clean up, and they recognised me from the fire. I refered it, not in our model.

Basicly, I don't know how to approach a disaster victim without feeling like an ambulance chaser. So I don't.
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:27 AM   #11
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


Absolutely do not approach disaster victims directly. You will be branded unscrupulous, plus a whole bunch of other names that others already mentioned.

When a catastrophe happens where someone loses their home to fire, flood, etc. they feel extremely vulnerable. If it is an isolated incident, they are usually supported by their friends and neighbours. But if the whole neighbourhood is destroyed, then they feel left to fend for themselves. Unless you want to volunteer services, this is not the time to be approaching people and asking for money in return for services.

When catastrophes happen, usually government organizations like FEMA get involved. Insurance companies band together and set up a "command center" to coordinate claims, adjusters, and the hiring of extra contractors that are needed as the contractors they already have on their pre-qualifed list won't be enough.

You need to find the network that will be set up to handle this particular fire disaster in your area. In Florida, for example, where they have regular hurricane disasters, they have a permanent network set up which is known as DCN (Disaster Contractors Network) http://www.dcnonline.org/.

In your case, because it is a one-time catastrophe, they will likely be setting up a temporary network. Try FEMA or Red Cross to direct you to the right place. Then get your name on their list and wait for them to come to you.

I can tell you that the insurance industry is aware of a practice known as "demand surge" when a large catastrophe takes place. This is where contractors will charge 20% or higher than their normal prices because there is so much work and everyone wants it done sooner than later. Be careful you don't overcharge as you will be quickly blackballed if they think you are engaging in this practice.

Last edited by Astrix; 06-28-2012 at 09:35 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:29 AM   #12
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


Check the laws as well. If I recall correctly it is illegal to accept any money upfront for an area designated a disaster
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:10 AM   #13
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


Here in Cali, you lose your license if your prices rise more than 10% above normal rates, for 180 days after a declared State of Emergency.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:30 AM   #14
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


First of all sincere condolences to all that have gone through and are going through these large fires.

After one of our catastrophic fire events in San Diego County a few years back where if I remember correctly over 1,000 homes were destroyed, an event was organized for homeowners to meet with contractors to discuss their situation and get to know each other and the services they offered.

This might be something to pursue if there are enough destroyed homes to warrant it, maybe contact the local Building Industry Association and see if anything is being planned.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:53 PM   #15
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


Quote:
Originally Posted by PC123 View Post
I live in colorado. As I'm sure you've heard we have had an ton of fires. Many homes have been lost. I want to be as respectful as possible but I also want to form a plan on how to approach the dozens of homeowners who have lost their homes without looking like an ambulance chaser. Any ideas?
Don't be shy. Be professional. Dress like a business man (collared shirt, tie, and maybe have a portfolio). If you are going to go door to door, make sure you have something tangible, like your work efforts and pictures. Most business cards will just get shuffled into a roladex or a wallet. Sell yourself, not the company, anyone can do that.

Best of luck.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:13 PM   #16
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


I agree with just about everyone. When I first got into the trades I worked doing insurance restoration. We did t least one fire a year, never a full rebuild but usually a rebuild from the studs. The guy I worked for and the guy he subbed to never approached homeowners, the insurance companies would contact them. In these instances they are the real client, the ones signing the cheque so the actual homeowners aren't the only decision makers
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:02 PM   #17
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


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I agree with just about everyone. When I first got into the trades I worked doing insurance restoration. We did t least one fire a year, never a full rebuild but usually a rebuild from the studs. The guy I worked for and the guy he subbed to never approached homeowners, the insurance companies would contact them. In these instances they are the real client, the ones signing the cheque so the actual homeowners aren't the only decision makers
We are working on a fire job now. House was devastated by a fire on New Years Eve. We work for a contractor who gets contacted by the insurance company. He bids almost everything out, and then submits that. So far we have gotten 5 our of 7 rather large jobs. I too think that contacting victims directly would appear unscrupulous.

On a related note, for me, I have now realized that the demo and framing that we perform on these jobs is not worth the effort. 94 degrees here today and we are demoing nasty, dirty, stinky, burnt rubble on a fairly steep roof. I am glad that the work seems to be picking up, and we probably will not do any more fire work.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:58 PM   #18
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


When i did ins resto, we only went in after the studs were sprayed with BIN or killzed. Occasionally the guys would come in and spray again if the smell was still bad.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:34 AM   #19
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


Drive a lettered truck through everyday..If you can, park it on the street and leave it..then move to another spot..

during the flood here about 6 months back...that's what me guys were doing..

and although i understand the "morality" of some of the poster comments, bottomline is the housing will need work, the homeowners will need to hire, and it will be someone else if not you.

there is no prize for second place..

i think knocking on doors is much, but getting out postcards or offerings is business..
if you think people aren't going to make money on this..you are wrong..

defense companies make billions during wars..contractors, lawyers suppliers etc make theirs in times like these..

morality doesn't put food on your table and it certainly doesn't make you rich..

All i can add is to do it tactfully...
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:47 AM   #20
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Re: How Should You Approach An Owner Of A Burnt House?


Homes damaged by forest fire are usually completely destroyed. Just wondering, how does one "knock on doors" or "put flyers in mailboxes"?

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