Do Your Homework Before Hiring a Restoration Company

I recently passed by a home that was being restored following a fire.  What I saw embarrassed me as a contractor in the industry.  Piles of bags and debris stacked in the yard left overnight and tire marks from employee vehicles in the front yard.  No dumpster, no concerns for the community, and possible contaminants exposure for wildlife, kids, and pets at the end of the day.  Later in the day in passing again I noticed a hoard of unshaven, poorly groomed, out of uniform workers smoking, chewing, and hanging out in the street in front of the house.  None of this left a good impression on neighbors, and spoke volumes for the company involved.  As this job was going on very close to my shop I was glad to know that the contractor involved left a yard sign behind so that the community would know who NOT to call next time!  Not all restoration companies are the same, and I encourage everyone to do a little research before hiring or recommending a contractor after a disaster occurs. 

First, your insurance company claim’s office recommendation may not always be the best.  Very often these contractors feel entitled to the work and do little to earn that business.  Whereas this is not always the case, don’t just take the suggestion without a little due diligence.

Second, make sure that the company you choose is IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning Restoration Certification) certified, as are all technicians on the job.  The IICRC is the certification and standards development organization for the industry.  Use the following link to do a very quick search for your area,  Additionally, request to see a certification card from all crew leaders, supervisors, and project managers.  All should have at least a WRT certification and one person on site with a ASD (or CDS on commercial jobs) certification on every water damage; and FSRT and OCT on fires.  More information on certifications can be found on the IICRC site.

Finally, although more difficult to determine in the emotional, time sensitive nature of a disaster, a company’s standards, reputation, and appearance is critical for your comfort and for the success of getting your life back to normal.  Sometimes a quick website or Facebook search is enough.  Very often companies are willing to publish pictures of their employees/equipment/vehicles; both good and bad.  Surprising how often companies have pictures of poorly groomed technicians, dirty vehicles, and buildings in disrepair.  If this is their best foot forward, imagine what will show up at your door.  If you’re not comfortable with the person when you open your door; that comfort level will not improve as the job progresses.  Before signing a work authorization, be comfortable with the appearance of the technicians and vehicles.  If they don’t care enough to take care of themselves and their assets, what make you think they will take care of you and your home?

Time is of the essence when someone experiences a disaster in their home or business.  However, a little research could go a long way before hiring or referring a contractor.  Rainbow International of Plum is an IICRC certified firm that services the Pittsburgh area.  Visit our website ( or our facebook (  page for more information.