NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Spring storms can cause property damage, which means roofers and contractors will likely be hitting the streets looking for work. The Ones for Justice found dozens of North Texas cities require door-to-door salespeople to obtain a permit before knocking on your door.
The permit applications typically ask for basic contact information, while some require vehicle and insurance information. Some cities take it a step further and run background checks or require surety bonds.
Once a solicitor gets the green light they are issued a badge or permit; some have to wear city-issued vests. Residents are urged to ask to see a permit before negotiating with a company.
Most cities have set hours for soliciting, typically 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Soliciting is not allowed on Sundays or major holidays.
We found just one North Texas city without a solicitor ordinance: Frisco. A spokeswoman says the city suspended the rule in 2016 because of a lawsuit; we are awaiting more details.
Here’s the list of cities we found with ordinances. You can get more details by calling your city secretary’s office and asking about solicitors or peddlers permits.
Here are some tips to deal with storm damage.
If severe weather hits, it’s safe to say roofers and contractors will be making the rounds in the hardest hit neighborhoods. While many of these businesspeople are legitimate, it is important to ask certain questions before signing a contract:
Does the company have insurance?
If a contractor falls off your roof, do they have worker’s compensation? Does the company have general liability insurance?
Can they provide references?
Other customers can give the best insight into their own experiences with the company. What is the company’s address and telephone number?
A question as simple as this can help determine if a business is local and legitimate. After storms roll through, out-of-state scammers will often solicit business in badly-affected neighborhoods, then disappear.
Here are other tips to remember before choosing a contractor.
-Never sign a blank or incomplete contract. Make sure both parties agree to the terms.
-Never pay in full before work is completed.
-Ask for estimates from different companies. If one bid is significantly lower than the rest, consider why the company is offering an estimate at that price.
-Secure all details of business in writing, including guarantees, payment and time schedule. Keep all copies of contracts
-Check with RCAT
-Be wary of any company that offers to waive or pay your deductible.
-Research reviews with the Better Business Bureau
What to do before the storm
-Locate the paperwork pertaining to your auto and homeowners’ insurance policies. Make sure your policies are in effect in the event of storm damage.
-Place your vehicles in sheltered areas, such as a garage or overhang.
What to do after the storm:
-Take photos. Document the damage to your property as soon as conditions are safe in order to expedite the claims process.
-If your roof is damaged, attempt to place a tarp over your roof to prevent further damage from another line of storms. Only venture outside after the threat of a weather event expires.
The Texas Department of Insurance offers additional tips here.