Wholesaler urges caution with flooded units
Many Nashville, Tenn.-area HVAC contractors are seeing an up tick in business as homeowners look to repair or replace flood-damaged HVAC units after last month's record floods.
However, contractors should take special care not to get overexposed financially during this phase of recovery, according to a wholesaler in the state.
"We've heard from contractors who installed a new HVAC system on the promise of an insurance settlement that never appeared, or they started an installation on a house only to find out it was going to be razed," said Clay Blevins, CEO of Comfort Supply, a Tennessee-based wholesaler of Ruud equipment. "These are just a couple of examples of how HVAC contractors may not get paid when dealing with flood recovery situations."
Blevins said that contractors should work on a payment-on-delivery basis for the immediate future in order to protect themselves from fraud or misinformation.
"Everyone is scrambling to take care of more business during the recovery," said Blevins. "As a result, contractors may compromise with a homeowner on payment terms in order to get the job, but it is also easy to get stuck with a bill if there is something wrong with the insurance settlement. Unless you personally know and trust who you are dealing with, your best bet is payment up front."
Blevins also recommends checking with the local code inspectors to see if homes in the area are scheduled for demolition or if the homeowner has had an inspection of the property.
"Occasionally a homeowner may find out that it will cost too much to bring an older property up to code or that the damage is too extensive to rebuild," Blevins said. "You don't want to be in the middle of installing a new unit on a house that"s going to be razed in a few weeks."