Southwest Florida is in the spotlight as one of the worst disasters in history, with Hurricane Ian making direct, catastrophic landfall on September 28, 2022. We hope that you are fairing well in the storm aftermath, and Woodward, Pires & Lombardo is here for you today and for years to come as we rebuild our beautiful community together.
Unfortunately, hurricane relief areas historically attract those with not such good intentions and take advantage of desperate residents and businesses in Naples and Fort Myers needing repairs, so it is critical to vet potential construction contractors. Whether you have flooding issues due to Hurricane Ian or loss or destruction to homes, docks, boats, marinas, or property damage of any kind, it is essential to choose a competent contractor. Woodward, Pires & Lombardo has a team of contracts and construction law attorneys ready to assist you with Hurricane Ian legal issues.
Tips for Hiring a Contractor
First and foremost, verify a potential construction contractor’s license and insurance before agreeing to do business with them. We know many are desperate to get a roof secured or homes or businesses back to useable conditions, especially in Collier County flood zones. However, if someone is rushing you and offering quick repairs at a special cash price due to the storm, verify they are a legitimate business. Even for minor repairs, getting involved with a scammer or an unqualified contractor could cost you more in the end. By hiring a licensed contractor, you can alleviate additional stress by knowing the contractor has the education, training, and worker’s compensation and liability insurance, and the experience required to do the job.
Second, be sure to put the contractor services agreement in writing listing all deal points. Also, obtain more than one written estimate for the repairs. The attorneys at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo have the necessary experience to help you with construction contracts, change orders, and liens. Contact us today should you require assistance in these areas.
According to the Florida Department of Professional Responsibility (DBPR), here are tips for hiring a contractor:
Before you hire a contractor, ask to see the state-issued license. Also,
verify the license number with DBPR and check for any complaints.
• An occupational license does not qualify an individual to act as a
• Being registered with the Division of Corporations as an Inc. or LLC
does not qualify an individual or company to act as a contractor.
• Get a written estimate from several licensed contractors. Make sure
the estimate includes the work the contractor will do, the materials
involved, the completion date and total cost.
• Beware of contractors who claim to be the fastest or the cheapest.
Hiring them could result in poor workmanship, inferior materials or
• Check with your local building department for any local license
Customer Contact Center: 850-487-1395
Warning Signs a Contractor May Not Be Licensed
The DBPR lists some red flags as to if a contractor may be unlicensed:
- Often target the uninformed and inexperienced, as well as the elderly.
- Missing license number in advertisement or posting.
- They want all of the money upfront and may only accept cash.
- Request checks are written to “cash” or them personally.
- Traveling in unmarked vehicles or with out-of-state tags.
- Try to convince you it is cheaper if you obtain a permit yourself or that permits are unnecessary.
The DBPR also lists trades not requiring a state license: Cabinet Installation, Carpentry, Masonry, Painting, Paving, Tree Trimming/Removal, Flooring, Drywall/Sheetrock, Cleaning Swimming Pools, and Carpet Cleaning.
Report Unlicensed Activity During Hurricane Ian
To help your fellow Floridians recover from Hurricane Ian, report any unlicensed contractor activity to the Florida Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 866-532-1440 or by email to ULA@MyFloridaLicense.com.
Our Florida Legal Services
Our Florida construction law attorneys can assist you if you need help with contracts for your Hurricane Ian repairs. For over 50 years, Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P. A. has helped individuals, families, businesses, associations, local governments and municipalities with an array of legal services, including Litigation, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Business Law, Family Law, Personal Injury, Community Association Law, Land Use & Zoning, and Local Government Law. Our law firm has two locations in Southwest Florida: Naples and Marco Island, having served clients since 1971 when attorney Arthur V. Woodward founded the first law firm on Marco Island. To learn more about WPL, call 239-649-6555 or visit www.wpl-legal.com.