Hurricane Preparedness: Stockpiling Contractors as Well as Canned Goods

New Book Aims to Protect Homeowners from Contractor Scams

Jun 09, 2010, 10:43 ET from Centerline Production

ORLANDO, Fla., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Hurricanes are like houseguests from out of state—whether we like them or not, we can expect them to visit every year.

"We all know the routine. Before the hurricane strikes, residents are told to stockpile food, water, and other essentials," says Kia Ricchi, a Florida-based contractor and author of Avoiding the Con in Construction. "But homeowners should also remember another essential: a list of competent contractors to call on in case their house is damaged. With a list of competent contractors in hand, homeowners can make timely and wise decisions."

Ricchi explains that hurricanes can cause a shortage of qualified contractors because of the abundance of repair work that must be performed. As a result, what Ricchi calls "CONtractors" show up en masse to target desperate homeowners. "Sometimes the con artist disappears with the (deposit) money and other times the repairs are worse than the damage itself," Ricchi says.

In her book, Ricchi teaches homeowners how to use state websites to ensure that a contractor is properly licensed and insured as required by the state. Additionally, Ricchi points out that public records may reveal surprising aspects of a contractor's character. "Theft and other crimes can occur if a cleverly disguised CONtractor gains access to the home," says Ricchi. Therefore she advises homeowners to research potential contractor candidates before inviting them into their home. Once contractors make the grade, the homeowner should put their names on an emergency contact list.

Ricchi also explains the permitting and inspection process and how it protects the homeowner. Pitfalls such as liens, jobsite injuries, and cost overruns are explained as well as the methods to avoid them.

Greg Crow, former president and current chair of the National Association of State Contractor Licensing, says: "This book is a beneficial tool for both the homeowner and the contractor." Doug Harvey, executive director of the Building Officials Association of Florida, called Avoiding the Con in Construction "an informative and important book that every property owner should read before taking on a construction project."

Avoiding the Con in Construction has won the 2010 Independent Publisher's "Living Well" award and the Indie Excellence award.  The book retails for $19.95 and can be purchased in bookstores, at Amazon, and at

Ricchi is available for speaking events, workshops and outreach programs.

SOURCE Centerline Production