In the wake of a severe storm that damaged a lot of homes and other buildings in Wyoming on Monday, the owner of a Cheyenne business that does remodeling and repair work on homes is warning people to ask some questions before hiring a contractor to work on your home.

Justin Byelich is the owner of Four Corners Siding and Windows in Cheyenne. He says shady operators often appear following damaging storms, promising quick, cheap repair work to anxious homeowners. But the work is often poorly done or not done at all.

Byelich says you shouldn't be afraid to do some checking before you spend any money. He says a good first step is to call the city and make sure the contractor has a license.

While a contractor can work in rural Laramie County without a license, the lack of one may raise some red flags. He says you should also call the contractor's insurance company to make sure they are properly covered.

Byelich says you should also talk to several contractors to get estimates and a realistic time frame for the work. He says you should refuse to do business with any contractor who demands full payment upfront.

Byelich says insurance companies that offer homeowners coverage will typically want to do some checking of their own before making any kind of payments. He says if you do make a down payment you should be sure to get a receipt.

He also says you may want to see if the company is listed in the local phone book and whether they are driving a car with Wyoming license plates to weed out "fly by night" contractors who won't be available if there are problems with the repair work.

And, of course, word of mouth from friends and relatives in the community is often a good way to judge whether a business is reputable.

While crooked or incompetent contractors are a regular part of the summer season in Cheyenne, they tend to increase in numbers after severe storms.

Cheyenne Police reported an upswing in reports of home repair scammers in the summer of 2011, when two powerful hailstorms devastated local homes and businesses.


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