4 Months Later — Hurricane Ian Recovery: Advice for Businesses
The past few months have been challenging for many areas of Florida. Hurricane Ian brought devastating wind and flooding, resulting in destruction, displacement, and loss of life.
If your business or community has been impacted by the hurricane, below are some guidelines to follow during recovery.
Seek Out Assistance
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the Division of Emergency Management are gathering information about the storm’s effect on local businesses. Its Business Damage Assessment Survey is being used to understand the needs you have and the resources you require. You can complete the survey at FloridaDisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments.
You can also visit the Disaster Assistance page that was created by Enterprise Florida. It includes state and federal resources that can help you recover from the damage you may have experienced.
If your business was hard hit by the hurricane, you might qualify for assistance via the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. This program is offering zero-interest, short-term loans to help you get through the coming weeks. To learn more, visit FloridaJobs.org/EBL.
You can also apply for a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA is operating Business Recovery Centers throughout Florida to assist you. Discover what counties are eligible by visiting the SBA site.
Be sure to register at DisasterAssistance.gov so you can be considered for all types of disaster assistance. In addition, you can call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362.
Use Caution as You Recover
If your home or business was damaged by the hurricane, you might be eager to make repairs and try to get back to normal. However, be wary of fraudulent solicitations to perform work. Too many unlicensed contractors can take advantage of you during desperate times. Below are some of the threats you must avoid:
- Unlicensed contractors might insist on a deposit before starting the job, but they may never complete the work. Or they may do a shoddy job, resulting in more problems for your structure.
- These unlicensed workers may neglect to comply with building codes. That can result in structural defects and leave you more vulnerable during future storms.
- Such workers may also cut corners and fail to obtain proper permitting for the project. That will catch up with you if you ever try to sell.
- Unlicensed contractors often do not have the proper insurance, which leaves you liable if accidents or injuries occur on your site.
- When you hire an unlicensed contractor, you leave yourself open to other risks as well. Without background checks, you may not realize they have criminal histories or lack the qualifications to do the work. You might be inviting danger by allowing them into your home or business.
You can always check out potential contractors and verify their licenses at MyFloridaLicense.com.
Ask for Guidance
If you have questions about rebuilding your business after Hurricane Ian or are concerned about unlicensed contractors, be sure to reach out and ask any questions you have (email@example.com or 813.227.5501).
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.