We, at House Check, understand that you are probably looking for (i) simple and (ii) to have a 100% guarantee that this (installation) of a manual, hurricane system
will be done with a future hurricane.
Below is likely the most honest disclosure and set of facts that any professional (or business that's operating with intrgrity and with your best interests in
mind) will provide to you on this loaded and profoundly complicated topic.
We will do everything to support and help ensure you may still have a successful outcome in this time of crisis, but we cannot do the (physical) installs and here
are all the reasons WHY:
The Key Problems of Hurricanes
- There is NO huge selection of set of businesses in Flordia set up to guarantee the execution or support of this task - a task that is being asked for in an
emergency and crisis situation, where (weather) situations can go from bad-to-worse in a moment's notice, and can set anyone up for failure
- The harsh reality is that you are only one storm away from you being sued by an unlicensed or uninsured worker hurt on your property or something happening to your
home in the middle of an installation. Of course, everyone "hopes" for a simple and good outcome, but the proper management and care of your home should not be left to chance or these good
intentions...and with no one being properly covered by an insurance policy, YOU ARE ASSUMING A HUGE AMOUNT OF RISK AND POSSIBLE FRUSTRATION
- How do you build a workforce or business around a random event, that prior to 2016, had last happened about 10 years ago? Will we posibly see a 3rd hurricane
arrive in 2018, or will we have another decade long dry-spell? The business challenge is immense and maybe unsolvable
- New Florida homes have (thankfully) started converting to impact glass, but the costs to retro-fit old homes is messy, super costly, and rarely makes economic
sense for an owner who may need to update interior items or the major systems on a home
As you hopefully read many of our memos, but unless we (or any reputable business) ; however can fully insure this activity and ALL the
workers who participate (and then still have an internal profit margin for our time and involvement), but it would be prohibitively expensive, AND THESE
OPERATORS ARE PUTTING YOU AND YOUR HOME IN THE WAY OF HUGE FINANCIAL LOSSES AND LITIGATION RISKS.
It's an expense that in this broken / uninsurable format, that seems to vary from $300-$900 per 1800 /SF single family home depending on who an owner reaches out to.
The fair, local calculation that is in use to maybe help you judge a fair "cost," is $25 per window of a home and $100-$150 for each large sliders (as more and larger panels).
Note: No question, some resources or laborers may be willing to do this for less, but this is a fee for someone with no insurance or coverage, but being in
your employ to mitigate a disaster situation.
After Hurricane Matthew, we think most homeowners would forgo this option (re: using a professional installer / licensed and insured business (attempting to) or
offering this hurricane install service all together. Even if we had every one of these necessary elements in place (per above) to incorporate, buy the proper insure and then charge a fair and
profitable market rate for this service, it is so expensive to be able to extend this service, and maybe this is why there are also just no providers that do so either.
But let's remove the cost component and also pretend that there was a readily available work force too, but then you, as an owner, may have the HOA (or township
guidelines), who have still crippled a community with having little to no lead time to actually install a system when the hurrisane watch / warnings go up.
This will be an ugly reality for whatever vendor you plan on having install a panel or accordion system, quite frankly.
Key Reminder on Timing : Via Hurricane Irma (2017), we had over a week to prepare for it's eventual arrival, but in Texas, they only had a mere 2 days, before
Hurricane Harvey unexpectedly, but absolutely destroyed the area. Having learned some critical lessons from Hurricane Matthew (2016), it was suggested to clients to consider IGNORING the HOA
bylaws and (plan to) fight the possible penalties in order to start getting their systems up early. FYI: Eventually the HOA conceded that they would not penalize for these early installs
(pre-Irma), but will this always be true?!?
And we know a lot of our house check competition will (continue) to gladly absorb and accept this liability, but that is NOT a professional or responsible
business...and the first lawsuit that comes from a worker falling off a ladder, not getting to your home in an emergency, or doing something that causes harm to your home (and has no backing to
insure or repair it), will probably send those providers out of business and (still) leave you in the cold.
Do you think your house checking service (or your provider) will have the personal funds or resources to back a potential claim of yours? This should probably
be a question you discuss with them, before you think they are giving you a better solution. Because you may be happy and friendly when things are FINE, but ask yourself if the same will be
equally true, if / when the worse happens.
Reality is, is that it NO DIFFERENT than the fact that almost every other house check provider carries ZERO or the wrong insurance on being in your home themselves
to boot. Some owners are fine with these tradeoff's, but we simply have no idea why that would be...for either party that engages in this unique exchange.
But we have been doing this long enough to know and understand everyone may want to manage their home differently, but we just ask owners to carefully and honestly
weigh ALL these important facts before thinking someone else is truly better, just because they either do something cheaper or make you a promise (re: like hurricane panel
installations) that they are really in no ideal position to guarantee, even if at first blush, it makes you maybe feel better by what they say they will do.
But as happened this past year, there are less-than-ideal alternatives out there via installers (who by an large are ALWAYS going to be doing this without insurance
or coverage), but we concede, they are only trying to fill an obvious and odd-void that many an absentee homeowner faces when owning a home in Florida. But this is also why we mentioned that
the easiest fix was to either leave systems up all season, or just have (much) more advance warning (and execution to doing the installs), so there is no rush in a crisis situation. But this
needs to come from the homeowners DEMANDING and pushing to make such a change via the HOA's or the communities they live in.
It is a lot to process (via points above), but hope this encapsulates all angles of this very unique issue and need.
Our short summary answer to the question of "DO YOU INSTALL HURRICANE SYSTEMS?", is that unfortunately, "NO," we will not...nor cannot...guarantee or sign up for the
installation of even the accordion systems. If you find a party who says yes; however, you should have (1) formal indemnify clauses or contracts in place (since being done sans
insurance, so forbid something terrible happens, all parties outline what they are agreeing to together) and (2) we suggest having a few DIFFERENT options or people that maybe can help you, as we
assure you, that someone will NOT show up for a storm one day.
To Reiterate and in Summary : The HARSH reality is that you are only one storm away from you being sued (by a worker hurt on your property) or something
happening to your home, but we hope some of these suggestions / reccommendations above will better protect YOU and you very valuable asset in Florida.
Note : There is one local business (Just Shutter It) who is willing to properly build and install the accordion-type system, which may give you the most
rational setup, if this is the investment you want to make ahead.
Locally owned and operated by Samuel Zaza and Paul Nichols.
Besides some of the most REASONABLE fees we saw for building and installing new accordions, but as long as you agree to the annual services with them (cleaning out
bugs / debris, etc. and lubricate the system and ensure the locking mechinisms are all functional), but they are currently assuming the responsibility to also PUT UP AND TAKE
DOWN the systems, in the event of a future, hurricane ahead too.
We still caution you to heed (all) the advice from above, but based on their performance and execution between Hurricane Matthew --> Hurricane Irma, we've not
heard anything bad about this group or from the many clients who elected to use them. The critical element is to ensure they install one or two sets of panels that you can then exit the home
from (if someone was in the inside) - Re: An egress panel
If you'd like to talk about this further, or in person, please let us know.