The United States has more than 6.7 million occupied mobile or manufactured homes. The construction and installation of mobile homes that were built after 1976 are strictly regulated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Mobile home repair and maintenance must also be done in line with this department's safety standards and regulations. Violations of these regulations can result in civil penalties of more than $2,900 per violation.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, mobile or manufactured homes built in line with the HUD standards have shown a 57% lower death-rate per hundred reported fire incidents. Hence, it is important to hire a professional and qualified repair contractor nearby to handle any problems that you might have with your mobile home. Doing this ensures that you do not violate any of the mobile housing safety standards and regulations and it also protects you from becoming a victim of maintenance and repair-related injuries.
The following questions will assist you in selecting an experienced and suitably qualified mobile home repair contractor near you:
Are You a Licensed Mobile Home Repair Contractor?
Mobile home repair contractors are typically required to obtain licenses before they can carry out repairs. At least 39 states issue state-level mobile home installation and repair licenses. The specific requirements for obtaining these licenses vary by state, but they generally involve passing an examination and paying an application fee. For example, mobile home repair contractors in South Carolina and Nevada are required to pay an application fee of $50. Mobile home repair contractors in New Mexico pay an application fee of $200, and those in Michigan and Georgia pay a fee of $150 and $300 respectively.
Always hire a mobile home repair contractor near you that is properly licensed according to the requirements of your state of residence. You can get information on the specifics of these requirements by contacting either your local housing department or your local consumer protection agency. You can also look up and verify your mobile home repair contractor's license online via the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies' licensing information website.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Mobile Home Repair Contractor?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019. The bureau also estimated that at least one worker in the United States died every 99 minutes during this period. Although work-related injuries and fatalities are an unfortunate occurrence, they are also inevitable.
When you hire a mobile home repair contractor near you that is not insured, you stand the chance of getting sued if an injury occurs during the repair job. Similarly, hiring a contractor that is not bonded can result in financial losses if the contractor fails to properly complete the repairs. Your mobile home repair contractor should not only be licensed but should also be insured and bonded. Always ask for proof of these in the form of the contractor's insurance and bonding certificates respectively. Make sure that your contractor's insurance policy is up to date, and that it includes general liability insurance and worker's compensation insurance.
You can also contact your local consumer protection agency to find out whether your state of residence has any mandatory bonding requirements for mobile home repair contractors. If the answer is yes, make sure that your mobile home repair contractor meets all the requirements. For example, mobile home repair contractors in South Carolina are required to have a surety bond of $5,000 while the state of New Mexico requires a consumer protection bond of $10,000.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Although many professional mobile home repair contractors are qualified to handle a wide variety of mobile home issues, some problems may require the attention of a specialist. This is usually the case in electrical, levelling, and plumbing issues.
Before you hire a mobile home repair contractor near you, always ask if the contractor is specialized in handling the problem you need to fix. One reason why you should hire professional licensed mobile home repair contractors is that when they recognize the problems that need special attention, they generally inform you. In many cases, unlicensed contractors that attempt to fix these types of problems by themselves end up causing more damage to your mobile home.
Who Will Do the Work?
Always find out the people that will be involved in your mobile home repair job. Sometimes a contractor might come along with a colleague or an apprentice to speed up the job. Some contractors may also subcontract certain aspects of the job out to other individuals. Make sure that your contractor duly informs you of the possibility of any of this happening before starting the job. Also, make sure that everyone involved in repairing your mobile home is licensed, insured, and bonded.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
Many professional mobile home repair contractors near you would offer warranties that cover the materials used for the job and the labor done. However, it is always a good idea to confirm from your contractor whether or not you will be offered a warranty. Warranties are legally enforceable contracts between a buyer and a seller that assures the buyer that the product or service paid for is of a high-quality. You should always hire a mobile home repair contractor that offers warranties and make sure that you get these warranties in writing.
Note that many mobile and manufactured homes typically come with their own warranties. As such, the Department of Housing and Urban Development advises mobile or manufactured homeowners to contact the manufacturer or retailer of the home before carrying out any repairs. This way, you do not void any conditions of your home's warranty. If the retailer or manufacturer of your home does not respond or rectify the issue within a reasonable time, then you should contact the HUD-approved state administrative agency in your area of residence.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
Just like with site-built houses, you will need a permit for any mobile home repair that will result in a substantial alteration of your home's structure or footprint. Examples of this include repairing and replacing windows or doors with a different size, repairing or replacing main panel boxes, repairing damaged wiring, and changing the home's supply/drain piping. Failure to obtain the necessary permits required for a repair job can lead to fines and other penalties.
Professional mobile repair contractors near you know the types of repair jobs that require permits in your locality. They also know the procedures for pulling these permits. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to contact your local building department or your local consumer protection agency to find out whether your repair job requires a permit. This is because the specific jobs that require permits and the procedures for pulling them vary by location.
Will You Provide References?
Asking for a list of references is a good way to weed out unqualified and unprofessional mobile home repair contractors. According to the Federal Trade Commission, mobile home repair contractors should be able to provide you with verifiable contact information on no less than three clients that they have carried out similar repair jobs for.
Professional mobile home repair contractors that take pride in their work do not hesitate to provide a list of references, including satisfied clients near you. In many cases, these contractors will also show you pictures of similar jobs that they have completed. You can also independently search for reviews on a contractor you wish to hire by using websites like Better Business Bureau or Yelp.
Do You Have a Business License?
Many mobile home repair contractors either work for a business or own one. These types of businesses are referred to as small businesses because they typically have less than 500 employees. One of the requirements for owning and operating a business in the United States is having a government-issued business license. This license means that the business is legally allowed to carry out operations in a particular area.
You should always hire a mobile home repair contractor that works for or owns a business with a valid license. Mobile home repair contractors from these types of businesses tend to be more professional and experienced. They are also more likely to be insured and bonded. You can confirm the validity of business licenses through the office of your local Secretary of State.
What Are Common Mobile Home Problems?
The most common problems in mobile homes that require the attention of a mobile home repair contractor are:
- Rusty or corroded skirting
- Holes in skirting
- Holes in walls
- Damaged roof
- Loose door hinges
- Cracked doors
- Unaligned doors
- Broken windows and damaged window frames
- Water damage
- Unlevel floors and bent floorboards
- Bathtub and basin cracks
- Leaky faucets
- Blown fuses and circuits
- Flickering lights
- Frozen or cracked pipes
How Much Does Mobile Home Repair Cost?
Mobile home repair covers a wide range of issues. The average cost for most mobile home repairs is $400 - $650. Note that this amount typically depends on the type of repair and the cost of the materials needed for it.
Some common mobile home repair and replacement cost estimates are:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Mobile Home Repairs?
The factors that affect the cost of mobile home repairs are:
Minor repairs that do not require a lot of labor and materials are generally cheaper than repairs that are labor-intensive and require the use of costlier materials. For example, replacing a light fixture or unclogging a drain will cost you way less than rewiring or re-plumbing the entire home.
What Qualifications Should Mobile Home Repair Contractors Have?
There is no mandatory minimum education qualification for becoming a mobile home repair contractor. However, many contracting firms require their employees to have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. These firms usually provide their employees with training courses and on-the-job learning opportunities.
Note that mobile home repair contractors are generally required to obtain professional licenses by passing state-administered examinations. Also, some professional mobile home repair contractors undergo training and certification programs with trade associations like the Manufactured Housing Institute.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Mobile Home Repair Contractor?
Handymen are workers that have a basic understanding of general household repairs. On the other hand, mobile home repair contractors are workers that have been licensed and trained to deal with various types of mobile home problems. It is always in your best interest to hire a professional mobile home repair contractor instead of a handyman near you. This way, you are assured that the repair will be carried out per the Department of Housing and Urban Development's safety standards and regulations. In addition, hiring a licensed, insured, and bonded professional mobile home repair contractor provides you with a layer of protection if an injury occurs or if the job is not properly completed.
What Are Common Post Mobile Home Repair Expenses?
Whether or not you have additional expenditures after repairing your mobile home usually depends on the type of repair job that was carried out. With some repair jobs, you will not incur any additional expenses. Examples are replacing leaky faucets and faulty light fixtures. However, some repair jobs may involve the payment of additional fees. This usually happens in jobs that involve the removal and replacement of certain sections of your home. For example, after fixing your drywall or installing an HVAC system, you may be required to repaint the part of your house where the job occurred.
In many cases, your contractor will include the cost of doing this in the estimate you are given. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to ask your contractor before the job starts whether your job may incur additional expenses. If yes, find out whether these expenses will be included in your bill, or whether you will have to pay for them separately.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Mobile Home Repair Expenses?
No, a standard homeowner's insurance policy does not cover mobile or manufactured homes. Instead, these types of homes are covered by a type of insurance known as mobile home insurance. Mobile home insurance policies are similar to standard homeowners' insurance policies in that they generally cover sudden and unexpected damages to your mobile home like fires and lightning. As such, if your mobile home repair expense is as a result of these types of damages and you have a mobile home insurance policy, then it is very likely that this policy will pay for some of your repair expenses.
Always find out the specifics of a mobile home insurance policy before you purchase one. Make sure that the types of perils it covers are stated clearly. It is also advisable to always pay up your insurance premiums on time. Note that if the cause of the damage to your mobile home is age, normal wear and tear, or lack of maintenance, there is a high chance that your insurance company may not pay for the repairs.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Mobile Home Repair Contractor?
With the Covid-19 pandemic came an increase in the use of digital channels as a means of paying for products and services. Many mobile home repair contractors near you would accept payments via these electronic channels because they are generally faster, more secure and more convenient than cash payments. They are also easier to use for documentation purposes, unlike cash payments that typically require you to obtain and document physical receipts. However, you should always inform your mobile home contractor at the beginning of the project if digital payments are your preferred method of transacting business.