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Downed trees. Leaking roofs. Broken gutters. Blown-over fences. Across the region, homes, yards and businesses took a beating during the past weeks' flood of storms.

The heavy rains also created another kind of deluge: hurried calls to repair companies, everyone from roofers and tree removers to fence builders and general contractors.

"We've been hit hard the last four days: trees breaking on lawns, trees breaking on patios, trees breaking on houses. In the past week, it's tripled our calls," said Terry Stevens, general manager of Tree Tech Services in Sacramento.

At All About Gutters in Auburn, spokeswoman Michele Neeb said service calls always spike the week after a storm, when homeowners go outside to assess the damage. "Most people wait till after a storm passes, then we get a flood of calls."

And given all the rain-delayed work that couldn't get started in recent weeks, Monday's sunny skies were a chance to start getting caught up with postponed jobs.

"We're playing catch-up," said Neeb, who's been re-booking delayed jobs and scheduling new repair work.

For companies whose work is primarily outdoors, stormy weather is a two-edged sword, said Dave Zimmerman, owner of Zimmerman Re-Roofing Inc. in Sacramento. "When it's raining, we can't work, so it hurts business. But in the long run, storms lead to roof leaks and you get lots more calls for repairs."

Before making those calls, dozens of savvy consumers are doing their homework, checking the licensing credentials of contractors and home repair people.

Last Thursday, when rainfall and high winds walloped the area, a record number of inquiries flooded into the local Better Business Bureau office in West Sacramento. It logged 1,020 calls and online hits in one day, for lookups of contractors or companies handling repairs or removal of roofs, fences, gutters, awnings/patios and trees, said BBB spokeswoman Katie Robison.

"It's astonishing. We had more inquiries in one day than we had the entire previous week" for those types of repair services, Robison said. "We're grateful people actually looked up or called about contractors before hiring them to get the work done."

The BBB advises consumers to check a company's complaint history and overall rating before getting bids or hiring for repair work. To check a company, call the BBB at (916) 443-6843 or go to the website,

Similarly, the Contractors State License Board also saw a spike in license searches for contractors and home improvement salespeople. Last week, as the rain poured down, the CSLB's website averaged 65,000 license checks a day, compared with 55,000 daily hits the prior week.

"We urge consumers to be really careful. Before they call anybody, check the contractor's license so they don't bring someone out to the house who's not licensed," said CSLB spokesman Rick Lopes

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Cliff Cottam Insurance Services is your local independent agency, specializing in personal products such as homeowners  and auto insurance.  You will receive a multiple discount if we insure your auto and home (owned or rented).  Let us find out if we can save you money today.  Give us a call at (800) 807-6871.

Posted 5:04 PM

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