Watch out for storm clean up crews with no county business license

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News12 at 6 o'clock/ Feb. 19, 2014

Augusta,Ga (WRDW)---Augusta's Planning and Development Department is sending a strong warning tonight. Make sure any company you hire to cleanup storm damage has a Richmond County Business license.

The Marshall's office, Code Enforcement Agents and even Richmond County Deputies are out writing tickets to contractors who don't. We're on your side with something leaders say -- you need to know.

You can't help but notice all the cleanup that's going on. We found companies here from Atlanta, Texas and even as far as Minnesota. "For example, you called in six company names that you have seen in the area. Of those names that you called in only one has a Richmond County business license," said Planning Development Director Melanie Wilson.

Authorities are out looking for clean up crews without a Richmond County Business license.
We found some as well.

GTS tree service doesn't have a Richmond County Business license. Bartlett tree service does.
Arbor Equity brought in Downey Trees from Atlanta and neither had a local license.

Arbor Equity just purchased one after we told him it was illegal to do work in Richmond County without having a business license.

"Be thrifty with it, ask for receipts, and don't give them all they are asking for," said Dred.

Dred had a run-in with scammers. "Two or three days later they show up. I caught one in my garage taking all the supplies, I had bought. He threw them in the back of his truck and drove off," said Dred.

Melanie Wilson is Director of Planning and Development. She says homeowners need to be proactive.

Homeowners should put everything in writing, make sure businesses are licensed, insured and bonded. The company needs a building permit for construction work.

Call the Augusta Planning and development if you have questions at (706) 821-1796.

"We are the department which makes sure the company's bonds are in place and their insured. We help protect the homeowner," said Wilson.

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