I don't know where to start. I own a small electrician franchise in Louisiana. Note that we are licensed and insured and have been here serving Louisiana for 15 plus years. We are dealing with the aftermath of yet another hurricane. There were many stories of price gouging and inflated prices being told.
I would like to give the perspective from a service company view. Every price in the area went up: gas was high, the price of copper almost tripled, and there was extreme competition amongst companies. Companies were offering our employees higher wages to get them to leave our company and work for them. In order to keep our employees, we had to give them substantial raises. We had to drive out of state to get some supplies. We had an enormous influx of out-of-state electricians come in and also compete for local work. The out-of-town companies were not licensed or insured and did not know the proper codes to do the work. We were left making repairs to the botched jobs that were done and could not be filed with the city (due to lack of license). We are still helping people seven years later try to fix problems from the work not being done properly. We charged fair prices and were never accused of price gouging. Post-Katrina was an extremely difficult time. I would hope that customers learned how important it is to hire local, licensed, and insured companies that know our codes to do their work. It is not worth saving a few dollars to hire the out-of-town workers and then have to rehire locals to fix their mistakes. Having to pay again for the repairs makes the costs the same if not more than if they would have just hired locals in the first place. Another issue with a small group of customers deals with insurance. Some customers requested that we do the work now and wait to get paid from their insurance. Some would keep the insurance money and never pay us. We then had to fight to get our money, and sometimes it was just not worth it. We have also learned a few lessons and no longer rely on receiving insurance money. I hope that this time with Isaac things will go smoother and everyone will benefit from past experience.