Roofing contractor scams are real and may potentially cost you thousands of dollars. Scammers may come to you after a storm claiming that the roof is damaged even though it is not. Even if your roof is damaged, the scammers may claim to fix it or request a large amount of cash up front, without actually making any repairs.
You also need to watch out for contractors that appear too eager and offer to deal directly with the claims adjuster or insurance company. Once the fake contractor is paid by the insurance company, they might simply take the money and disappear. It is advisable to contact your insurance provider before you assign any benefits to the roofing contractor directly.
Here Are 7 Tips for Avoiding Getting Scammed by Roofing Contractors
- Take Pictures Immediately
Door-to-door scam roofing contractors will attempt to offer you a free inspection after a storm passes. The scammers will then show you pictures of a different home or even go up there and cause damage even when there’s none. They might even make the existing damage worse. The aim is to try to get as much money as possible out of you.
The best way to avoid such scammers is to know the exact state of your roof after a storm by taking pictures once the weather clears. If you tell the scammers that you already have pictures of your roof, they will usually go away.
- Ignore Roofing Contractors That Contact You Unsolicited
Roofing scams are often operated by people that are not actually roofing contractors. However, in many cities, all that’s required to be certified as a contractor is registration. Simply put, just about anyone can call himself a roofing contractor.
If the ‘roofing contractor’ has out-of-state license plates, offers you a really cheap deal, shows up with a relative, be very cautious. Not only can just about anyone become certified as a contractor, but anybody can get a logo painted on a truck in many places. The best advice here is to avoid hiring a roofing contractor that shows up unannounced at your door.
- Avoid Roofing Contractors That Show Up Immediately After a Storm
The sad reality is that some unscrupulous storm chasers love knocking on doors hours after a serious storm passes. Even if your roof has giant holes, you must never give money to somebody who shows up at your door claiming to be a roofer.
It is important to avoid giving money to roofing contractors that show up immediately after a storm since it is highly likely that they will disappear never to be seen or heard from ever again. If you are facing such a situation, the first step should be to call your insurance provider and a reputable roofing contractor.
- Avoid Roofing Contractors That Bid Considerably Lower Than Their Competitors
It is often said that if anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This applies to roofing contractors too. Price is just one of the many considerations when choosing a roofing contractor. Ensure that you don’t have to pay more later by hiring an uninsured contractor, a contractor that performs substandard work, or leaves once the storms do.
It is important to realize that a bid that’s far below that of other contractors is an indicator that the roofing materials being used are either of substandard quality, didn’t estimate roof materials cost or worse still are stolen goods, which can lead to legal problems. The best thing is to avoid hiring a roofing contractor that bids considerably lower than their competitors.
- Researching Potential Roofing Contractors
The Internet has made it easy to build a list of trustworthy roofing contractors in your area. Look for local contractors with a good reputation, verifiable company address, proven work experience, and qualified/experienced employees.
Start your search at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to find accredited companies in your area and read the company histories and reviews. Once you have a short list of potential contractors, do further research on consumer review websites along with each company’s social media accounts and website. Researching potential roofing contractors is one of the best ways to protect yourself from roofing scams!
- Get a Contract and Estimate in Writing
A reputable roofing contractor will only give you contracts and estimates in writing. A clear sign of a scammer is a non-existent or vague contract to describe the details of the costs involved, the work to be expected, and the materials to be used.
A good roofing contractor should provide very detailed information and free estimates since they want you to understand exactly what to expect. The documentation lists the types of materials to be used, work dates, work specifics, cost breakdown, and your warranty on labor and materials used.
- Understand Your Rights
Disreputable roofing contractors will tell you that you have to put a down payment on the roofing job. However, this should never be done. A reputable contractor offers a detailed, written estimate and contract that you sign, and then the work starts.
It is also important to be wary of contractors that keep changing the contract’s terms or asking for additional money for things such as materials. A reputable roofing contractor will factor in fluctuations in the prices of materials before giving you the quote.
If you sign a contract, the law gives you 3 days in which you can back out, without any consequences. However, this is something that you will never hear from a scam roofing contractor.
The Bottom Line
Today’s world is full of scams and scammers and the roofing industry is no exception. Fortunately, you can do something to protect yourself. The 7 tips discussed here will help protect you from being scammed by a roofing contractor.
A little common sense, research, and face-to-face meeting with potential contractors will go a long way towards getting the service and quality you want and deserve. So, the next time you have a roofing project, keep in mind all the things discussed here to protect yourself from roofing scams and scammers.