Winter and colder weather will be here before too long, and that may have you feeling anxious about replacing your roof that was damaged from a summer storm. Beware, fraudulent roofers prey on vulnerable homeowners. If you are cautious and do your homework, you can avoid being taken advantage of by a roofing company.
Here are some things to be aware of when selecting a company to replace your roof:
Be leery of a door-to-door salesman. They can actually be involved in a common scam that targets neighborhoods with many senior citizens or older homes that have recently been hit by a big storm. The scammer will offer a free inspection and once on your roof may fabricate damage or produce a picture of damage that isn’t on your roof. You should not sign any paperwork with a roofing company before your insurance adjustor has inspected the roof first and determined there is damage.
Avoid doing business with storm chasers. These scammers will arrive from out-of-town to an area that has been recently hit with a significant wind or hail storm. Their tactic is to perform the bare minimum, replacing the damaged roof quickly with a cheap roof and ignoring other potential problems. This is a problem for homeowners because these roofs typically don’t last long, and the storm chaser is no longer available and in the area to make any repairs. Do your research. Ask for license and insurance, and make sure the company is an established, local company with an office in town.
Don’t be pressured. Often a high-pressure salesman will visit unannounced and promise a deal that sounds too good to be true. They will pressure homeowners to sign a contract and make a down payment before getting estimates from other companies. Don’t be rushed into making any decisions until you have done your research.
Some scammers will bid the job much lower than other companies, only to add more costs after the job has started. They will claim to discover additional, unforeseen damage, and continue to add more costs until you end of paying much more than the agreed upon estimate. The cost of materials should not rise after the job has been started. Ask for an estimate that includes the total cost of labor and materials, including the potential cost for decking if damage is discovered after work has begun.
Do your homework before making a down payment with a company. Some roofing companies may ask for a down payment before doing any work so materials can be purchased. Once a scammer receives the money, either cash or a signed insurance check, they never return to do the job. Be cautious about making any payment to a roofing company before supplies are delivered to your home.
Unless your roof is leaking, be patient and do your homework before rushing into an arrangement with a less-than-reputable roofing contractor. A roof is a major investment in your home, and working with a qualified, local contractor is essential in ensuring a quality job.