Homeowners face different kinds of roofing scams throughout the year, and, unfortunately, many still fall for them despite warnings from industry authorities and professionals. It’s hard to blame a lot of the homeowners though because they are often attacked at their most vulnerable: while dealing with roofing damage after a storm.
To protect yourself and your home, it’s important to be vigilant and know when not to trust a roofing “contractor.” in this post, you’ll learn how to spot fake roofers so you can say no to them.
The Warning Signs
As a homeowner, you are automatically a target in the eyes of unscrupulous, fake roofers. This is why it is your responsibility to learn how to spot scammers whose sole intention is to rip you off and take advantage of situations wherein you are in dire need of a roofer. Here are some of the telltale signs that a contractor is anything but legit:
Fake or unreliable roofers often come knocking at your door out of nowhere, even if you didn’t call for a roofing service. They will offer–or rather, insist on inspecting your roof, highlighting that it’s free and you’ve got nothing to lose. However, the problem comes when they find a problem, which they will, of course. And once they present their findings, they will sweet-talk, if not pressure a homeowner, into getting their roofing “service.”
While at first it may seem good of the roofer to visit customers personally, this is not how the business works. Reputable roofing companies usually rely on customers to find them, not the other way around.
Appears After a Storm
Storms and other destructive weather conditions may leave roofs damaged. Fake roofers know this all too well so they’ll try to take advantage of the situation by making rounds after a big storm hits an area. They will pose as a helping hand, offering to help you through insurance claims and getting your roof repaired without hassle. This may sound convenient, but before doing business with any contractor, make sure they are truly local by asking and checking for a physical address and working phone number.
Asks for Payment Upfront
When a roofer demands a large down payment or even expects you to make the full payment upfront, it’s time to worry. Fake roofers usually do this and when they do, they don’t issue official receipts as proof. Worse, they will pull a Houdini and disappear with your money after doing little or no work.
Having enough money to fund the initial costs of a roofing project is a sign of a stable business. It’s not unheard of for roofers to require a down payment, especially when special materials will be used, but down payment amounts should NEVER go beyond what the state allows.
Quotes Suspiciously Low
Cliche as it may be, but if the offer is too good to be true, then it probably is. You should remember that quality work comes at a (reasonable) price. Fake roofers usually use this tactic to lure you into getting their services, so be careful. Even if you need your roof to get worked on immediately, you still need to find the time to ask around and do your research regarding the average price of a roof job.
Provides Incomplete Contract
With a job as huge and important as a roofing project, everything must be put into writing. Fake roofers usually provide incomplete estimates and contracts, promising to just fill in the blanks later on. An incomplete contract means there may be important specifics that will be missed. Furthermore, unreliable contractors may include unacceptable terms in the blanks later, after you have already signed!
Aside from making sure that the contract you are signing is complete, you should also remember not to sign anything unless you fully agree with the terms and conditions. If there is something that you do not understand, don’t hesitate to talk to your roofer for clarifications.
Conspires with You Against Your Insurance Company
If a roofer hints to give a fraudulent quote to over-charge the insurance company and tries to persuade you that this will benefit you, take a step back. No decent roofer will ever resort to fraud. If one practices such, how can you be sure they aren’t fooling you as well, right?
Dealing with roofing damage will have you wanting immediate fixes but don’t fall prey to fake roofers. Proper roofing professionals can provide emergency services anyway so your roof can get the attention it needs right away without putting you at risk. To help you get started on finding a reputable roofer in your area, ask your friends and family for recommendations.
Jon Fleming is one of the second-generation family business owners of Vinylume Home Improvement, managing the business alongside his brother Don. Upon graduation from college, Jon worked eight years as a reporter in New York City and Albany, NY, before rejoining the company. Today, he is the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, writing to share his industry experience and knowledge when not busy with work. For updates from Jon, check out the company blog!