Imagine: It’s a beautiful summer day. The radio weatherman mentions something about a cold front coming in, but you shove that thought to the back of your head. It’s too nice out to worry about such things.
Later on that evening, you hear the wind pick up and the sound of rain as it starts to fall on your roof. Again, no worries. You enjoy the tranquil sounds of the incoming storm as it lulls you to sleep.
You awake in the middle of the night to a torrential downpour and high winds, but it’s not until the next morning that you see the full extent of the damage caused by the storm. Stepping outside, you see shingles lying on the ground, not only in your yard but all-around your neighborhood. This summertime storm has unfortunately damaged multiple properties in your community.
The scenario mentioned above is all too common and is just one of many examples of the havoc that inclement weather can wreak on your home’s roof.
After the damage is all said and done, we know you’ll want to get your roof fixed as soon as possible. We encourage you to be wary of advantageous individuals looking to make money off of your woes. Within our circle, these people are typically known as storm chasers. Here are a few rules of thumb on avoiding roofing scams after the storm has passed.
Avoid The Door Knockers
A seemingly decent passerby knocks on your door. He’s noticed your roof damage, and he knows just how to help. Your assurance in his abilities grows as the conversation continues. This guy really gets you and your situation! Here are some things he might say:
- We worked on a roof just down the road, and we have enough material leftover to do yours. We can give you a good discount if you’re interested.
- I can help you get a new roof for practically no cost to you!
- Don’t worry about talking to other roofers; we are the cheapest around!
- We can handle all of the details for you.
You get the idea. Even though you want your roof fixed quickly, it’s always a good idea to reach out to a locally known company. Don’t forget your insurance company as well; you can always contact them if you have a question.
Please don’t make a rash decision. Take your time and put some thought into it. Storm chasers will pressure you; they want you to sign up now so they can start work. They might tell you their offer is only good for one day only in an effort to get your signature. A reputable roofer isn’t going to knock on your door, pleading for you to start your roofing repairs immediately.
Stay Away From Contracts With Holes
Is there a pushy individual that wants you to sign a contract with a bunch of blanks? Send them packing. Those blanks allow them to alter your agreement after you sign it.
They might change things like pricing, materials, or other conditions that make the deal more favorable for them. After the work is finished, you won’t have any recourse against them because they have a signed contract!
It’s hard to believe that people can be that shady in this day and age, but it happens all the time!
Ask Them If They Are Bonded
By going with a bonded roofing contractor, you are protecting yourself. A bond is a contract that protects one party in the event that the agreed-upon work is not completed. Bonded contractors cost a little extra, but it may be worth it to you. Think of it as necessary insurance, protecting you and your assets.
These so-called storm chasers will probably not be bonded.
Say No To Large Lump Sums And Cash Payments
Is someone asking for a large payment upfront or offering a discount for a cash payment? Most reputable contractors only ask for a marginal upfront payment. Keep that in mind when someone is offering you a “deal” dependent upon your payment type.
Storm chasers often look for elderly individuals or people in need of immediate help. These individuals are often inexperienced and gullible when it comes to these matters. We hope that when one shows up, you’ll have read this and won’t become a victim. Don’t shell your hard-earned money on repairs that won’t be done correctly.
Bonus Tip: Always pay with check or credit card, keep a paper trail going that you can track! If something goes wrong or something isn’t done correctly, you’ll have the information needed to refute the charges.
Perhaps you’ve checked around with a few contractors, and you have one price, in particular, that is by far the lowest. Why would you want to avoid that? It goes against our very nature, but here’s what happens. That seemingly low price could very well end up as high or higher than your other estimates.
A lot of these fly by night contractors will “find” extra work in the form of damages, unforeseen costs, or necessary upgrades throughout your project. A few charges here and there may not seem like a big deal, but after a while, they definitely add up!
Research, Research, and Research More!
Make sure you check out any potential roofing contractors. Look online for reviews and check the Better Business Bureau for negative reviews.
Online reviews are a great indicator of a company’s past service record. When poking around, check out their Google My Business profile, website, and anywhere else you can, you can learn a lot this way.
Check to see what year their business was founded in as well. A lot of these companies are gone as quickly as they came. Look for someone who has been around awhile.
Ask them if they can provide any references, photos, or other materials that will attest to their validity. They can’t or won’t offer any? Your warning buzzer should be going crazy right now!
Check to see what state they are located in – are they not located near you? You can even take a peek at their license plates. Out of state plates are another dead giveaway that they aren’t local. You can always ask questions such as, “I noticed your company isn’t located in our state, what brings you here?”
Research is a POWERFUL tool. We know you want your roof repaired quickly, but we implore you to take the time to vet your roofing contractor properly. It’s well worth the effort.
Ask For Licenses And Insurance Information
Not just in this situation, but honestly, any case where significant repairs are needed, ask for this information. It’s a great way to separate the wheat from the chaff. Here are some reasons why:
- Licensing requires that a contractor meets minimum training expectations. You may be settling for lower quality work if you choose an unlicensed roofer.
- If they lack a license, they probably lack insurance as well. You do not want to be held liable for damages or injuries caused by them.
- It can be hard to hold them liable. A lot of companies can be hard to trace or often go in and out of business. It’s hard to file suit against a company that no longer exists.
When you choose a reputable local company, you can avoid this headache altogether.
Don’t Shake Hands
We don’t say this because of COVID-19 (well maybe partially), but rather to protect you. Oral agreements of any kind simply don’t hold any merit. As with any large project, you need a written list of the materials, labor, and repairs written down and signed by both parties.
You have an individual who was just “driving by” and noticed that your roof needed repair. It seems fishy, doesn’t it? A real contractor will never offer you services via a verbal agreement; they will insist upon a contract. It’s not only for your protection but theirs as well.
If someone refuses to provide you with this, there is probably a reason why. Protect you and your assets, don’t shake on things!
What Does This All Mean?
Unfortunately, roofers that storm chase are out there, and the trend doesn’t seem to be dwindling. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau have released warnings about these practices.
As the name indicates, these storm chasers literally follow the storms. They know there will be damage, and they know how to prey upon unassuming consumers. Smooth-talking and shoddy work is the mantra often associated with these shady people.
What They Do
They are in this to make a quick buck and don’t care about your well-being, your property, or local regulations. Their job is to get in and get out— they intend to get as much of your money as possible along the way. How do they do that? Here are a few ways:
- Quick work -They don’t take their time and cut corners, ultimately leaving you with a roof that may stand up to the test of time (or the weather). On average, these roofs only last five to seven years, much less than the industry standard.
- Cheap materials- Your roof isn’t something to be cheap with. Often, storm chasers will use low-grade materials that reputable roofers would not consider fit for use on any building.
- They know how to work the insurance companies. These individuals often have a great understanding of how insurance companies work, allowing them to collect a high payout for their work.
- As stated prior, they “find” extra damage. Often this damage either didn’t exist before or doesn’t exist at all. They make their small initial costs more extensive to you in the end and reap the monetary reward.
These companies will suddenly pop up after a storm. You’ll notice them in and around areas where storm damage may have occurred. Going door to door and handing out pamphlets, offering to check out roofs, and recommending repairs. Use the advice we have laid out above to recognize them. Don’t let a fast talker convince you into a shoddy or unneeded roof repair. Just like the storm, they will disappear as quickly as they came – leaving only poorly repaired roofs and disgruntled homeowners in their wake.
Find A Local Roofing Company
A roofing project requires major attention. Don’t settle for anything less than the best for your home. You need someone who doesn’t rush you, who works with your insurance company and looks out for your best interests, not their own. An excellent roofer will provide you with the following:
- A very detailed estimate
- Quality materials
- Quality work
- A warranty (on labor and materials)
- A hassle-free sales experience
They will not pressure you or make you feel rushed. They may have a few jobs ahead of yours, and this is okay. They have a solid customer base, a good reputation, and that keeps them busy. At a minimum, many are able to perform emergency repairs to ensure your roof doesn’t sustain further damage (from leaks, etc.) until they can get out to complete the whole job. A good local roofer can help you with insurance claims. This isn’t the same as with the storm chasers; these individuals are acting in your best interest. They have experience with insurance companies as well, but they want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
Get The Help You Need
When a storm damages your roof, you need quality help. At (insert company name here), we are dedicated to helping you get the repairs you need. Here are some reasons why our customers choose us time and time again:
- We are friendly – Our staff is here to serve you. We want you to have an enjoyable, hassle-free experience.
- We are experienced – With (insert number of years) years under our belt, you can rest peacefully knowing your repairs are completed with expert attention to detail and abounding quality.
- We are licensed and insured, and all work is performed by thoroughly vetted individuals who adhere to local and national roofing standards.
Whether you need repairs or a new roof, we are here to help. Give us a call anytime. You’ll be glad you did.