Roofing Contractor Scams to Avoid
While the vast majority of roofing contractors are honest, hardworking and experienced professionals, the roof replacement industry is a $22 million industry and therefore is sure to attract some shady characters. So while you’re on the hunt for a great contractor, make sure you are checking references, contracts and looking for these common scams.
- “I need the money upfront”: Be weary of roofing contractors who claim that they need the money upfront before agreeing to replace the roof. These individuals will say that they need the down payment to purchase materials such as tiles and shingles, or even to pay for labor, but most often this isn’t the case. Most legitimate roofing companies will have enough resources to perform the job without asking you for the money first. In some cases, an authentic roofer may ask you to put down $1,000 upfront, since this is the legal amount that allows a serious customer-contractor relationship to exist. Some roofing scammers will also try to convince you to sign over your insurance check as an initial payment. Bottom line: never pay a roofing company until supplies and services have been delivered.
- “It doesn’t need to go into the contract”: EVERYTHING needs to be in the contract. No matter how small the detail or how much you trust the contractor, make sure every agreement is in writing. Many contractors put up a front at first or offer their own special touches, like a higher quality roofing material, to entire projects that make the deal seem too good to be true. And often, it usually is. Those added details or jobs that suddenly aren’t being built into your home will cost you extra because the contractor will give you the option of pony up more or live without them.
- “You provide the permit”: Your local and state governments will require you to obtain a building permit for any sort of roofing or home renovation project on your property. However, this is your contractor’s job; it has been and always will be. They will try and say that authorities will not notice so it’s not necessary, which is extremely illegal, or that you should get your own permit on your own. While getting your own permit is possible and has been done by do-it-yourself-ers, it makes you responsible for all safety hazards and inspections. Being the one accountable for something like a roofing project is a risky option, as you are not the one working and the job is done on a high slope or pitch.
- “There were some unanticipated problems”: This can occur at any stage in the game and is contingent upon you being a passive customer. The contractor will come to you claiming he found mold or mildew damage under the shingles or a bump in your roof deck, which requires extra labor and therefore money. The price is often a huge sum, much higher than what the average cost of a roof should be. Don’t be a submissive person here. Before the roofing contractor restarts the project, call in a home inspector from your local building department, who will confirm the problem and check the accuracy of the requested price. An extra step to protect yourself from this is to include a “change of orders” section in the original contract, which outlines any estimates for unexpected problems the contractor has found in the past in similar homes.
- “Hi, I’m _______ and I can offer you a great bargain!”: Many contractors have gotten their start by going door-to-door, but a reputable one will have other ways of obtaining customers, such as references and a strong online presence. Never sign a contract on the spot and if you believe the door-to-door contractor represents a valid roofing company, ask for a couple referrals and a contractor’s license. An additional resource you can use is the BBB, which can either confirm it is a trusted company or inform you of a dishonest contractor in your or surrounding areas.
Advanced Window Systems would be honored to install or repair your next roof! Call us today at 860-829-8044 for a FREE in-home estimate!