Your roof is one of, if not the single most important elements of your home. When something happens to it (be it hail damage, leaks, or it needs completely replaced), you may feel panicked to get it repaired quickly. Yes, taking care of the issue promptly is important, but it also makes you susceptible to getting involved with some, well…less-than-trustworthy contractors. Most people don’t have extensive knowledge of roofing, and unfortunately, there are “contractors” who take advantage of this. Make yourself familiar with these common roofing scams before making any decisions, and then check out our tips for choosing the right contractor.
- The Door-to-Door Salesman. This kind of roofing scam begins with someone showing up at your door unannounced and offering a free roof inspection. He or she will get up on the roof and either fabricate damage or show you pictures of another roof with damage, claiming it’s yours. These salesmen are trained to sell hard and manipulate homeowners, especially senior citizens. While there are some (not many, though) honest roofing companies that utilize a door-to-door selling technique, a good rule of thumb is to simply decline if anyone shows up at your door offering a free inspection.
- The Down Payment. Some roofing scams occur when a contractor agrees to replace a roof, but requires a down payment before work begins. Once the money is handed over, the contractor disappears, and the check is never seen again. This technique is used in all different kinds of scams, not just roofing. Honest contractors will usually not require a down payment (and if they do it should be a small amount). Unless you plan on becoming a victim of fraud, never pay for more than a third of the job upfront.
- The Storm Chaser. These scammers travel the country and prey on areas recently hit by major storms. They’ll approach homeowners about storm damage and promise a new roof at a low cost. The scammer will do the bare minimum to install a low-quality roof, and the homeowner will end up needing a new one in just a few years. Many victims of this scam will experience issues soon after replacement, but the company “vanishes” after construction.
- The Rising Price. In this roofing scam, the contractor will initially offer inexperienced homeowners a very low price for a new roof. Mid-construction, the homeowner is told the price of materials has gone up, or other unforeseen costs arise, and the scammer will demand more money than originally agreed upon. Roofing materials do fluctuate in price, but legitimate contractors are made aware of this weeks before the price changes. A jump in the cost of materials is the roofing company’s responsibility, not the homeowner’s. Always make sure prices are specifically addressed in any contract you sign.
To avoid becoming a roofing scam victim, follow these tips:
- Get word-of-mouth recommendations from people you trust. Learn from the roofing experiences of your friends and family.
- Get multiple estimates. Familiarize yourself with typical and average costs of the roofing work you need to be done.
- Check with the state to make sure the contractor has proper licensing and permits.
- Get everything in writing. Read over contracts carefully and never sign a contract with blank spaces.
- Do your own background check. Research the company online and ask for local references. Legitimate companies usually have some sort of online presence and will list a real address and phone number.
The threat of roofing scams is very real, especially after the recent storms in Nebraska. Do your research and be aware of the sketchy tactics some of these scammers use. For honest, reliable home exterior services, trust the experts at Blackstone Exteriors, where we’re committed to quality service, continuing education, and the community around us!