Fly-by-night roofers often crawl out of the woodwork after natural disasters. These companies may promise fast fixes or require large down payments. Sometimes, the roofers don’t hold proper licensing, leaving customers with dangerous products. Homeowners can easily be taken advantage of if they don’t know how to spot common scams perpetrated by bad companies.
How to Identify Second-Rate Companies
Scammers often follow a standard set of procedures to gain business from unsuspecting customers. After a natural disaster, homeowners are vulnerable and looking to fix their homes quickly and cost-effectively. Fly-by-night home repair companies understand this and frequently take advantage of homeowners. Below are a few common scams executed by shady companies.
Requiring Large Down Payments
Scammers often require large sums of money upfront to “secure services.” Unfortunately, they often skip town with the money. If a contractor visits your home promising to perform services, never pay the full amount upfront. The full payment should only be exchanged when work is complete, and you have received the correct services.
Covering Problems Instead of Fixing
A legitimate roofing company will diagnose a problem, then work to fix it. Inferior roofing companies may save themselves money by performing cosmetic fixes only. Deepwater damage to the roof and rafters could go unfixed, leading to rot problems down the road.
Offering to Pay the Insurance Deductible
As an incentive to homeowners, second-rate companies sometimes offer to pay homeowner deductibles. While not necessarily unethical, this practice should raise red flags. Reliable, established companies won’t need to bribe customers for business.
Causing Intentional Damage or Overstating the Problem
Dishonesty about damage and problems is a common tactic of corrupt companies. Some workers have been known to create damage while on your roof. Homeowners have reported the workers removing shingles, denting roofing, or creating bald spots to create damage. Then, the workers present a list of the problems to homeowners with an offer of repairs. Companies have also been known to report deep water damage where none existed, then charging customers for the repair.
Sometimes, fake companies will show up at your doorstep, claiming to be from an insurance company. They will then offer to evaluate your roofing situation and give a quote for repairs. Never trust someone’s identity without proper identification. If the visitor refuses to provide identification to prove themselves, call the police.
How to Find a Legitimate Roofing Contractor
Before signing a contract or allowing any company to perform work on your home, do your own research. Ask for recommendations from family and friends. Research can also be performed online to see company reviews. To find a legitimate roofer, there are a few steps to take.
Legitimate companies will have professional websites, full of information. Fly-by-night contractors typically don’t have any websites or online reviews. Visit the company’s website to ensure they are well-established and legitimate. The Better Business Bureau is also a high-quality online resource to check.
The roofing company you choose should be extremely knowledgeable in the field. Ask the contractor questions and be sure you’re satisfied with the answers. Skilled workers from a legitimate company will be able to tell you exactly what is wrong with your roof, the process, and timeline for repair.
License, Insurance, and Bonding
Every roofing contractor should have a proper roofing license and insurance. Every state has different rules for contracting licenses, so be sure to research yours. Licensing shows the roofers are professionally trained and have proper expertise in the field. Insurance is required of roofing companies to cover any problems that might arise. The liability coverage ensures if one of the workers falls off your roof during repairs, you won’t be sued.
Questions to Ask a Roofing Company
Once you have narrowed the search to a few good contractors, call the company. Here are a few questions to ask:
- Can I see proof of license and insurance?
- When will I owe the first payment?
- What is the warranty?
- How many years have you been in business?
- Can you provide me with past customer references?
Each person you speak to should be professional, polite, and knowledgeable about the business. Rude or unprofessional interactions are a good indicator of things to come, so find a different company. The same is true when the company visits your home to perform an estimate. When you need a trusted roofing contractor with over 30 years of business and an A+ BBB Rating, call Able Roof. We will come out a perform a free roof inspection and guide you every step of the way. Often times when storm damage occurs your insurance company will cover the replacement of your roof. We work with your insurance company to ensure you get the best roof possible and hold your insurance company accountable. Click here to learn more about or roofing services and browse our special offers.