If you are a homeowner looking at repairing or replacing your roof, the many tasks relating to this undertaking – managing insurance claims, scheduling inspections, and selecting a roofing contractor – can be daunting. When you add the financial investment involved, the entire process can be downright stressful for anyone, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
As a second-generation renovation and roofing contractor, we’ve seen more than our share of scams aimed at well-intentioned homeowners. Sometimes the tactics used go beyond the obvious “too good to be true” schemes that might cause you to pause before signing a contract or handing over a check.
Because we hate to see anyone fall prey to these types of roofing schemes, we’ve compiled a list of some things to be on the lookout for if you are faced with a roof repair or replacement for your home.
- The Storm-Chaser Door Knocker. The storm has barely subsided when you hear a knock on your door. Outside, driving an unmarked vehicle with out of state plates, you meet the contractor who can solve your immediate roofing problem. What luck! They may offer a free roof inspection, or tell you they’ve already done one, and with a simple down payment, they would be happy to add you to their immediate repair schedule since they are already doing work nearby. No time to wait or call your insurance company!
You should know that reputable roofing contractors typically don’t solicit door-to-door. Your first call following storm damage should be to your insurance agent to assess damage and if necessary, file a claim. If there is damage that needs emergency attention (as in water entering the home through a hole in your roof), you can always contact emergency roofing repair contractors with an established reputation in your area. That is always the safer bet.
- The Lowest Bid Angle. Of course, you will be concerned about the cost of the total repair or replacement to your roof. However, an extremely low bid is a red flag that often leads to down-stream upcharges or additional costs that happen once the project is underway. Getting at least three bids is always a good rule of thumb and you should always get a detailed itemization of exactly what the bid covers. There should be no surprise “gotchas” when it comes to your roofing services.
- The “We Require Payment Upfront” or the Large Down Payment Scam.
Reputable roofing contractors don’t require you to pay large sums of money up front or to pay in full before the work is completed. If they request this as a condition of their service, walk away. A reasonable down payment is typically 15% or less of the total project price.
- The “This Deal is Only Good Today” Incentive. High pressure sales really have no place in making the important decision about who will provide roofing services. There is no reputable contractor who will ask you to sign a contract on the spot as a means to guarantee a price or to get on their schedule. Take your time to be certain you have the best roofing contractor for your needs.
- The “What Else We Found” Damage Assessment. We can’t imagine providing an estimate for work that either really doesn’t need done or was “hidden damage” that will now cost you more than you originally agreed to pay. Don’t even get us started on those “free inspections” that lead to damage that didn’t exist prior to their stepping foot on your roof. Unscrupulous contractors will do just about anything to make a buck.
- The “We’ll Need You to Buy the Permits” Scheme. Any contractor – roofing or otherwise – who asks you to buy the permits to save money or their time should be avoided. Either they aren’t eligible to apply for a permit, or they have unsatisfactory reports on file at the permit office. Big red flag.
- The Inferior Materials Method. Just think how much you could save if your contractor used discount or “leftover” materials from another job? These types of “deals” rarely result in quality outcomes. You should know what kinds of materials your roofing contractor plans to use and take the time to research the average costs, durability and value of these materials before you agree to have them used on your roof.
- The “We Don’t Need Insurance” Issue. While not all states require roofing contractors to be licensed, they should, at a minimum, have contractor’s liability insurance. If they can’t produce proof of insurance, walk away.
- The “Sign Over the Insurance Check” Scam. If a roofer offers to pay your insurance deductible or asks you to just sign over the check you received as compensation for damage, you may be looking at a scammer who is engaging in insurance fraud. A contractor asking you to Assign Benefits (AoB) from the get-go may also be committing some shady behind the scenes activity. Staying in close contact with your insurance company and following their recommended procedures regarding claims, deductibles, payments and roofing expenses is always the safest route.
We realize that dealing with repairing or replacing a roof isn’t especially enjoyable to some folks. While we aim to change this perception one roof at a time, the fact is that there are plenty of unscrupulous contractors pushing quick, low-cost repair schemes that promise a “cheaper, faster, less time-consuming” path to a new or repaired roof. These offers may seem like a good idea on the surface but can actually end up costing more in the long run and create real problems for homeowners hoping to resolve their roofing problems, not create additional ones.
Before you sign on the dotted line with any roofing contractor, make sure you take the necessary time to do your research. Any reason for doubt, even a feeling in the pit of your stomach, should be enough to encourage you to put a finger on the pause button. Alte Exteriors has worked hard to earn the respect as a trusted service provider throughout Northern and Central New Jersey. But don’t take our word for it! We encourage you to read our customer testimonials, check out our Google Business reviews and view examples of our work. We are here for you when you need us. Call 908-829-6033.