It might be time to look for a licensed roof inspector if you need to repair or replace your roof. Maybe it’s damaged or worn or it’s at the end of its life. Or maybe you’ve experienced a bad storm or another natural disaster.
Most homeowners know that choosing a roofer involves reviewing the contractor’s qualifications, the services offered, and asking detailed questions about why its services should be hired over others in the marketplace.
However, despite the fact most roofers are hard workers, there are still roofing scams to watch out for. With the following scams in mind, you can stay alert and make sure your home roofing project is a success.
A Licensed Roof Inspector Has a License and Insurance
It’s important to find out if your state requires roofers to have licenses. Obtain a copy of the contractor’s license and liability insurance. Hiring a contractor without the right license or insurance is a bad idea.
Overblown or Farfetched Damage
Your roof might not need the work a contractor says it does if he or she exaggerate the damage they assess. In some cases, roofers intentionally damage a roof during a free inspection so they can charge more for the entire job. A reputable and licensed roof inspector wouldn’t do this.
Find out if a roofer is legitimate by checking online reviews. Do some personal investigation by researching what the damage is, how it happened, and how to fix it after the roof inspector leaves. If you’re going to hire a contractor, get at least one more opinion.
You Might Receive the Lowest Bid Ever
If a contractor gives you a lower estimate than other contractors, it’s probably too good to be true. The price of a project usually increases over the life of the job if a contractor bids low at the very beginning.
Make sure you get at least three bids on your roof project so you can compare prices. Ask roofers what they plan to fix or replace, and make sure you receive detailed and specific information. Be sure you have a contract outlining any possible price changes from your licensed roof inspector, as well as the terms for those changes in advance.
Be Alert to ‘Cash Only’ Services
Any contractor who asks for cash payment — or offers a discount for cash payment — should be avoided. You’re at risk of losing your money if a contractor takes your cash payment upfront and leaves the job without doing any work.
A Licensed Roof Inspector is Not a ‘Storm Tracker’
Some roofers chase storms, which means they go to areas hit by severe weather to drum up business. Sometimes called “storm trackers” or “storm chasers,” they offer free roof inspections after noticing roof damage. There’s a chance this type of roofer says he or she is working on another roof in your neighborhood. It’s not unusual for a storm chaser to collect a down payment or do poor work (or both) and then leave town before getting fully paid (or finishing the entire job for that matter).
Roofers who approach homeowners by going door to door should be vetted. Most successful roofing contractors don’t knock on doors. After a storm, your first call should be to your insurance company. You’ll be told what your insurance will cover by an adjuster. After that, you can search for a licensed roof inspector and contractor whom you can trust.
Permits are Required from the Homeowner
Permits should always be secured by a contractor — not a homeowner. Roofers who ask homeowners to pull permits may not be eligible, or they have worn out their welcome at the permit office.
Supplies at a Discount
Sometimes contractors will give you a discount if you use “leftover” or discarded materials. There’s no guarantee these “special deals” will last for decades. Consider getting quotes from at least three roofers and researching the materials and supplies they use.
A Licensed Roof Inspector Drafts Legitimate Contracts
Make sure you find a different contractor if your roofer wants to do the work without a contract. You’re protected from price increases and no-show jobs with a contract. It outlines the work line-item by line-item and how the work will be paid.
Roofers and other contractors who pressure you to sign a contract should be viewed with some skepticism, though there are specific exceptions to this rule. After a national shift in the economy or commodity prices, the cost of materials can fluctuate, or sometimes they’ll only be available for a short period. You should still get other estimates before signing anything. When it comes to hiring a licensed roof inspector, make sure you’re confident.
Down Payment is Unreasonably Large
You might be scammed by a contractor who asks for a big down payment. They could just be trying to get your money. Make sure the contractor outlines payment terms in a contract and asks for a reasonable down payment, not an unreasonably large one. Typically, a down payment is 12 – 15 percent or less of the total amount for the entire job (materials, labor, and fees combined).
Hard to Find Reviews or an Online Presence
Online reviews and the company’s location should be easy to find regarding your roofing contractor or licensed roof inspector. Do a search on reputable consumer organization websites to see if anyone has complained.
Fraudulent Insurance claims
It’s possible a contractor is trying to commit insurance fraud if he or she wants you to sign over an insurance check. It’s not worth accepting a “deal” with a roofer who will allegedly charge you less. It would be insurance fraud if a contractor took the larger payment from the insurance company and pocketed the extra money.
It’s also a red flag if a contractor wants you to sign an assignment of benefits document, where the contractor can file an insurance claim on your behalf (so he or she can commit insurance fraud).
Make sure you stay in touch with your insurance company from start to finish so you know what’s covered and how much your contractor should receive. Start your process with the right information from an insurance company, as well as hiring a trustworthy local licensed roof inspector.
Don’t Forget About Warranties
Going beyond hiring a licensed roof inspector and not getting scammed, you should also make sure your warranty is good. The difference between workmanship warranties and standard and extended warranties on your roof can be confusing. Knowing all your options is the key to making a good decision about your long-term roofing material, even though it can feel overwhelming at first.
Don’t get too caught up in warranties when choosing a new roof. Pick a quality type of shingle and a reliable contractor. Find a roofing estimate near you, and learn about the details behind price per-square-foot. Make sure the warranty on your roof is transferrable, too. If you’re selling your house, a transferable roof warranty can be nice.
Keystone Roofing and Siding
Keystone Roofing and Siding is here to educate consumers and homeowners about licensed roof inspector benefits and so much more. Please contact us with your questions or to set up an appointment.