If you find yourself in a spot where you need roof repair or replacement, it’s critical to know how to avoid roofing scams. Yes, it’s true; roofing scams run rampant, especially after large storms where homeowners who incurred roof damage and are left vulnerable as they need repairs done quickly. That’s when the scammers swoop in.
So we are going to help you not only avoid roofing scams but to spot them from a mile away. When it comes to your roof, you want your repairs done by a trustworthy, reputable contractor. Here’s how to make sure that happens.
The Most Common Types of Roofing Scams
There are roofing scams that frequently happen enough to where we know how to spot them right away. These are the most common scammer tactics you might see for roof repairs.
Storm chasers do just that: they will go to an area struck by a strong storm and start knocking on doors offering their services. This is because these contractors are there for a quick buck and are often from out of town, which has also given the name “fly-by-night” contractors. They swoop in offering deals on roof repairs, but they do it fast and get out of there, never to be seen again.
The biggest problem with these storm chasers is that they will knock homeowners while they’re already down. They will fool homeowners into thinking their roof was damaged, whether it was or not, and will take advantage of the situation to offer you a new roof or roof repairs at a steal of a deal. They may even get your insurance company involved and tell you that if you file a claim with insurance, they can actually give a better deal and will handle the rest for you. This is a BIG RED FLAG.
These contractors haven’t even inspected your roof, yet are telling you you need repairs right away, from them, at a low cost. So when this happens, make sure you don’t fall for their tactics. Call a legitimate local contractor for an inspection.
Homeowners need to be very skeptical of any contractors offering to handle their insurance claim and especially if they offer to cover your deductible, plus offer a “free” incentive in addition. This scam means the contractor will “cover your deductible” by charging you less, paying the deductible, and charging the insurance company more than the work they did. That extra they get paid from the insurance company is profit for them and cash in their pockets. Homeowners should always have a hand in the insurance claim and keep track of how much is approved and how much the service is for. If a contractor ever offers to pay your deductible in full for you—run.
There are many reasons why a contractor without a license is a red flag. First, a handful of states do not require roofers to be licensed: Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming. So if you don’t live in one of these states, then an unlicensed roofer means they are either roofing illegally, or are a fly-by-night storm chaser contractor from out of state.
Also, licensed roofing contractors carry liability insurance and other insurance coverage to ensure a safe and protected roofing installation. Hiring a licensed contractor also means you can expect good workmanship, higher quality materials, and ethical practices. Roofers who aren’t licensed haven’t been vetted to prevent these things and should be avoided.
Asking for Full Payment Upfront
Roofing contractors should not be asking for the full payment upfront before they begin work. This should be a big red flag that they are doing something sketchy. Some contractors may ask for small down payment upfront, to cover the cost of some materials, but the full cost of labor and everything should never be charged until the job is complete. Things can come up as roofers work on your roof, and if they were already paid for the job, then they have no incentive to stop and fix that area.
It’s also key to note if any contractor gives you an incredibly low ball estimate. Getting a couple of quotes from a few different roofers can help prevent something like this from happening. Their estimates should be relatively similar depending on the materials they use.
And last but not least, the roof scam where a roofer comes to inspect your roof, gets up on the roof before you’ve actually agreed to work with them, and claims damage that they inflicted themselves. Until you’ve signed the paperwork and actually hired a contractor, never let them get up on your roof. And if you can, take photos of your roof or storm damage before you get your inspection. This can protect you from any “mystery damage” claims after a roof inspection.
As always, you should always trust your gut in these situations. It will more often than not be the right decision. If something seems sketchy or if you don’t feel right about it, get in touch with a local contractor with an office and an address. This can help avoid any roofers who are unlicensed and looking for a quick buck. Luckily, Apple Roofing has an office, and you can come to visit us in person anytime! We would love to work with you to ensure you get the professional, trustworthy roofing work that you deserve.