Sadly, the tales of scam-artist roofers are all too common. Typically, fly-by-night companies like these drive around after big storms with the intention of preying on unsuspecting homeowners.
They may point to bona fide damage – such as missing tiles or shingles, or branches up on the roof – to fuel their con, but the results are always the same; money is paid for a deposit or up-front “discounts” for repairs that are not done professionally and/or a roofer that disappears altogether.
Protect Yourself From Roofing Scams And Con-Artists
Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid roofing scams after a storm while protecting the integrity of your roof structure.
Schedule a roof inspection from a reputable, licensed roofer
Being proactive and building a relationship with a local, licensed roofing contractor you can trust is the best way to avoid roofing scams. If it has been a while since your roof has had any attention, schedule an inspection with a few local roofers. First, ask around and see who your friends and neighbors use. Word-of-mouth referrals are always our favorite way to get new clients. Or, search online to find one near you.
Annual or bi-annual roof inspections ensure you’re never scammed again because you have a trusting relationship and know your roof is in good hands before and after storm season.
Be wary of any door-to-door sales pitches from “professional roofers”
Let us assure you that a successful roofer is a busy roofer, and they simply don’t have time to go door-to-door soliciting business. To give the benefit of the doubt, even a newer roofer who may be trying to drum up business will look and dress professionally, have a website you can visit, and/or will have reviews from previous customers online. Finally, you should be able to verify the company’s contractor license online or through your local building department.
Verify insurance, bonding, and other relevant listings
As long as you are verifying the contractor’s license, ask him for proof of insurance/bonding, and use other websites such as the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Yelp!, and other reputable review websites to learn more about what their customers and the public have to say about their services.
Contact your homeowner’s insurance carrier
Your homeowner’s insurance company is typically aware of all of the reputable roofing contractors in your area. If a contractor approaches you about a repair, contact your insurance carrier afterward to learn more about whether the contractor is valid or not. The claims representative is an essential part of ensuring home and roofing repairs are performed with respect to your policy’s standards, so always start there.
Help avoid roofing scams, obtain more than one estimate
It’s always best to obtain two to three estimates for a major roof repair or replacement. In addition to allowing you to compare price quotes and the materials/labor cited for the job, these inspections and estimates also give you the chance to interact with different roofing professionals. You may find that one who charges a bit more seems more qualified, experienced, and reliable in the long run, making the extra money a worthwhile investment.
Beware of falling for the lowest bidder: Along those same lines, always beware of a rock bottom bidder. Yes, there will be variation between roofers. In fact, some roofers intentionally overbid because they’re so busy they prioritize larger repairs and roof replacements over smaller jobs. However, a rock bottom bidder is usually a scammer or a less-qualified contractor, so remember that you always get what you pay for with any contractor or professional.
Make sure estimates are detailed
When you obtain estimates from roofers, make sure they are detailed and that they show specific prices for materials and labor. You want to make sure you’re comparing apples-to-apples. The more detailed the estimates are, the more you can see who charges what for which materials/services.
Never pay upfront or with cash
Buyer beware when a contractor wants you to pay a substantial portion upfront and/or when s/he wants you to pay with cash. Modest deposits are a standard for the trade, but they should never equal more than 20% of the total estimate. Always pay using a check or credit card (credit card or debit card is ideal) because it creates a payment record and can ensure you get your money back from the bank or credit card company if you need to file a fraud complaint.
Call Us For All Your Roofing Needs
Ready to form a long term relationship with a licensed and trustworthy Bay Area roofing contractor? Contact us here at Central Bay Roofing. We’ve provided high-quality roofing repairs and replacements for Bay Area home and business owners for more than 40 years.