A roof is one of the most important aspects of a home. It protects the rest of the building and your family from the outside elements, so naturally, you’ll be anxious if it gets damaged. But thousands of homeowners fall victim to roofing scams every year.
How Do Roof Scams Work?
Most roofing scams rely on high-pressure sale tactics that pressure you into signing a contract before you can do your research or get a second opinion.
If you’re worried about storm damage, don’t believe the first roofing company that comes knocking on your door with a pamphlet, and certainly don’t believe roofing contractors who say they can get you a free roof by handling your insurance claim.
Following the correct procedures of contacting your insurance company, researching local contractors, getting several opinions and quotes, and researching your final picks before signing a legitimate contract that covers price, timelines, and changes to the agreement will lead to a well-constructed roof that will last for years to come.
Storm chasers are people who follow terrible weather events and then target neighborhoods with seniors, older homes, and middle-income families. They go door to door handing out pamphlets and telling people they can replace roofs for far cheaper than local companies. Then they either put on a cheap roof not worth the materials it’s made of or skip town with the money.
Storm chasers prey on the anxiety of people living on a budget and make false promises of replacing roofs for nothing or that the insurance company will cover the costs. Don’t believe them; if someone comes knocking on your door making empty promises, chase them away and warn your neighbors.
Another tactic they use is saying they just finished a job nearby and have extra materials. So with the extra materials, you can get a roof replacement for very cheap. But this is just part of the scam of taking your money and leaving you with a roof that’s not worth the materials it’s made of.
Low Starting Bid
So you’re going through finding a contractor when one company gives you a quote much lower than the rest. Remember the old saying: if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
These companies start the project with a low price but then ask for more as the project goes on, saying there were “problems with the project” or “inflated material costs.”
If a roofing company says they can get you a new roof replacement for nothing and even cover the insurance deductible, they’re probably committing insurance fraud. Insurance fraud is when roofing companies give you a lower invoice than the insurance company, pocketing the extra money from the insurance claim.
It’s illegal, and companies that commit insurance fraud can also land you in hot water. So don’t do business with home improvement companies claiming that such expensive roof repairs or damage will cost you nothing. Always contact and claim the insurance coverage yourself to avoid this roofing scam.
Sometimes you’ll get a knock at your door from someone claiming to be a roofing contractor and that they saw some damage on your roof. They’ll point out some part of the roof you can’t see, claiming it’s a huge red flag.
Then they’ll offer you a free roof inspection right then and there, no contracts or cash required. They head up with their tools to inspect your roof, and after an hour or two, they come down with photos of roof damage.
But sometimes the damage itself came from them! Never let anyone onto your roof without a legally binding contract, and tell them you’ll be contacting others for a second opinion. That way, this “mystery damage” never happens in the first place.
This is not a roofing scam per se but rather a popular tactic such shady roofers use. They push you into signing a contract without giving you a chance to do research, saying they have a great deal on materials and need you to sign now or that the damage to your roof needs fixing as quickly as possible.
They look professional, but no reputable contractor will pressure you into signing a contract. So if someone says you have to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime offer, you kick them out the door.
Always know the materials that they will use to repair your roof. And do your research to see if they’re good or not. Some contractors will use your knowledge gap to say they’re using suitable materials, but they’re garbage. So they pocket the extra money.
Do your research into the materials and the company to see if they’re known for such underhanded tactics. If you’re having trouble finding anything online or at the better business bureau, then that’s a huge red flag that they’re not as official as they appear.
Large Down Payment
Some fly-by-night contractors ask for a large down payment upfront, then run away without doing any work. A reasonable down payment should cost about 20% or less of the project.
If a contractor asks for 50% or more of the project costs upfront, you don’t want to do business with them.
How To Avoid Roofing Scams
Roofing scams can be hard to spot, as many roofing contractors seem professional. But if you follow these tips and take your time, you can avoid losing money on shoddy roof repairs and bad contractors.
As you manage home repairs, you don’t want to rush into a wrong decision, and if someone is pressuring you, that means they don’t have good intentions.
Understanding the roofing industry in your local area is essential for making an informed decision. Research the company and materials used for your new roof to avoid many common roofing scams.
A good roofing company should have a physical address, can give you references for jobs they’ve done recently, and their liability insurance with a roofing license.
While not all states require licenses to repair roofs, a permit is a good sign that the contractors are reputable, work well with suitable materials, and have good ethics. So always ask for the contractor’s liability insurance and license when researching a company.
Listen to Your Instincts
If someone is pressuring you to sign a contract, or there’s a roofer knocking on your door, listen to your instincts and kick them out. After all, a good roofing business would never employ such tactics, and anyone pushing you to buy something is just in it for themselves.