“Out of sight, out of mind” often applies to your roof. Since you might not need to repair it often, and maybe only replace it once or twice in your life, you might not know how to tell it’s damaged.
Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of this lack of knowledge, plus the fact that your roof is one of the most important aspects of your home. If you don’t want to be a victim of a roofing scam (and who does?), be especially cautious during winter or anytime there’s bad weather. Here are four common roofing scams to avoid. After that, I’ll list 6 tips to find a legitimate roofing company.
1. The Storm-Chaser Roofing Scam
Did a storm just hit? If so, chances are the roofing salesman knocking on your door might be preying on your uneasy mind. These false roofers infiltrate neighborhoods where recent storms have damaged roofs from wind or hail. They will offer to do an inspection and show you photos of a damaged roof. The catch is that the photo is often fake or someone else’s roof, not yours!
Also be wary of any flyers in your mailbox or on your doorstep that state, “Most homeowners are unaware of the storm damage on their roof.” This is a common ploy used by roofing con artists.
2. The Down Payment Roofing Scam
Is a “roofer” asking you for a down payment for roofing supplies? Don’t do it. Most authentic roofing companies will have enough resources to perform the job without asking you for money first.
Some roofing scammers will try to game your insurance by taking your reimbursement while failing to mention your out-of-pocket deductible or higher insurance premiums that may follow. They may even go so far as offering to pay your deductible in order to gain access to your insurance reimbursement. Just say no if this person says they’ll bill your insurance higher than the bid so that you will be compensated, as this falls under insurance fraud.
3. The Door-to-Door Salesperson Roofing Scam
Most reputable roofing companies rely on customers finding them, not the other way around. If you have a knock on your door from a salesperson insisting you have a damaged roof, chances are it’s a scam. The salesperson will mention your insurance coverage and other details such as roof damage without possibly having investigated either one. If they have information about your home or insurance policy that even you are unaware of, close the door immediately on their sales pitch.
Photo by Molly Theobald
4. The Aggressive Salesperson Roofing Scam
You shouldn’t rush a few things in life: getting married, eating a fine meal, and signing a roofing contract. If someone pressures you anytime during a roofing consultation to sign a contract or agree to any kind of roofing work, just say no. Being pressured is never a good sign.
If the salesperson says the deal or discount is ending soon, ask them to extend the offer or simply say no thanks. Legitimate roofing companies will not insist on making a sale unless it’s what you want and your roof needs it. Be wary of salespeople who want to close a sale without letting you talk to friends, family, or another roofing company. A legitimate roofing company will give you time and contact information to reach out to them after you have time to make a well-informed decision.
How to Avoid Being a Roofing Scam Victim
Now that you know a few of the types of the false roofing contractor scams to look out for, here are a few general tips to ensure you find the best roofing company and price possible.
1. Find Roofing Contractors by Word-of-Mouth
Ask homeowner friends and family about their roofing experiences. A firsthand account is the best way to find a quality contractor. Your next best option is to check online reviews for roofing companies. Websites with reviews, like Angie’s List, will often have testimonials as well as an overall rating that can help you find the best roofing company in your area.
Photo by coolmockups.com
2. Get Bids from 3-5 Companies
Get at least 3 roofing estimates. This will allow you to find a fair price for a roof repair or replacement and help you negotiate a deal.
3. Ask for References
Most legitimate roofing companies are willing to offer previous client references that you can call to learn about their experience. Be sure to ask if there’s any reason why they wouldn’t recommend the company in question.
4. Read Over Your Home Insurance Policy
Make sure that you understand what types of roofing services your insurance coverage offers. How much does your policy cover for a roof repair? Is there a deductible for a roofing service? Will your monthly premium go up after a roofing job is completed? While professional roofing companies have experience dealing with insurance, it’s best for you to know how to maximize the benefits of your home insurance policy.
Photo by Branko Collin
5. Get Everything in Writing
Once you pick a roofing contractor, make sure you have all the details of the roofing job on paper. Do not sign anything without first reading over the cost breakdown (materials and labor), work to be done, job timeline, payment details, and any other expectations you might have. That way if the work is taking way too long, you can point to the contract.
6. Pay Only After the Work Is Done
The only reason a reputable roofing company would ask for payment upfront is if you request special materials that are out of the scope of normal roofing jobs. Pay when the work is done, or if it’s a long project, pay as the roofing job is being completed. Never pay with cash. Use a debit or credit card so your payment can be tracked more easily if necessary.
Now you’re well on your way to avoiding false roofers and picking the roofing company that best suits your home and budget. The professionals at Fivecoat Roofing have 30 years of experience and the resources needed to do the job right the first time. We won’t ask you for a down payment up front, nor do we use high-pressure sales tactics. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote if you need a roof repair or replacement.
Have you been harassed by a roofing scam artist? If so, please let us and other readers know what to look out for and how you responded.
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