Whether it’s from a recent storm, normal wear-and-tear, or old age, your roof will need repairs and/or be replaced at the end of its life. But with the stories of roofing fraud out of Jacksonville, the question that’s been on many people’s minds is: “How do I choose a roofer I can trust?”
The roof is typically the most expensive part of a home. It also requires a lot of upkeep, and unfortunately, many homeowners don’t know too much about this essential part of their homes. This can make it easy for scammers and frauds to take advantage of an unsuspecting and trusting homeowner. The total number of scams is hard to determine because unfortunately, much of it goes unreported.
But roof scammers existing won’t change the fact that your roof needs repairs now. So the question remains: when it comes time to hire a roofing company, how do you know who you can trust and who to avoid?
Two Types of Fraudulent Roofers
To start, let’s discuss some sketchy roofing tactics most professional roofers have seen.
Door-to-door roofing contractor scams: These scammers will go door-to-door (often after severe weather) to offer free roofing inspections. They’ll create damage themselves or try to tell you your roof is damaged, and then try to get you to sign up for their services—which can lock you into a contract you weren’t expecting.
Home repair fraud: One of the most common kinds of fraud, home repair fraud could be anything from overcharging without reason to creating damage themselves they then get hired to fix.
Both of these roofing scams can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars they weren’t expecting, and often the repairs are left uncompleted. The best way to protect yourself from roofing scams and con-men is to know what you’re looking for from a professional roofing contractor.
Look Out for These Red Flags
Scammers will often use the same tactics to increase your bill or get away without completing the work that was promised. Look out for these red flags when you’re in talks with roofing contractors:
False promises: A scamming contractor may tell you that they have extra supplies left over from their last job that they’re willing to give you discount on or they’ll create a false sense of urgency to get you to agree to repairs without time to think. Real roofing companies will never do this. An accredited company will present you with all your options and then allow you to make any decisions on your own time.
Demanding pay upfront: A telltale sign of a scam is a contractor who demands that you pay them upfront for their work. Oftentimes a scammer will request the payment for the repairs upfront, then disappear without completing the work. Sometimes, they may tell you that they require a deposit to obtain the materials for the job. These are both red flags in a scam. A reputable roofer will have the required materials on hand and should never ask for payment before the work has been completed.
Lying about/creating damage: This is a common tactic of the door-to-door scammer. They may offer a free roof inspection and can lie about damage on your roof. They may even show you photos of someone else’s roof to back up their false claim. Worse still, they can create damage while on your roof and then use that to sell you their services. Always have another local, established company come out to inspect your roof if you’re worried about false claims.
Sudden costs: Possibly one of the biggest red flags of roofing scammers is an unexplained and large spike in costs. The cost of materials may go up during a project, but reputable contractors will be informed weeks in advance by the manufacturer--and they won’t hold you responsible to cover those costs. If your price goes up midway through the project, it’s time to start asking questions.
Ask Your Roofer These Questions
Now that you know what kind of roofing contractors to be on the alert for and the red flags that should alert you, it’s time to talk about your knowledge as a homeowner. The best way to avoid roofing scams is to know what you’re looking for in a contractor upfront and to do some research on your own.
Ask these questions of every roofing contractor you’re considering hiring:
Do you have a permanent place of business?
Do you carry insurance and is the coverage adequate?
Are you a licensed, registered contractor and in good standing with the trade association?
How long have you been in business?
What is your record for complaint resolution?
What is your workmanship warranty?
Do you provide sufficient details for the project being performed?
Any reputable roofer will be more than happy and willing to answer these questions for a potential client. Another way to be sure that you’re working with a reputable company is to do research of your own. Any professional roofer should have a local address (not a P.O. box), an online presence with reviews from past clientele, and good standing with a trade organization and/or the Better Business Bureau.
Many homeowners spend countless hours pouring over the choices between different shingle colors and roofing materials—but many won’t think about the contractor they want to hire. Thanks to the internet, you can now do a majority of the research on any company you’re thinking of hiring in a matter of seconds. Read any reviews the company may have and request the contractor's license and insurance information.
Division Kangaroof has 15 years of experience servicing roofs in Gainsville and surrounding areas. If you’re looking for a second opinion or if you’re interested in gutters, siding, roofing, or skylight work, give our team a call at (678) 582-2899. We look forward to making your home safe and sound.