10 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring a Roofer
While every roofer has slightly different policies, some practices raise serious questions about a roofer’s trustworthiness. If you see one of these red flags, run in the other direction!
- If a roofer knocks on your door claiming he noticed storm damage to your roof, be suspicious. If he starts pressuring you to file an insurance claim-RUN! Unscrupulous roofers have been known to create damage to get jobs. And unnecessary insurance claims will count against you even if they’re not approved.
Instead, find a trusted roofer to go up and inspect your roof.
- A company who can’t or won’t provide a license number, insurance number, or references may have something to hide.
Reputable businesses will send you that information quickly and happily.
- A roofer with less than three years of experience may be a terrific professional getting started in a successful business. Or he may be gone next year or even next week, leaving you with warranties worth less than the paper they’re on. If you already know and trust the contractor, a less experienced roofer may be a chance to get a top-notch roof at a bargain price. But without that firsthand knowledge, stick to businesses that stood the test of time.
- Never sign any document until you’re ready to commit to a contract. If a roofer asks you to sign “permission” to go up on your roof-RUN! Some con artists get a homeowner’s signature for seemingly innocent reasons, then demand money, claiming the client committed to working with them. Look, the roofer even has a signature to prove it!
- Here’s another warning about signing documents. Never sign an AOB, Assignment of Benefits. Signing an AOB gives the contractor full access to your insurance benefits claims while you relinquish your rights. It’s now illegal in many states since contractors worked the system to collect money they didn’t deserve. If a roofer is pressuring you to sign an AOB, it’s time to RUN!
- Speaking of pressure, you should never feel pressured by a pushy roofer to sign a contract. The roofer should treat you like a friend, explaining your options and answering your questions. After all, you’re about to spend a LOT of money. A contractor who makes you feel foolish for doing your research is a red flag.
- Let’s move on to estimates. Be wary of an overly high or overly low estimate compared to going rates in your area. The excessively high quote may be an inflated price. The excessively low quote may reflect skimping on materials, best practices, or safety procedures.
- Here’s another warning about estimates. Replacing your roof’s decking costs extra, but sometimes it’s necessary. A soft or rotten board won’t hold in a nail. Experienced roofers will look for dips in your roof to estimate in advance how many boards need to be replaced. If you get an estimate claiming the need to replace a large percentage of your decking, ask your roofer for pictures to prove it.
- Your estimate should express the total fee based on “price per square foot.” If that’s not on the estimate, ask the company for the breakdown. Some roofers come back to a client mid-job, saying they underestimated the roof’s measurements and now need to up the price. Without knowing the original per-square-footage cost, you have no way of knowing if the additional amount is fair. So, if a contractor won’t give you that information upfront-RUN!
- Last, be cautious about deposits. Many roofing companies ask for a small fee (say $500) when a homeowner signs a contract. It protects their business which is now incurring costs on your behalf. But never pay a large sum of money until the materials are at your home. Asking for a 50% deposit upfront and then disappearing is an all-too-common contractor scam. What if a roofer insists on that kind of money before you see any materials or work? You got it-RUN!
For everything you've ever needed to know about hiring a roofer, check out the Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Roofer.
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