It’s been a rough spring in St. Louis and Oklahoma City, as several violent storms have torn through both cities. Natural disasters, such as tornados and violent thunderstorms, tend to bring the best out of people, but unfortunately, natural disasters also attracts scam artists who want to take advantage of us during our weaken moments. Scam artists prey on vulnerable homeowners who have lost most, if not all of their homes. The most common home repair scam involves repairing or replacing roofs.
Regardless if you lost your roof to a storm or it simply needs repair, you need to know the basics of hiring a roofing contractor. During 2012, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received over 3.5 million inquiries from homeowners concerning how to hire the right roofing contractor. The BBB states on its website that roofer inquiries top the list of inquiries they receive from consumers. Because of the number of inquiries, the BBB has devoted a portion of its website to helping homeowners find the right roof contractor.
Perform a Thorough Examination
The first thing you need is a complete roofing inspection to determine the extent of your damage. This is critical because you may uncover leaks you may not be aware of until the water has damaged your attic space and possibly anything stored there.
This is where you want to get a professional roofing contractor involved. Remember that they are on your side! A reputable contractor will help you because they want to find all the damage for you. They are trained in finding trouble spots you might not see and it could mean the difference between repairing your roof and replacing it.
Certainly doo your research when choosing a roofing contractor, but you should never focus on obtaining the lowest bid. Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking they can legally pocket the difference between the insurance payouts and roofing contractor bids. Shopping smart means ensuring you get a guarantee for the quality of roofing materials and workmanship. Moreover, check out references and verify that any contractor under consideration meets state and federal mandates for licensure and registration.
High Pressure Not Welcome
High-pressure sales tactics may work for shoe sales representative, but there is no place for such tactics on a project as extensive as repairing or replacing your roof. Roofing scam artists are notorious for knocking on doors and claiming they can fix your roof on the cheap because they have leftover materials from another job in the neighborhood. A couple things to remember here: You don’t want a roof on the cheap of course. You want a legitimate bid that your insurance company will accept. It must be professional and thorough.
Secondly, about door-to-door solicitation . . . There is nothing wrong with someone knocking on your door. This is the primary method of contacting a homeowner. The reality is that most people do not respond to advertising or direct mail letters. So, knocking on a door is the fastest and easiest way to inform a homeowner that they may have damage. A knock on your door can be the assistance you need to get your roof back in shape. But that doesn’t replace the need to check out any contractor before you commit to using them.
The days of the business handshake are long gone. You must require a written contract before you hire a roofing contractor. The roofing contractor must provide a verifiable address and license number on the contract. Pay close attention to the legal recourse language that describes what happens after the contractor fails to fulfill contractual obligations. Here is what your roofing contract should include:
- Type of roof materials
- Scope of work
- The use of flashing
- Ventilation changes
- Who is responsible for restoring the outdoor landscape
- Installation process
- Payment procedure
- Approximate start and finish dates
- Warranty length
Natural disaster victims are very vulnerable to scam artists. Never make a hasty decision that leads to hiring an unscrupulous roofing contractor. Perhaps the best tip for how to hire the right roofing contractors involves your demeanor. Remain calm at all times and you can avoid making a decision that you’ll regret.