Homeowners are prone to roofing scams if they don’t know what to look out for, and the stress of having a damaged roof can cause you to miss red flags that indicate you are headed for trouble. Unfortunately, not all roofing contractors have your best interest at heart, so it’s important to be able to identify the warning signs of a scam. Here’s what you need to know about avoiding roofing scams so you can hire a contractor that’s committed to doing the job right.
Roofing Scams to Watch Out For
There are several types of roofing scams that you need to look out for when you are hiring a contractor. Many scammers are unlicensed, and they are only after your money. Don’t be fooled by smooth-talking salesperson. They don’t care about fixing your roof and they prey upon vulnerable demographics who are unaware of these scams. Here are a few of the most common roofing scams to avoid:
Large Upfront or Down Payments Required
No roofing contractor should ever ask you to pay the full amount for your roof replacement upfront. Roofing scammers who ask you to pay a large down payment are known for taking the money and vanishing. A reputable, legitimate roofing company may ask for a reasonable down payment, but you won’t have to pay in full until you are completely satisfied with their work. You can avoid this scam by vetting the roofing company with online research and refusing to pay for the job until it is complete.
Although storm chaser roofing scams are well-known, these types of scams are still common, especially among vulnerable groups. Storm chasers are known for showing up in towns that have been hit by tornadoes, hurricanes, and damaging winds. They pitch their scam to distraught homeowners whose roofs have been damaged by the storm. Not only do storm chasers take advantage of the misfortune of others, but they are often unlicensed and produce very poor work.
If your roof has sustained storm damage, and a roofing company comes out of the blue promising the solution to your problems, be wary. Do your research and ask the roofing company to provide proof of licensure and insurance. Never hire a company without a physical office address. If they can only provide you with a post office box number, they may be trying to scam you.
Roofing Contractors with No Licenses
There are several states that don’t require contractors to hold a roofing license. If you live in a state where roofing licenses are required, be sure to ask contractors to provide proof of licensure before hiring them to repair your roof. Many homeowners don’t know to ask to see the contractor’s license, but it is critical that your contractor has the proper certifications for your area. If your contractor can’t provide proof of licensure, they aren’t operating legally, and they may be trying to scam you.
Avoiding this scam is easy. All you have to do is ask the contractor to provide proof of licensure. If they give you any trouble over this, it’s best to continue your search for a roofing contractor. Consulting online reviews can also help you vet the contractor if you still aren’t sure about them.
Salesperson Inflicted Damage
It seems counterintuitive that someone promising to fix your roof would damage it intentionally, but this roofing scam happens to homeowners every day. Salesperson inflicted damage often occurs under the promise of a free roof inspection. Unsuspecting homeowners allow the salesperson to go up on their roof to inspect it and while they’re up there they inflict damage. Elderly homeowners and those who live in areas with severe weather are especially prone to this scam.
Never let someone you don’t know up onto your roof. These scammers will inflict damage and force you to spend money on repairs. Many homeowners don’t believe that this type of scam is possible, but it happens frequently. Protect your home and your wallet by doing your research and keeping those scammers far away from your roof.
Low Bid with Unforeseen Future Issues
An unbeatable bid may seem irresistible, but a price that’s outrageously lower than other contractors in your area may be a sign of a roofing scam. These scammers know that roof damage can place financial stress on homeowners, and they have no shame about capitalizing on this stress. Once you hire the contractor and the work begins, they begin increasing the bid price. They will increase the price due to a number of fake reasons including unforeseen issues and higher material costs.
Avoiding these roofing scams is tricky because the salesperson can be very manipulative. They will use your stress to con you into hiring them and threaten to abandon the job site after they rip your roof off if you don’t agree to pay their higher price. Always thoroughly research a roofing contractor before hiring them. Keep in mind that if a bid seems too low to be true, it’s probably a scam.
High-Pressure Sales Tactics
You should never feel pressured into hiring a roofing contractor. Contractors who use high-pressure sales tactics manipulate homeowners into hiring them by using persuasive language and telling lies. They may show up at your home uninvited to pitch their services to you in a way that makes it hard to say no. They may even try to guilt-trip you into hiring them, making this roofing scam especially dangerous for vulnerable demographics like the elderly.
By pressuring you into signing a contract, they lock you into paying their price. You won’t be able to research the company or shop around for another contractor if you fall victim to one of these roofing scams. Avoid this roofing scam by refusing to sign a contract on the spot. Always read reviews, do your research, and shop around before signing a contract with any roofing contractor. If one of these scammers makes you feel pressured into hiring them, take that as a sign that you should avoid them.
Recommending Unnecessary Roof Repairs
While some roofing scams involve contractors doing the bare minimum, some roofing companies will perform unnecessary repairs in order to get more money out of your job. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to differentiate between a scam and a company that implements thorough repairs.
Avoiding this type of roofing scam isn’t easy, but you can still take precautions to ensure you hire a reputable, trustworthy contractor. Roofing companies that have positive online reviews and proof of licensure are likely good contractors to hire.
Who is Prone to Roofing Scams?
Some homeowners are prone to becoming victims of roofing scams. The elderly are commonly targeted by scammers and are at an increased risk of being conned into a roofing scam. Seniors with cognitive impairments are especially vulnerable to the sneaky tactics used in roofing scams.
Homeowners in densely populated areas, especially areas that are known for bad weather and severe storms, are also targeted by scammers. Roofing scams are common in these areas because salesmen can easily take advantage of the stress caused by natural disasters. City-dwellers are easy to target because salesmen can go door-to-door to pitch these roofing scams. While homeowners in these groups may be targeted more, anyone can fall victim to roofing scams, so it’s important to know the warning signs and stay vigilant.
Other Tips for Avoiding Roofing Scams
One of the best ways to avoid roofing scams is to request multiple quotes. Quotes that seem extremely low compared to the average for your area are likely scams. Another great way to avoid roofing scams is to periodically inspect your roof for damage so you are aware of its condition. Keeping an eye out for damage will help you avoid a roofing emergency and allow you the time to ask potential contractors the right questions (see our “What Questions Should I Ask My Roofing Contractor?” blog for examples.) Don’t be tempted to hire the contractor with the lowest bid. When it comes to roof repairs and replacements, you get what you pay for.
PJ Fitzpatrick Can Help
Roofing scams are common but knowing what to look out for and how to avoid them will prevent you from becoming a victim. Choosing a contractor should be a slow, pressure-free process during which you get answers to all of your questions. A good roofing contractor will be willing and able to provide satisfactory answers to any concerns you may have. One indication of a trustworthy contractor is a long-standing, positive reputation. PJ Fitzpatrick has been in business since 1980, and we are known for providing high-quality roofing services to our customers. If you need roof repairs or a replacement in the Delaware Valley, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for a quote.