Roofing Contractor Scams to Avoid
By Your Fiderio Expert Aug 14, 2013
When shopping around for a roofing contractor, it’s important to know what to look for so you know you’re hiring someone who will go above and beyond to the job right the first time. We’ve previously told you what to look for in a trustworthy roofing contractor, but what are some red flags that you should be looking for? There are some common phrases and tricks that signal a contractor who is trying to take the easy route, so be sure to be on the lookout for them!
Door-to-Door & Flyers
While this tactic is something start-up companies might use, most contractors will have other ways of growing their customer base, such as references and a strong online presence. Before hiring one of these companies, make sure they are registered with the CT BBB or have reviews on sites like Angie’s List. The CT BBB will reaffirm that the contractor is from a trusted and legitimate company and will inform you about any reports of a dishonest contractor that has been working in the area. The best part about Angie’s List is that the company cannot chose to be on the site, therefore they cannot control bad reviews!
If a contractor asks for all the money upfront, run. It’s important to discuss a payment schedule with the contractor before the work starts, and put the timeline in a written contract and estimate. Reputable contractors will not request more than 10-15% of the job’s total upfront, usually around $1,000. The rest will be scheduled in payments as the job progresses. If possible, pay by credit cards as opposed to cash or checks so that the charges can be disputed if necessary. Dishonest contractors will try to counter this argument by saying they need the money to pay their suppliers first, but honest contractors have suppliers that will provide them with equipment on their good credit.
Your local and state governments will require you to obtain a building permit for any sort of roofing or home renovation project on your property. Scamming contractors will not have easy access to permits, and therefore will try to put the responsibility on you. While it is entirely possible for homeowners to obtain their own permits, this is for DIY homeowners not for those that hire contractors. Getting your own permit makes you responsible for all safety hazards and city inspections. Therefore, if a inspector drops by to check for compliance with the city’s Building Code and finds something wrong, the fine and further punishment is on you. Additionally, if any workers or persons are injured, the responsibility once again falls on your shoulders. Permits are the contractors job, they have and always will be.
- Jobs that require a permit: additions, pergolas, bay windows, patios, garage-additions and any home remodeling jobs (most exterior projects)
- Jobs that don’t require a permit: replacing an electrical or plumbing fixture, painting, carpeting and flooring (small interior projects)
Scammers will promise free work or extra side projects, but insist they don’t need to be included in the contract on the basis that they are trustworthy. Things such as a higher quality roofing material for a cheap price help the contractor make the project seem too good to be true, and it usually is. Those added details or small jobs that suddenly aren’t being built in your home will cost you extra because the contractor will give you the option of paying up for them or living without them. Put EVERYTHING in the contract so that you get exactly what you are paying for.
Many scammers will attempt to lure you in by offering to pay your insurance deductible. They cover themselves by saying they will overcharge your insurance company so they get enough money back for a reimbursement. An additional tactic meant to lure you in is claiming that all insurance companies are paying for recent storm damage, no problems, which is often not the case as most homeowners need to pay a deductible for a roofing replacement.
While these seem like scary occurrences that occur all-to-often, we want to say that most contracting companies are responsible and trustworthy, and we are only trying to protect you from the few dishonest ones out there. So don’t fret, let Fiderio & Sons prove we are one of the best roofing and home improvement companies out there! Visit our showroom in Meriden and as always, don’t forget to fill out our online form for a FREE consultation and a $250 off our estimated price!