Roofing and home improvement scams are becoming more common. It seems like every year I hear several stories from our customers who have been scammed out of their hard-earned cash by some unsavory person masquerading as a roofing contractor. To the trained professional these scams are usually obvious. But, what can the average home or business owner do to avoid common roofing and home improvement scams? Keep reading.
Roofing scams are usually ran by con-artist looking to make a quick buck before they disappear back into the shadows from which they came. A few questions and a little research can expose these bottom-feeders for what they are.
Once you have identified a few good contractors you need to prepare for and schedule estimates. Most roofing contractors will provide free inspections and estimates. This is common practice! To prepare for your estimate you should write down questions that are important to you to ask the contractor. If you've done your research you can focus on your desires and expectations. The one thing you should always ask for is proof of insurance. Here are some other questions you may want to ask:
- Hire a local contractor. Many scams are perpetrated by out of state fake roofing contractors.
- Avoid door to door salesman. Respectable roofing contractors no longer employ door to door sales tactics.
- Research roofing or home improvement contractors before calling them. Review their website, visit their Better Business Bureau page, and read reviews.
- Ensure that any contractor you are going to call has a physical local address.
- Be aware of fake sales and gimmicks. Offering extreme discounts such 50% off or giving away a cheap tablet or television are methods used by predator companies to get their foot in the door. Once in your home or business they use high pressure sales tactics to get you to sign a contract. The only way a 50% discount can be given on a roofing project is if the original price is extremely inflated. If you want a new television you can use the money you save by hiring a legitimate roofing contractor to purchase a much better-quality piece of electronic bliss.
- Avoid money down scams. Reputable roofing contractors do not ask for money in advance of work commencing. A strong, respectable roofing contractor will collect payment only after the project is complete.
- Be careful about in-house financing. In-house financing is often the most expensive due to high interest rates and added fees. You are much better off acquiring financing from your bank or financing specialist. Always look for the best possible interest rates and terms for your financial situation.
By just researching and asking a few pointed questions you can avoid the scams that are running rampant in the roofing and home improvement industry. I hope this helps you on your quest to avoid scams in your pursuit of hiring a roofing contractor.
- When will you be able to complete the project?
- How long will the project take to complete once started?
- Will you keep my property clean throughout the process?
- Do you offer a warranty?
- Can you provide a list of references?