So, have you got any idea just exactly who you’re dealing with when you hire shady contractors to replace a roof on your house? Unfortunately, a lot of home owners only look at the bottom line when it comes to choosing a contractor to replace their home roof.
As a result, a lot of homeowners get ripped off and cheated every day of the year. It’s easy to only look at the bottom line to see just how much money you are going to have to pay for something as expensive as a complete roof. But there are a number of factors you should be thinking about BEFORE you hand over your hard-earned money to someone you may know nothing about.
There is seldom a week that goes by that we don’t hear one of these tales of woe.
- We paid him in advance for the entire roof and he never came back—Never pay the entire balance BEFORE the work is completed. It is normal to collect a down payment but never the entire balance. NEVER PAY WITH CASH…. use a check or a credit card so you will at least have some idea of where your money went and into which account.
- We were told that he could not give any references as his customers wanted their privacy- always ask for references and call several, look for the most current ones, not some project that was completed 5 years ago.
- Some questions might be: how would you rate the overall experience with ______ roofing company? How long did the project take? How well did they clean up after the roof was completed? Did they provide you with a valid certificate of insurance? Did they verify the attic connections after the roof was completed? Have you had any issues since the roof was installed? If so, what and how have they handled those problems?
- He said we didn’t need a contract, he trusted us to be honest- you need a contract for your purposes as well as for the contractor. The state law of Texas REQUIRES a contract with SPECIFIC language relating to insurance fraud and your rights as a consumer. What are the terms of your installation? When will it start and finish? What are the responsibilities of the contractor you selected?
- He says he has insurance—what kind of insurance? You need to see a current certificate of insurance with the name of the company you are hiring for the work to be performed. Your homeowners will not be of any value to you if one of the contractor’s workers get injured or killed on your job. Likewise, if a contractor harms someone while on your job site, who is going to be sued? You or the contractor you know nothing about? Deductibles CANNOT be paid for you by the contractor in this state. This is insurance fraud and you may be liable for criminal prosecution.
- My new roof has a lifetime warranty—Really? Whose lifetime? Theirs or yours? What are they warranting…. the labor or the materials or both? Will they provide you with a copy in advance?
- Check to see if the contractor is a member of the BBB, and also the RCAT. The BBB is a great place to start verifying the reputation of any potential contractor. The state of Texas does not require a license to be a roofing company. The only entity that qualifies roofers is the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT). Members must pass a qualification course as well as attending classes each year in order to maintain their membership.
- The contractor told us they had great service response. - Sure, your roof doesn’t leak when it gets installed, but what happens when that storm hits a month from now? If your contractor has zero references, wants cash and cannot be verified in any way. Then how are you going to get them to return to your home once the rains and the leaks start? We receive several calls a week from homeowners who have a leaky roof and want to fix their leaks. We always ask why they haven’t called the contractor who installed the roof and we are told…” they are no longer in business or they work in some other state.” If you live in Texas and you purchase a roof from a company in Kentucky, what do you think your chances are of getting them back her to repair the leak?
- The salesman told me that my price was so low because they were able to get discounted shingles. - this industry has seen a number of price increases over the past couple of years. The reputable roofing manufacture companies stand behind their products. Ask for a sample of what is going onto your roof and then inspect the materials delivered to make certain they are the same as proposed.
Let’s face it, re-roofing your house can be expensive and can be worrisome if you do not do your own due diligence. If the contractor you select is someone who only spends $75 for signs for their truck and $25 for business cards, then it is up to you to make certain you are getting what you are paying for.
REMEMBER ‘CAVEAT EMPTOR”…..BUYER, BEWARE….