To get roof work done on your home, you must hire a contractor. But how do you know if you’re going to get scammed or taken advantage of by the roofing contractor? Here’s 3 common ways homeowner’s get taken advantage of when hiring contractors.
#1 – Asking For A Large Down Payment
This is one of the most obvious scams that is the easiest to spot, but also the most devastating. However, this can be a little harder to spot if you’re hiring someone to work on a home that is located out of town. Basically it goes like this:
The contractor will give you a price that is very tempting – low enough to get you hooked, but not so low that it’s unreasonable. Then they will ask for a decent down payment, usually around 50% or more. Everything usually sounds really good up front, so you hand them a check. But then when they come to do the work, nobody shows up. Then you can’t get them to answer the phone. That’s when you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something isn’t right, and you may have been conned.
This is usually employed by fly-by-night companies that change their business names every year or so. They work “under the radar” and move from place to place. Thankfully, this can usually be averted by hiring a company that has a good reputation and has been in business for at least 5 years.
#2 – Not Installing Your Roof To Code
Much less devastating, but still costly, is the second common way homeowners get taken advantage of. Many contractors have a system for doing things and don’t bother with continuing education to make sure their crews are installing everything to code requirements. Building codes are put in place for a reason – to protect you, the homeowner.
While there are many code requirements that need to be paid attention to, the most common violations I see are on drip-edge metal, ice & water shield, and ventilation. These show up by using a drip metal that’s too small, not enough ice & water shield (or not in the proper areas), and not updating ventilation to meet code.
One of the biggest way these things can hurt you is if you go to sell your home and the home inspector catches these code violations. Before you can sell it, you’ll have to hire someone to come out and modify your roof so it meets code requirements, even if it’s brand new!
#3 – Not Using The Materials You Agreed On
Some contractors will talk a good game, but when they actually start doing the work things may change. Maybe you and the sales guy talked about getting a premium shingle put on your home, but when they go to install the new roof it looks thinner than it should. Or maybe you talked about one brand and end up with another that you didn’t want.
The bottom line is that if it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist. If you hire a roofing contractor off a 1 page estimate that says “Install architectural shingles on home” without specifying brand, weight, or type, you will have recourse if something isn’t what you thought it was.
The best way to protect yourself against this is to hire a contractor that uses a real contract that states in detail the materials you’ll be getting and every step the contractor is taking to ensure you get taken care of.
To learn more about hiring a roofing contractor without being taken advantage of, please look through other guides on this site, like our Roofing Contractor Hiring Guide.