7 Ways to Avoid the “Roofing Rip Off” Much is continually written and talked about the many horror stories homeowners tell every year how they were taken advantage of by the unscrupulous roofing Contractor or unlicensed Contractor. No one is more concerned by the unnecessary frequency of this scenario than The Arizona Roofing Contractors Association. After all, these unscrupulous, uncaring, and often unlicensed businessmen are our direct competition, and much of our legitimately profitable business is lost to this type of person. Our reputation is sullied by their dastardly deeds..
There are ways that you as a homeowner can protect yourself; and face it, sometimes the-only one looking out for you is…YOU! If you heed the following suggestions, you will be less likely to be one of the victims of these unscrupulous individuals.
1. Deal Only with a Licensed or certified Contractor. If a Contractor does not have a license through a city or state licensing agency you might consider using someone else. Most contractors are certified through a roofing organization. Call the building department or organization to verify authenticity of the license or certificate. Ask how a roofing company qualifies for the license or certification.
2. Call The Home Based BBB For The Contractor There is a common assumption that the local roofer is better. Many hidden treasures are found when your choices are not boxed in. Out of town contractors should be scrutinized by reviewing their BBB reports. Many out of town contractors offer better service and products than the local contractors. Local Roofers are often stretched and challenged by the more cosmopolitan Roofer. Many local Roofers are using antiquated products with average quality roof installations.
3. Require Insurance Protect yourself by requiring certificates (or evidence) of insurance from the Contractor before allowing him to begin any work on your property. Such certificates should be for both Liability and Workers Compensation. Unfortunately, accidents, damage, and injuries do occur. If your Contractor is property insured, you will be less likely to be the unwitting target of third party claims, or lawsuits, or to be liable for damages you did not cause.
PLEASE NOTE! Merely having evidence of the Contractor’s insurance does not necessarily mean that you are insured. It simply gives you documentation that the Contractor is properly assuming his own risk. Most local Contractor’s don’t have Worker’s Compensation. Many out of town Contractor’s are fully insured. Contact their insurance agent to verify coverage.
4. Know Who You Are Dealing With Doing business with a Contractor who has a good reputation for doing the job right, in an ethical manner, at a reasonable cost is the ideal situation for the homeowner. But how do you know this? The Registrar of Contractors and The Better Business Bureau are good sources of general information, but nothing takes the place of knowing the facts about a Contractor’s reputation. Name recognition and high visibility do not necessarily equate to good business, any more than does contracting with a complete unknown. The best method of obtaining this knowledge is by word of mouth or referral. Talking to people who have used the services of the Contractor you are considering may prove invaluable. Any successful and reputable Contractor can and will give you these sources. Ask for references and use them! Learn about the best roofing procedures and products. Use the internet for comparisons.
5. Understand What You Are Getting Before agreeing to any work, require a written proposal, describing in plain language the procedures that will be performed and the materials that will be used. A total price or contingency agreement for the deductible only should be as inclusive as possible. If you don’t understand what you are reading, a competent roofing professional will be able to patiently and clearly describe to you what they propose to do. Maintain any paperwork when the job is done as documentation for future reference.
6. Familiarize Yourself with Terms Many Contractor’s proposal or contract forms contain specific terms and conditions. As with any contract, such terms have advantages and obligations for both parties, and should be read carefully. However; be wary of any forms that are extremely lengthy or are vaguely worded. A roofing contract should easily be contained on one page (front and back) with terms easily understood by the average adult. Payment terms may vary, but most will require payment in full upon completion of all work. Do not pay for the work until you are sure the Contractor is through with his job. Reasonable down payments prior to start are not uncommon and may be expected.
7. Don’t Let Price or Warranty Be Your Only Guide Many homeowners have subscribed to the idea that if you obtain three bids, and they all appear to be roughly the same, the low bidder is the best choice. This is simply not always true, especially if there is a large disparity between the prices. Be extremely cautious of prices which are anomalously lower than the others. This can mean a couple different things, one they could be cutting out services that need to be done to your roof or just not being honest.