The sound of hail beating down on your home makes you cringe.
The sound of countless roofing contractors ringing your doorbell soon after the storm passes makes you want to…well, I’ll let you fill in the blank.
It’s more challenging than ever to find an honest, reliable and professional contractor you can trust to provide quality workmanship, offer a legitimate warranty and leave your home in better shape than it was in when they arrived.
In fact, last year, an article in the Dallas Morning News revealed a story about a roofing company that scammed homeowners out of nearly half a million dollars! Unfortunately, there’s little to no recourse when this happens. Even worse, these situations aren’t uncommon.
Homeowners are easy victims to scams due to a multitude of factors.
First, many homeowners don’t have experience hiring a roofing contractor. And there are very few, if any, consumer protections in place to protect them if something goes wrong.
Second, homeowners simply don’t have the information they need to easily identify the red flags that bad roofing contractors commonly use to secure a sale.
Third, North Texas is a hotbed for hail damage claims. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute revealed that 18%, or 1.34 million homes, were affected by damaging hail events in 2017 alone. That means roofing contractors are flocking to North Texas with the goal to find work and high profits…at your expense.
But despite these setbacks across the industry, some homeowners are benefitting from the positive roof replacement experiences that a trustworthy, reliable, knowledgeable and professional roofing contractor can deliver.
No matter where you live or what level of contractor hiring experience you have, you can easily find and hire a trustworthy roofing company by using the little known techniques I’ll provide in this article.
Imagine how easy and straightforward your hail damage claim could be if you communicated ONLY with a trustworthy, certified roof inspector who was transparent and upfront about pricing, offered clear and helpful communication throughout your insurance claims process and never pressured you at any stage of your decision-making process.
That’s exactly what happened to Frisco ISD teacher Trang L. when she contacted American Pride Roofing to inspect and replace her hail-damaged roof. And Le-Krause isn’t the only one who’s had a great experience. North Texas homeowners are learning how to find and hire honest and professional roofing companies every day.
How would you feel if you could guarantee that you selected a local, honest, reputable and professional roofing company to install a new roof on your home?
Here are eight common mistakes most homeowners make…and how you can avoid them!
1. They don’t get an upfront quote for the cost of repair.
Always get an upfront quote at the time of inspection. If a company does not provide one in writing, and instead asks to see your insurance estimate, it’s a major red flag!
Why? When they then know how much insurance is paying you to replace your roof and can pad their pockets at your expense.
For example, let’s say it will cost $10,000 (materials and labor) to replace your storm-damaged roof. Your insurance adjuster comes out and gives you a check for $13,000 to complete the work. There is a $3,000 difference between the actual cost and your reimbursed amount.
Hey, that’s great! That extra $3,000 could cover your claim deductible or help you pay for other storm-related damage. You might even be able to pocket the after-deductible difference.
Roofing companies know this. When they don’t give you an upfront quote, they plan to adjust their bid to match your reimbursement amount. So instead of installing a new roof for $10,000, they’ll quote $13,000 and proclaim,”You get a free roof!” The $3,000 difference that would have gone to you is now used to pad their profits. You get $0.
Reputable companies do not tie their costs to your insurance reimbursement amount. Materials and labor are fixed costs that can, and should, always be quoted at the time of inspection.
2. They give to the pressure to sign documents.
One of my clients recently said, “Roofing companies, and we talked to several, seemed to be unable to explain things clearly in regard to costs. Most did a quick inspection and then wanted to talk to us about how much the insurance company was going to give us. They said we will get you a roof for what the insurance company gives you. Very unclear, seemed shady. Insisted that we sign something for them. Too much pressure, too little confidence in them.“
Roofers love to get your signature on their document! Today! Now! Before they leave your home.
Don’t sign anything until you’ve received a quote in writing and they have met every criteria shared in this article. Should you change your mind, they’ll use your signature against you to threaten litigation or intimidate you into letting them complete the job.
3. They disclose their insurance information before work is complete.
Many contractors will ask to see your insurance estimate before work begins. Or they might tell you that they’ll handle the entire claim for you.
At first glance, the “generosity” seems like an added service. In reality, it could be a way for the company to maximize profits and is the quickest way to lose buying leverage as a homeowner.
Protect your information and estimate. It’s irrelevant to the sale. Make sure you’re included in all communications between your contractor and your insurance company.
Your relationship with your insurance carrier is separate from that of your contractor. You do not have to disclose any insurance documents or estimates for work to be completed.
4. They agree to a “good faith” down payment before work begins.
You’ve likely heard this scenario before. A homeowner makes a good-faith down payment for “materials.” Months later, the work still hasn’t begun and the contractor is nowhere to be found.
Your money is gone.
Never, ever, ever pay a contractor for work that has not begun. A roofing company should never ask for a down payment or any money upfront. If they do, it’s a major red flag.
5. They don’t verify their contractor’s insurance coverage.
Being on a roof is dangerous. Especially in the middle of summer, when temperatures can exceed 110 degrees.
One small slip or misstep and a contractor can fall and get seriously injured. If a roofing company does not carry their own insurance, the homeowner will be liable for damages under their own policy.
Request a copy of a company’s insurance certificate. But don’t stop there. More than 60% of roof contractors say they carry insurance and do not.
Call the roofer’s insurance company to verify that the policy is active and in good standing. The absolute last thing you want to do is to have to deal with more insurance paperwork.
6. They don’t choose a local roofing company.
There are hundreds of roofing companies across North Texas. After a major hail storm or weather event, that number can double. It’s hard to identify which companies are from out of town. But you have to! Here’s why.
- Inexperienced estimators – Storm chasing companies send sales people to affected areas quickly. That means the person who got on your roof and told you that it was damaged could have been trained to inspect a roof last week.
- Short-term solutions – A company might fix a mistake within the first few weeks but what good is a lifetime warranty on your roof if the company isn’t around in a year?
- You’re just a number – Have you ever felt like you’re a number and not a name? Non-local companies focus on sales over relationships. Local, established companies employe experienced roofers while out-of-towners throw together contract workers who are likely to be lower skilled.
Determining whether a roofer has a local address isn’t enough. Anybody can rent an address or create a shell “office” to mislead homeowners into thinking they’re a local company. Request and contact many references (from before the date of the storm) to verify their customer experiences and satisfaction levels.
7. They don’t hire an experienced contractor.
In Texas, anybody can get on your roof, tell you that it’s damaged and offer to repair it for you. After the homeowner claim is validated by your insurance company, who you choose to fulfill the work is up to you. Like most high-ticket items, you want to entrust your home under the care and supervision of someone who has the following:
- Industry expertise – Certified professionals go through extensive training and can identify details that inexperienced roofers cannot. An experienced estimator can identify roof, fence, gutter, siding, window and other storm-related damage, ensuring that you’re getting the most from your insurance claim.
- Client management ability – If problems or issues arise on-the-job, an experienced roofing manager can react quickly and efficiently. They have the industry network, relationships and knowledge to keep your project on time and on budget.
- Ability to identify and rectify roofing issues – More important than identifying damage is understanding how to replace it. A seasoned contractor is trained to inspect a job after it’s completed. That way, if there are any issues, they can be fixed immediately.
8. They let their insurance adjuster/company do the hiring.
Personal recommendations can sometimes be helpful, but your neighbors and insurance adjuster don’t always have the information that is now available to you.
In fact, some insurance adjusters defer to their “preferred vendors” list when making a recommendation. A preferred vendors list includes companies that pay to be referred. They are not always pre-screened or there by merit.
When I was an insurance adjuster, I heard of more problems and issues from these “preferred” vendors than those that were not on the list.
What if you never had to worry about making ANY of these mistakes?
You don’t have to. I’ve set aside some time to come to your home and assess the hail damage on your home, for free. And I can do it within 24 hours of receiving your request.
Here’s what you can expect.
I’ll arrive at a time of your choosing and get on your roof. I’ll conduct a thorough assessment of your roof, siding, windows and gutters.
I’ll take pictures of any damage I find so that you can see, in real time, the condition of your home.
I’ll then use that information to provide you a written quote, minutes after your inspection.
After that, I’ll listen to you and answer any questions you have about your hail damage or the claim process.
After I leave, one of four things will happen:
- The first possibility is that you have no damage. In which case, I will tell you there’s not enough damage to warrant a claim and I’ll be happy to have helped you.
- The second possibility is that you will compare our upfront, written quote to other roofing companies (if they give you one). *Remember to not show them any pricing information*
- The third possibility is that you have a damaged roof and decide to hire another company. This has literally never happened.
- The fourth possibility (and the most likely to happen) is that you have a damaged roof, feel great about your experience and choose American Pride Roofing as your contractor of choice.
Here’s my guarantee to you. You will not, at any point, be “sold.” You will not feel pressured to sign any documents. You will not be asked for your insurance paperwork. And you will not be harassed in any way.
You’ll simply have the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family, as it should be.
So you literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain.