5 Common Roofing Scams (And How To Spot Them)
If you find yourself in a position where you need a roof replacement, it’s essential that you know what to look out for with roofing scams. Scammers love to swoop in on unsuspecting homeowners when they’re at their most vulnerable. When you experience roof damage and are looking for a quick expert roof installation, that’s when the vultures like to swoop in.
That’s why we’re here to help you know the roof repair scams and ways to sidestep illegitimate roofing companies. When looking for complete roofing services, knowing how to spot a scammer can make the process a lot easier.
Who is Vulnerable to Roofing Scams?
There are a few demographics that scammers like to focus on.
Unfortunately, the elderly are often targeted by roofing scammers who think they can confuse them with enough jargon to let the scammer do whatever they want.
Areas affected by storms
An especially harsh storm can cause widespread damage. That means multiple people are eager to get their homes back in tip top shape. Scammers love to offer their services in the wake of severe storms, to those desperate for a quick solution.
Areas with older housing stock
Many areas with homes built before 1980 are susceptible to the schemes of scammers. The assumption is that older homes have roofs more easily damaged and therefore in need of fixing, and are owned by older people.
The Most Common Types of Roofing Scams
Some scammers rely on bad weather for the opportunity to offer their businesses to desperate homeowners. Florida is known for its major storms, with a long hurricane season, so be on the lookout for people who want to offer you their services to repair storm damage in the aftermath of serious weather.
Storm chasers will often try to convince homeowners that they can get a new roof with a huge discount if they only file an insurance claim. This leaves you liable to insurance fraud.
Scammers’ quality of work is always poor, and your roof will have half the life it would have if it was done with a legitimate roofing business. Filing a claim for roof damage with an insurance company through a scammer might seem logical and a certified way to cash in on your insurance policy, but don’t fall for a roofing scammer’s tricks.
Low starting bid
Some contractor scams operate by offering you a temptingly low price to work on your roof, a price that will often be far less than what reputable contractors would offer. It will seem like you struck bargain gold, until the price increases because of “unforseen problems” or inflated costs for cheap materials.
While roofing material costs can fluctuate, they shouldn’t change in the middle of a roofing project. True roofing professionals won’t switch up the price on you.
Picture this: you’ve just surveyed your roof for damage, and it seems fine. Then, lo and behold, a roofer comes knocking on your door, claiming that he or she couldn’t help but notice some roof damage.
They’ll point it out in vague terms, and emphasize that it’s a point of great concern. They’ll offer to do a roof inspection up there, and will come down looking all grim and proclaiming that it’s looking bad. Shady roofers will lie to your face about property damage. If anyone seeks you out, that is a red flag.
Roofing Insurance fraud
There’s more than one way a false contractor can try to cheat the insurance industry. A major method scammers use is to submit two invoices — a low one to the homeowner, and then one substantially higher to the actual insurance company.
This is fraud. If prosecuted, you could be facing significant legal costs and trouble. Some scamming contractors will even claim they’ll get enough money back from overbilling your insurance company to reimburse your insurance deductible.
Large down payment
An immediate sign of a roofing scammer is anyone who demands a large amount of money upfront before they begin work on your roof. You’ll never hear from these schemers again, and they’ll be long gone when you start to realize that something seems off.
It’s completely normal for roofing contractors to request a modest sum upfront as a down payment to guarantee their work on your roof. This is typically to cover the cost of materials. However, the sum they request should not exceed 20% of the projected overall bill. Anything over is a sign you’re about to get scammed.
How the Roofing scam works
Time and time again, homeowners fall prey to the schemes of dishonest roofers. These roof repair scams are all about timing. Many times you’re the most liable to be courted by scammers when you’re most vulnerable and eager to find a roofing contractor.
Scammers like to target budget-conscious homeowners who are hoping to avoid spending thousands of dollars on roofing repair. These roofing scammers like to seek out neighborhoods where the demographic is more elderly, areas with older housing stock, and areas most impacted by severe weather.
Fear is a powerful tool, one used by shady roofers all the time. They like to prey on people’s fears about the safety of their home or costly fees. Many people worry they cannot afford insurance costs, or that reputable companies doing roofing repairs will be out of their price range.
False roofing contractors will seem appealing because they work fast — but this is often because they need to move on before you get too suspicious. They also like to use low-grade materials and disappear soon after they’ve completed their work.
Roofing Contractor Scams Warning Signs
This is one of the BIGGEST red flags out there. If someone is offering you their business and they have no licensing to back it up, more than likely they’re there under false pretenses. Always ask for proof of a roofer’s qualifications and experience.
No permanent place of business
Any contractor with whom you work should have a physical address tied to their business. Be wary of anyone who lacks real address, phone number, or address that their services can be tied to.
A great rule of thumb is to not engage in any business with someone who insists a contract is unnecessary. Most roofing contractors worth their salt will offer you a contract. Pay attention to the stipulations and fine print so you’re not taken by surprise.
If someone is offering you a price on a roof that seems too good to be true, it probably is. A “one-day only deal” is more than likely an attempt to pressure you into using their services under the illusion that you need to take advantage of the narrow time window they provide.
Find Reputable Roofing Contractors. Set Up Your FREE Roof Estimate with Us
At Regal Roofing, we’re proud of our reputation for trustworthy, reliable and quality service. If you’d like to know just how much your roof repair fees will be, you can set up your free roof estimate today. Get a quotation from us! We’re here to help make your home safer and guard against anyone trying to scam you.
Remember to pay attention to the red flags listed above. You’ll be in good shape if you use our tricks to outsmart and outmaneuver the con artists — and protect your home.