We learn early on in life that not everybody plays by the rules, and when we grow up and become property owners, sometimes we learn those lessons again. Unfortunately, there are contractors out there who choose to get ahead by cutting corners and deceiving customers. In the worst cases, you may not even know you’ve been duped until the roofer is long gone or the work falls apart. At Pacific West Roofing, we want to make sure you never have to worry about the integrity of your roofer. Here are four shady schemes to watch for when getting roof work done on your home or commercial building.
1. The Bait and Switch
To help property owners make quick and easy decisions, contractors sometimes offer roofing materials in packages based on quality, e.g. high-quality package A, medium-quality package B, and base-quality package C. In this scenario, a dishonest roofer might sell a customer on the top-quality package, but then use lower grade materials without their knowledge. A roofer might also sell the base-quality package, then wait until the point of no return to tell you that those products are discontinued or unavailable, sneakily forcing you into paying for upgrades. Either way, you get cheated and the contractor gets rich.
2. Cutting Corners
By skimping in lots of small ways, contractors can save quite a bit of money in overhead. They’ll try to reduce labor time and/or material cost as much as possible— at the expense of quality craftsmanship— to increase their profit margins. One of the most common offenses involves using fewer materials. They might use fewer fasteners and install fewer shingles than codes and manufacturers recommend, which would leave your home incredibly vulnerable to wind damage. When the wind comes in and blows off a loose shingle or piece of flashing, damage from leaks and pests are likely as well. Using fewer materials and omitting prep work also allows a contractor to put on a roof in record time. This may benefit your schedule, but no amount of expediency will be worth it if you have to get their shoddy work re-done.
3. Overcharging for Materials
When you invest in big-ticket home improvements, like a roof, it’s smart to familiarize yourself with the cost of materials. Check to see which manufacturers or suppliers your roofer works with, and inquire directly about their pricing. Then, ask your roofer if he plans to mark up the materials, and if so, include a cap in your contract. If you’re still feeling suspicious you could even request receipts for purchases and ask for credit on anything he returns. You won’t run the risk of being cheated a single dollar on materials.
4. Skipping Town
The best, most trustworthy contractors are those who have been working in town for decades. They have brick-and-mortar offices, a good standing with the BBB, and a long list of happy customers. A lot of times, these companies don’t have the “newness” that people are drawn to, like a flashy logo and brand new trucks. That’s not to say those things are signs of a shady contractor. But, if a nice guy comes knocking on your door (especially after a storm) representing a new roofing company with fresh, glossy brochures, you’d be wise to turn him down. This roofer out of Colorado was even offering to pay insurance deductibles and file claims on the homeowner’s behalf, and then skipped town after getting paid upfront by several unsuspecting customer. Their website is no longer active and the registered owner is no where to be found.
This is a clear-cut reason to always research potential contractors, and choose the professionals who’ve built a great reputation on years of local service.
How To Protect Yourself from Roofing Scams
First, be sure to ask your contractor lots of questions, especially if somethings seems “off.” The right contractor won’t be inconvenienced by offering more information.
You can protect yourself from the bait and switch by including a specific agreement in your contract. Suggest to your roofer that if any product included in your package should become unavailable, a comparable product will be used. If not, ask that upgrades be used at no additional cost.
As the project is carried out, make yourself available as often as possible to inspect the work. Look at things like fastener spacing and note whether the construction looks sloppy or neat. If you aren’t confident that you would be able to spot improper practices, ask a savvy friend or family member or even a professional consultant to inspect your roof as it’s completed. A good contractor will be happy to show their work at any stage of the project.
Being scammed on costly home repairs can be devastating. You’re out hard-earned money and your property still needs help. Avoid these scams by choosing Pacific West Roofing for your next roof project. Contact us today for a fee estimate! Call 503-635-8706 or send us an email.