Do you know how to spot a roofing scam? If you’re in the market for a new roof—or any major home-improvement project—it pays to know what to expect from the process and from your contractor. Go into the process blind, and you could end up losing tens of thousands of dollars in damages, stolen funds, fines, and other losses. It’s a scary prospect, to be sure, but spotting the signs of a roofing scam is easy if you know what to look for. Here are five ways to tell the difference between a scam artist and a reputable roofing company.
#1 INITIAL CONTACT
BAD: An NJ roofing contractor contacts you out of the blue and offers you a deal on a new roof
GOOD: You ask a neighbor for a referral and she gives you website for a local NJ roofer, who you contact for a free estimate
A reputable NJ roofing contractor will never call you up with an unsolicited offer on a new roof. Reputable roofing companies work hard to build an online presence as well as a solid customer base of satisfied customers. They may use targeted marketing techniques, such as online and billboard advertising, but they’ll never use cold-calling tactics.
#2 START DATE
BAD: A roofer meets with you today and tells you he can start the job tomorrow
GOOD: Your roofing contractor explains that he/she will schedule your roofing job for a date in the near future—often a few weeks from now
Because a roofing company almost always has a number of other customer jobs to complete before it can begin yours, it’s virtually impossible to expect that your roofer could start tomorrow. Even if the company is a start-up and has no backlog of customers, it takes time to order materials and schedule laborers. Any NJ roofing contractor that claims it can begin work tomorrow or even within a couple of days is likely disreputable.
BAD: A contractor offers you a cash-only deal: pay 100% upfront and he’ll slash 30% off the total price of the project.
GOOD: Your NJ roofing contractor asks you for 1/3 to ½ upfront to cover the cost of materials. He/she accepts a variety of payment options, including credit cards.
A shady roofing contractor is likely to ask you for cash up front—so he or she can take the money and run. A trusted roofer will request a down payment to cover the cost of materials, but he/she will never ask you to pay the entire balance before the project is complete. While you can use cash to pay for home-improvement projects, a debit or credit card will often offer you purchase protection. Many reputable roofing contractors will also accept checks and may even often offer third-party financing. No matter what, do not pay the final balance on the project until you have confirmed that the job has been completed to your satisfaction.
#4 HANDSHAKE DEAL
BAD: Your roofer is a local guy who grew up in the area. He knows your aunt’s friend’s cousin, so he suggests a simple handshake agreement in order to start your roofing project.
GOOD: You may have never met your roofer before, but two of your neighbors have used the company and were very satisfied. Your roofer draws up a professional, legal contract that tells you exactly what to expect, when to expect it, what materials will be used, and how much it will cost.
A reputable roofing company would never consider doing a job on a handshake basis—even for a friend. A contract provides vital protection for both parties and should never be considered too much of a formality. Your contract will help you understand exactly what to expect from the reroofing process, which will help to ensure the project runs smoothly and that both parties are satisfied with the end result.
BAD: Your roofer doesn’t have references, the proper registration, or insurance, and tells you to pull the permits for the job.
GOOD: Your NJ roofing contractor provides you with as many references as you’d like, readily produces his/her NJ Home Improvement Contractor registration number and proof of insurance, and assures you that all necessary permits will be obtained.
It’s absolutely essential that you request and call at least five references prior to hiring a roofing company. You should also verify that the company is properly registered and carries adequate insurance as well as confirm that your roofer will be obtaining the permits needed to complete the job. If the proper permits aren’t pulled, this could mean BIG trouble when you try to sell your house. You could be fined or even forced to redo the work after it’s complete.
FINDING THE RIGHT MATCH
A disreputable roofing company could take your money and run. It might do a shoddy, half-hearted, and possibly unsafe job of reroofing your home. It might cut corners, fail to pull permits, or not carry enough insurance, which could cause tremendous problems now–or even years down the road. While you might save money by choosing to work with that roofer who knocked on your door last week, it could end up costing you much more in the long run.
This is why it pays to know how to spot the signs of a roofing scam. Know what questions to ask and what to expect from your roofing company. You can learn more about the reroofing process by reading some of our other blog posts. If you have any questions or are ready to reroof your home, give George J Keller and Sons a call today at 973-927-0963. We’ve been in business for nearly 40 years and have thousands of satisfied customers!