In the roofing industry, you have good contractors, bad contractors, and those who fall somewhere in between. Homeowners are often tasked with exercising due diligence in researching and vetting contractors themselves. It can be tempting to simply go with the least expensive option. Unfortunately, when hiring a roofing contractor, you often get what you pay for. When hiring a great roofing contractor, you’ll need to be aware of the “Big 7” red flags.
If a roof is not properly installed or maintained, it will end up costing you way more money in the long run. Hiring a professional and experienced contractor in your area can save you money by sparing the need for secondary repair work or replacing shoddy materials. When you live in a subtropical area like Florida, strong workmanship and the right materials are key, as humidity can wreak havoc on a poor roofing job. Ready to start the hiring process today?
Here are the seven of the biggest red flags to look out for when hiring a roofing contractor.
#1 Storm Chasers
Areas prone to weather-related events such as hurricanes, humidity, and heavy rains, tend to boast more than a few “storm chasers.” Storm chasers are out-of-town roofers who show up to “work a storm” or weather-related events. They “work the storm” and then promptly leave town, rendering them unable and unwilling to service any kind of warranty they promised ahead of time. Most storm chasers do not offer roofing expertise, nor do they have the proper licenses to work in a given area. They jump into the roofing business because they see a significant chance to make some quick dough before heading out of town. These workers prey on those feeling vulnerable after sustaining damage to their roofs. When hiring a roofing contractor, always choose professionals who are located in your area and are known for the quality of their work. Avoid a storm chaser contractor who is not based in your local area. They will never have your best interests in mind.
#2 No Portfolio or References
When dealing with hot and unpredictable weather, you’re also dealing with professionals trying to take advantage of a large number of roofs in the area that need repair. Warm weather areas like Jacksonville tend to see a large number of “fly-by-night” roofing operations trying to score some quick cash off of vulnerable customers. A major red flag when hiring a roofing contractor is no past work to speak of. A reputable roofing contractor will always have references or a portfolio of prior jobs.
If a contractor is proud of the work they have done, they’ll have no problem supplying photos and videos of completed jobs. In addition to seeing a contractor’s past work, you should always ask for a list of references. Shady companies won’t supply references or will simply stop responding. Reputable contractors will always be more than willing to offer a list of happy clients you can call and speak to regarding the roofing contractor’s work.
#3 Contractors Who Ask for Money Up Front
If a contractor demands payment upfront, that can be a potential red flag. Elderly homeowners, in particular, are often targeted by scam companies who ask for payment upfront and then never actually return to complete the job. Believe it or not, this is the scam reported to local offices more than any other. A partial payment is generally not a cause for alarm, as many contractors require this in order to have materials delivered to the project location. However, if a contractor demands full payment prior to doing any work whatsoever, you may want to opt for a different contractor all together. Remember, never hand over a full payment or an insurance check to any roofing company.
#4 Pressure to Sign the Dotted Line
Contracts are typical when hiring a roofing contractor in Northern Florida. However, a reputable company knows that making a big repair purchase takes time. A homeowner needs the time and space to research, budget, and plan for the expense. A good contractor will always give you room to figure out whether or not you’re ready to take on a new project. This is why a major red flag is any company who vehemently pressures you to move forward, sign on the dotted line, or make any kind of commitment you may not be ready to make. Additionally, a contractor should always be willing to answer any questions you have regarding the project with total honesty. If a roofing contractor goes silent when you ask too many questions, it is a red flag that they’re not the right company for the job and may not have the experience they are touting.
#5 High-Pressure Sales Tactics
Humid regions tend to require roofing repairs more often than those in drier or more arid climates. This can give shoddy roofing companies the upper hand. Dishonest roofing contractors love to use manipulative schemes and tactics to get hired. One known scam is telling a homeowner that they recently had a customer cancel on the same street, therefore they can offer you a great deal if they can start work on your roof immediately. Others may claim work that isn’t theirs, by preying on those whose neighbors may have recently had a roof repaired or redone. Some red flag companies may ask you to sign a contract before creating a detailed bid and some will promise to start right away, so long as you make a deposit. If you sense high-pressure sales tactics at play, run the other way. Instead, try to find local roofing contractors in your area who boast the Owens Corning Platinum Certified Contractor classification. This guarantees quality workmanship and a solid reputation.
#6 Unrealistically Low Bids
With roofing contractors, you always get what you pay for. Unethical roofers will strive to tempt you with low and unrealistic estimates. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. The hope is that you’ll take the bait and sign a contract fast. This method leaves little time for homeowners to pick up on potential loopholes or limited work scope. Once your roof is torn off, don’t be surprised if these awful companies find additional “damage” that was ironically not covered in the contract.
#7 Exaggerated Damage Claims
Regions prone to storm damage can definitely fall victim to roofers offering up exaggerated damage claims. Less than reputable roofing contractors will go in and exaggerate the extent of the damage done to your roof in an attempt to get you to schedule a full replacement. Even if your roof has several years remaining on its lifespan with good repairs, they will only work with you if you agree to a full roof replacement. A reliable roofing contractor will always give you a fair assessment of the condition of your roof and make recommendations that are in line with the age of your roof and its overall condition. They will also provide you with all information necessary to make an informed decision without pressure tactics or contingency contracts.
When hiring a roofing contract, keep these red flags in mind and always stay within your local area. Not only will a local roofing contractor know how to best repair or replace your roof based on weather conditions, but they will have a reputation throughout the region that they are looking to uphold. Avoid storm chasers or anyone who demands payment upfront or who can’t back up their claims of experience.
About Prime Roofing
Prime Roofing is dedicated to being the best Jacksonville FL roofers through consistently high quality work, competitive pricing, and superior customer service and protocols. We offer free estimates, just leave us your information at our request form page.