It seems that in recent years, scams of all types have increased dramatically. The roofing industry has certainly had its share of scammers, crooks and fraudsters. Although many people believe that roofing scams are something that only happen in other cities — or to other people — they do actually happen in Austin. Furthermore, they can happen to people with all education levels and income as well as to people of all ages. Here are some tips to protect yourself from roofing scams.
Beware of Storm Chasers
It is not uncommon for Central Texas to be battered by hail or high winds. Storm chasers, sometimes called gypsy roofers, pay keen attention to weather reports. When they find a hard-hit area, they swoop in for what they feel will be easy money. Once they have milked an area for all that they can get, they move on to the next storm-ravaged area. Storm chasers often use the cheapest materials, cut a lot of corners, have no insurance and may not even have a permanent phone number or address. This leaves you with no one to call if the work was sub-par and an issue develops with your roof.
Beware of Down Payments
Another popular scam that fraudsters like to perpetuate is to insist on a down payment at the time a contract is signed. The chances are excellent that you will never see the scammer again — or your money. There are occasions when a legitimate contractor may require a down payment, but it is a rare practice, especially if your roof is covered by insurance. Under no circumstances should you pay for the entire job in advance; even without out-and-out fraud, advance payments can mean that your job gets moved down the list of priorities.
Beware of Changes to Your Estimate
It is true that additional damage can be discovered after the old roof is removed. However, experienced contractors will walk your roof to identify potential soft spots or other signs of damaged decking. Most of the time, they know within a board or two how much decking is going to need replacement. Normally, they will include a clause in your contract stating how much they will charge if additional repairs are needed. Many contractors will not even charge you if the additional work is minor.
Beware of Door-to-Door Roofers
Not every salesman who knocks on your door is a scammer. Many legitimate contractors allow door-to-door solicitation. However, going door-to-door is a favorite practice of storm chasers and scammers. You need to know whom you are hiring, so you will be better off to call local companies for an estimate.
Beware of High-Pressure Tactics
Reputable roofing contractors know that you are probably going to obtain more than one estimate and that you need time to compare estimates, investigate the companies or consult your spouse. They will not “twist your arm” to get you to sign a contract on the spot. Fraudsters, however, will do the opposite. They will tell you that the estimate is “only good today” or that your safety is at risk if you do not act immediately. Cross these contractors off your list.
Choose Alpha Roofing
Your interests will be served best by dealing with a reputable, established roofing contractor. At Alpha Roofing, we have earned an exceptional reputation over the more than 30 years that we have been providing services to Central Texas customers. We offer roof replacements and repairs, install skylights and siding, and provide many other roof-related services. You can call (512) 777-1086 to request an estimate, or just send us the details using our convenient online form.