Central Texas roofs must withstand a great deal of abuse. Plentiful bright, cloudless days offer the potential for damage from UV rays, frequent hailstorms pummel rooftops, high winds can carry surprisingly heavy objects that impact with roofs or blow off shingles, and tree limbs can fall onto roofs as a result of high winds, insect damage or ice. Since the average homeowner only replaces a roof once or twice during his or her lifetime, many people are unfamiliar with the process. Unfortunately, scammers are aware of this fact, so they often take various approaches to take advantage of inexperienced homeowners.
What Are Five Common Roofing Scams?
Just like online hackers, scammers are continually refining and improving their tactics. However, unlike those who develop viruses and new hacking methods, roofing scammers seldom invent a new way to separate unsuspecting homeowners from their money. Instead, they tend to work on perfecting their spiels so that every statement they make seems convincing and reasonable. This can make it harder for you to spot a scam, but if you notice any of the following red flags, you should suspect that you are dealing with a scammer.
1. They use high-pressure sales tactics. They offer an on-the-spot quote, but they tell you that it is only valid if you sign the contract while they are there. They tell you that the demand for their roofing services is so great that they will not be able to fit your job into their schedule unless you sign a contract immediately. They sit down in your home and refuse to leave; they keep pressuring you to commit. No trustworthy roof company uses these types of tactics.
2. They show up at your door unexpectedly. Quite often, they tell you that they noticed some hail damage and offer to conduct a free roof inspection. Do not allow them to do an inspection. Many of these door-to-door salespeople are skilled at inflicting damage to justify an insurance claim, or they will lie about the extent of the damage. As a rule, if you did not call the roofer, do not deal with him.
3. They claim to be from a company you suspect is not local. Soon after a major hailstorm inflicts damage over a significant part of a city, gypsy roofers typically descend on the area. These storm chasers are often unlicensed and uninsured, and you can count on them to move on as soon as they receive payment for their work. They have no reason to perform high-quality work because you will never be able to find them by the time you realize that there is a problem with your new roof. Signs of a storm chaser include out-of-state license plates on their vehicles and phone numbers that include area codes that are not local.
4. They demand a substantial down payment. There are several reasons that this is usually a scam. First of all, an established roofing company does not need your money to purchase materials or pay workers to start your job, and they will not require a down payment. However, if you are requesting a highly unusual customized product, some roofers may ask you for an advance, so you should not automatically assume that you are being scammed if this is the case. Otherwise, if you give roofer cash or a check to cover most or all of the price at the time you sign a contract, the chances are excellent that you will never see the roofer again. Even if the roofer plans to complete the work, he may not be in much of a hurry to return.
5. The cost increases after work have started. Austin homeowners whose roofs have suffered major damage are often looking to save money and get the work completed quickly, so when a roof company submits an extremely low bid, they may jump on it. After starting work, the roofer claims to have uncovered additional damage or states that the manufacturer raised prices unexpectedly. Roofing companies receive advance notice of price increases, so a change in the price they pay for materials is not a valid reason for hiking your price in the middle of a job. Furthermore, competent roofers seldom miss damage; a possible exception would be damage to the roof’s decking that is only revealed after the existing materials are removed, and your contract should include a line item describing how much the price will increase if such damage is found.
At Alpha Roofing, we abhor the tactics that scammers employ against unsuspecting homeowners. We are a reputable, respected, experienced residential and commercial roofing company serving Austin and customers in Central Texas. We have an impeccable reputation that has been built through hard work, honesty, and exemplary craftsmanship. Our roofing services include the installation of metal roofs, asphalt shingles, flat roofs, skylights, and we repair roofs, chimneys, and flashing. We offer roofing preventive maintenance programs, metal fabrication, roof inspection services, and moss removal as well as an extensive range of commercial roofing services. If you would like a quote, submit our online form or call 512-777-1086.