It’s a common enough story. There’s a massive storm. The next day everyone in the neighborhood is clearing debris. People are getting on their roofs to look for damage. It’s harrowing, but you know that everyone has to deal with the aftermath, and you will too. While you’re wondering just how bad the damage is to your own house is, someone shows up and offers to fix your roof. They have a special deal going to help everyone recover from the storm.
If you’re ever in this situation, your alarm bells need to be ringing. There’s a good chance you’re dealing with a fly-by-night roofer, which could take the aftermath of a storm and make it much worse.
What Is a Fly-by-Night Roofer?
This is a designation for a bad group of people. There are roofers — or so-called roofers — who tend to go door to door after a major storm trying to sell roofing services. They will usually promise a great price, but there’s a huge catch. They are often uninsured and are likely to do work of such poor quality that it can be dangerous.
Fly-by-night roofers are opportunists looking to exploit a bad situation to make money by doing shoddy work. In some cases, they are outright scammers. Any roofer you would classify as fly-by-night is a roofer to avoid. At best, they are untrustworthy. At worst, they will cause harm.
How to Spot Fly-by-Night Scams
Knowing that scams are out there is only the first step in defending yourself. You need to be able to distinguish real roofers from opportunists. The good news is that it isn’t that hard to do. Real roofers have ways for you to seek them out when you need help. They compete for visibility, and they don’t have to go door to door. In addition to that, there are four red flags that can help you spot the fly-by-night scam before it costs you.
The Large Down Payment
One of the scariest signs that you’re dealing with a scammer is the requirement for a large down payment. The total cost of service might be low, but you have to pay a huge chunk of it upfront. The roofer that needs an abnormally large down payment is more likely to take the money and run without doing anything. They also might be so bad at their own business that they can’t afford to get started on your roof without that down payment. Both are huge red flags.
Conversely, you have some scammers who offer to pay your insurance deductible for you. This is not a legitimate business practice and is a sure sign that something is amiss.
This sign applies to scammers and bad roofers. In either case, if their business is not insured, they can’t safely work on your roof. Even the best roofers in the world are likely to have a mishap eventually. If that happens when an uninsured roofer is working on your house, then you have to pay for everything — including personal injury.
Any time you doubt a business, inspect their insurance credentials. Having insurance is a bare-minimum requirement for legally conducting business.
You already know this. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. This is as true for roofing as anything else in this world. When someone comes to your door after a storm and offers you a basement price for repair, you should ask why. Usually, fly-by-night roofers offer such low prices because they are severely cutting corners. Your roof will pay the price for that in the end.
Lack of Knowledge
You don’t have to be a roofing expert to spot a fake. If they’re real contractors who know their trade, they should be able to explain things in clear terms. They don’t need to hide behind obscure terminology to answer your questions. They don’t have to direct you away from warranty information or payment packages. A real contractor can lay it all out in overt language that you can fully understand. In fact, real, honest contractors want you to understand what is happening. They want you to have a clear idea of why they are making recommendations and what your choices mean to you. It’s an important part of customer satisfaction and avoiding complaints. If your roofer is unable to make things clear to you, they shouldn’t be your roofer. That’s true even if they are a legitimate business.
No matter the situation, when your roof needs expert attention, you can call Bert Roofing Inc. at 214-307-8142 or contact us online. We’ve been in the Dallas area for ages, and we’d be happy to inspect your roof. We’ll let you know what it needs, and we’ll make sure you fully understand all of your options.