Four Tips to protect yourself
Martha Morales has had a difficult couple of years. Last year she nearly lost her home to foreclosure but she was just barely able to save her home by working long hours to keep a roof over her four children’s heads. Then this year, she noticed that her roof was leaking. She got a number of estimates all for around $10,000. Then she found a roofer who claimed he could do the work for half. Thinking she was getting a great deal, she paid him the $5,000 up front and the roofing work began. Unfortunately, just one week into the project, the roofer and his sole employee vanished with her money never to be seen again. A little investigative work on Martha’s part revealed that the roofer was never licensed to begin with and that he had pulled similar roofing scams in other communities. Now she still has a leaking roof and is out $5,000 and doesn’t know how she will afford the repairs.
Unfortunately, this story is all too common. Though the majority of roofers are legitimate, licensed business people, there is no shortage of fly-by-night roofers who either intentionally scam people, or simply lack the motivation to finish the work they start. To prevent this from happening to you, here are four tips to protect yourself when having roofing work done.
Look out for suspiciously low bids
A reputable roof knows what their services are worth. Even if you get several estimates, the range in bids shouldn’t be too great. If there is an outlier on the low end of the spectrum, for instance a roofer that offers to do the same work for half the price other roofers are asking, that is a bad sign. Likely, the roofer knows their work will be of lower quality or the roofer has no intention of finishing the work to begin with.
Check with the BBB or local chamber of commerce
Many communities keep tabs on construction workers and roofers to prevent scams. You can check with your local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if a given roofer is registered with them. The BBB keeps a record of complaints brought against companies and whether or not they were resolved.
Ask for credentials
In most communities, roofers are required to have a roofing license which proves they have the proper training. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a roofer’s credentials. Any reputable roofer will have a license, the proper building permits for roofing work, and insurance to protect their employees and your property.
Never pay upfront
Finally, never pay upfront. The majority of roofers don’t take payment until after the work is completed. Though not every roofer who asks for payment upfront is out to scam you, the risk is certainly higher. Play it safe and hold onto your money until the work has been completed.
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