14 May 15 DIRTY SECRETS ROOFING COMPANIES DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW
DO NOT BE FOOLED!
Are you having to meet with roofers?
Is the entire process getting on your nerves yet?
Does it feel like something just isn’t right, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is?
Listen to your gut. It’s trying to warn you that something is not right.
Finding an honest roofer (among so many self-proclaimed roofing companies) and one with enough hands on experience to really know what they are doing, will be the hardest and most important decision you will make during this process.
Do not be fooled. The people being sent to your home are not roofers. They are commission sales people and middlemen all after your insurance claim.
Unlike every other home service, a roof replacement is the one home service that can and will come back to cost you thousand’s, if it is not installed 100% correct by a “real roof installer” who knows first hand what they are doing.
Unfortunately, the Dallas/Fort Worth roofing industry is crawling with insurance scammers, sales people and middlemen, all after your insurance money. These individuals know nothing about installing a quality roof system.
They will have excellent hustle skills at saying everything just right and will appear to be a safe choice.
However, with a little probing you can quickly see through all of the smoke and mirrors to find the truth.
We have written a slew of previous blogs about this very situation in the past.
As we continue to do our part, warning our DFW neighbors to beware of this growing problem, this post is another effort from the HonestRoof.com team to help you make a wise choice concerning such a major investment for your home.
Here is a list of 15 dirty secrets that roofing contractors do not want you to know:
1. INSURANCE CLAIMS ARE NOT HARD.
Opposite of what you may think or what you are being told, insurance claims are not hard. You do not need a sales person or middleman handling your claim for you.
Handle your insurance claim means = They will be keeping all of your insurance money for themselves. There are a lot of different ways that sales people try to convince you to allow them to handle everything on your behalf.
The most frequent we hear from homeowners most is that several of the so called “roofers” that visited with them said that they would handle their claim for them, get all the work done at no out of pocket expense and give the homeowner a thousand dollars back under the table.
This my sound like a great deal. However, it’s really like saying, Hey, if you let me steal all of your insurance claims money and rip off your insurance company, I’ll give you a thousand dollars back, OF YOUR OWN MONEY….. Ooohhh!! Wow! Thank you!
There is one thing that nearly all homeowners seem to not fully understand. Your insurance claims money, IS YOUR MONEY! Why would you allow a contractor to simply walk up and swoop your entire budget into their pockets.
This is not the correct way to hire a contractor. Nearly all of the complaints received against poor roofing work were because of shady deals made just like this.
Homeowners should always demand “written estimates” upfront from any contractor being considered for hire. A contractor’s written estimate speaks volumes to what kind of work they are doing. Vague or cookie cutter contracts are great at foreshadowing the type of work and service they will deliver.
Well written, “detailed” thorough estimates, are almost always a great sign that you are dealing directly with an actual installer and not a middleman.
A true hands on roof installer should always be able to produce a well written estimate on their own.
Another great sign is when a roofer can produce a well written estimate while at your property. Having to email you later or talk to someone else first, almost always means you are dealing with a middleman or commission salesperson.
2. THE ROOFING COMPANY IS NOT LOCAL
Choosing a local roofing company is a very important step towards avoiding storm chasing scammers who are only after your insurance money.
However, local doesn’t always mean from your “immediate area”.
For example, HonestRoof.com is located in Arlington TX, but we actually service a 90 mile radius around our office.
If you live in the Dallas Fort Worth area, by local we mean a local Dallas Fort Worth Roofing Company. Avoid companies that claim to services multiple states. Multistate advertising is a sure sign they are chasing hail storms.
When hiring a roof installer, you want to know that they will be around if something goes wrong down the line either with the work or with the shingle materials being used.
There is no shortage of roofing contractors that pop up after every hail and wind storm, especially in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Many of whom may claim to already be working on other roofs in your neighborhood.
This may or may not be true. However, even if they are working in your area, it does not mean they are right for you. Homeowners are taken advantage off every day. Don’t be one of them.
The first step is to ask where their office is located, review their website and obtain their phone number. You will need this information later for your research.
If they are reluctant or hesitant about providing you this information, you are most likely dealing with a scammer. However, even if they do provide this information, do not trust them just yet.
Next, try a quick Google search. (Example, “John Doe Roofing Complaints” or “John Doe Roofing Rip Off Report”)
This one thing, has saved a lot of homeowners a lot of money and aggravation. We are told daily by homeowners just how close they were to hiring a middleman, sales person or scam company before googling their company name and finding their complaints.
Homeowners today are doing a fantastic job of posting their negative experiences online for all to see.
With a 2-minute search you can quickly determine what type of work they are doing and if the information they are providing you is valid.
Next, does Google recognize them. An established roofing company will have a multitude of page links from other various online sites that google recognizes for you to see.
However, if Google doesn’t know them or they do not have multiple online sources that recognizes them, it’s a pretty safe bet that they are not a legitimate company and you probably should not be doing business with them.
3. THE ROOFING COMPANY DOES NOT HAVE A PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE
Lets face it, the world we live in today can be pretty scary. Trust is a huge issue.
Pretty much anyone in business today should have a website to let their customers know who they are, where they are located and what services they provide.
If a roofing contractor tells you that they do not have a website or they are working on it, they probably do not deserve your trust. They are either just getting started or they are hiding something.
In either case, you don’t want to trust them with something as complex as a new roof installation for your home! It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.
We have read a lot of customer complaints recently stating homeowners were given a website URL by contractors that “redirected” them to a free ‘Google Site’ page. This gave the appearance the roofer was legitimate when in fact they were not. As soon as the money was collected, the google site was pulled down and the contractor disappeared with the money.
These sites are usually easily identified as poorly done or as basic as they can be.
For true verification you will want to see more then just a website page. Google should immediately recognize a legitimate roofing company and display other links from other online sources for you to scroll down the page and view.
If not, then this is usually the first sign that you are not dealing with an established local company.
4. THEIR ONLINE REVIEWS ARE NOT POSITIVE
There are literally thousands of storm chasers all over the Dallas/Fort Worth area calling themselves roofers.
Most of them may even actually have a presence online with a proper website and even social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even Yelp, Google and Bing.
However, a large number of these contractors are also doing a lot of work to hide their online deficiencies from you.
The one thing a roofing contractor cannot fake is the experience of their previous customers. Especially, when customers have a negative experience.
An upset customers will go far out of their way to write a negative review against a roofing company they were not happy with. As mentioned above, a quick complaint search can easily eliminate contractors you should avoid. For the amount of money you are about to spend, why use a contractor with even one complaint against them?
Checking online customer reviews is the absolute best way to learn more about the roofing contractor you are considering for hire.
Angie’s List, Good Contractors List and Facebook are all taking money from contractors and can easily be manipulated with faked customer reviews.
However, companies like “Google”, “Better Business Bureau” and “Rip Off Report” are the top 3 online places to find real customer complaints and customer reviews that cannot be faked.
If a roofing company has even one legitimate complaint against them, it shows the roofing company was either not willing to do anything possible to please their customer, does poor work or does not deliver on their promises.
Roof systems are far to expensive to trust to a roofing contractor with even “one customer complaint”.
You are not going into a restaurant to have a meal. Someone is about to tear off the entire roof that protects your home.
If you’re going to spend that much money, why not go with a roofing company with “No Customer Complaints”.
It’s your money. Why risk it. Nothing personal. Just business.
5. A REPUTABLE ROOFING COMPANY NEVER ASKS FOR A DEPOSIT
This is probably the roofing contractor’s biggest dirty little secret….and you should never fall prey to this.
In today’s times, no legitimate contractor should ever expect for homeowners to pay a deposit or any money down, until ALL of the work is 100% complete.
However, many Dallas Fort Worth roofing contractors are in fact requesting money up front to cover their material costs.
This should be viewed as an immediate red flag.
There are literally thousands of roofing horror stories all over the internet of roofing contractors taking the customers deposit and either stringing them along, demanding more money as time goes on, spending the money on other projects, becoming over extended or just running off with the money all together, never to return.
A legitimate established roofing company will have the funds to cover all material and labor costs to complete the repairs or replacement, without asking you for a deposit.
ABSOLUTLEY NEVER, FOR ANY REASON, PAY A ROOFER UNTIL ALL WORK IS 100% COMPLETE AND YOU ARE 100% SATISFIED.
6. THE ROOFING COMPANY HAS NO GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
Workman’s Compensation insurance covers the employees working on your property; general liability insurance covers your actual property.
Most roofing contractors do not have either.
Even if they have Workman’s Compensation insurance, it doesn’t help you as a homeowner if the roofer accidentally damages your house while on your roof.
If not properly insured, it could be you that is responsible for the cost of the repairs.
When it comes to insurance, don’t simply take the roofer’s word for it.
Be certain about the roofer’s credibility; ask them to provide proof of their insurance. If they fail to provide you with the proof, you shouldn’t be doing business with them.
7. A LEGITIMATE ROOFING COMPANY WILL ALWAYS PROVIDE A WRITTEN UPFRONT ESTIMATE OF THEIR OWN.
There is a huge problem with this in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Only scammers want to avoid written estimates.
You call what you think is a roofing company and ask for an appointment for an estimate. But…what shows up is a sales person or middleman, with no hands on installation experience of their own.
Their #1 goal is to convince you that claims are hard and that you need them to handle your insurance claim for you.
The next step is to avoid giving you an upfront written estimate of their own. Why? Because they want to take over your insurance claim from the beginning and keep all of the money for themselves.
Giving you an estimate of their own could leave insurance money left over for you to keep. They want all of the money. Not some of it.
Taking a long hard look at a roofers written estimate is the first step to finding the real roof installer and will speak volumes as to what kind of roofing company you are dealing with.
To do that, you will need to gather a no pressure written estimate to be studied on your own time without a salesperson breathing down your neck.
It is important that you see in detailed writing exactly what products will be used, how they will protect your property and how long they are willing to be legally on the hook for their work.
Any one that tries to avoid giving you with a written estimate should immediately be considered a SCAM.
*The roofer you are dealing with is not a true hands-on roof installer and does not possess the knowledge and experience necessary to prepare a real written roof estimate of their own.
*They are a sales person in disguise and have been trained to take over your insurance claim.
*They do not want to leave any of your insurance money on the table. They want it all.
Middlemen roofing companies train salespeople on how to “TAKE OVER YOUR INSURANCE CLAIM”.
Allowing them to get involved in your claim from the very beginning will pave the road to a huge payday.
Bottom Line: Handling your insurance claim for you, allows them to keep all of “your” insurance money.
An actual, legitimate, hands-on roofing company should always be able to prepare a thorough and detailed written estimate of their own. They should never ask to see your insurance papers.
8. THEY CUT CORNERS ON ROOFING MATERIALS AND VENTILATION VENTS
We are told pretty much on a daily basis that we are hired simply because we include free lifetime laminated shingle upgrades and attic ventilation upgrades, on every job sold.
When our competitors are asked about upgrading their shingles and attic vents, the customers are told it would cost them an extra $1,000 to $2,000 or more.
In fact, the products most of our competitors are recommending are typically the cheapest they can get with on going class action law suits against product failure.
Which shingle product you choose should be an extremely important decision. Buyer beware!
There are a lot of different opinions out there regarding which shingle products are the best. However, the truth is only an actual hands on roofer, that has experience installing all shingle products on a daily basis with their own back and two hands, can truthfully say which shingle is the best.
Unfortunately, most shingle recommendations are based on profit. Not what is actually best for you or your home.
Because of this, many homeowners are missing out on opportunities to install a higher quality roof on their homes while they have the insurance money to do it.
Another very important aspect of installing a quality roof is properly ventilating the attic space.
This is yet another major opportunity being missed by a lot of homeowners simply because they are listening to a greedy sales person or middleman who has no hands on experience of their own.
Proper attic ventilation is imperative to any shingle roof systems longevity. Unfortunately, many homeowners are not being told the truth about their attic ventilation simply so the roofing contractor can keep more of the money.
Giving up any of your insurance money towards an upgrade of any kind means less money in the roofing companies pocket.
This can and will have a negative impact on your product warranty and over all lifespan of the roof.
Most shingle manufacturing companies will not extend a warranty when the roof has been installed without the proper attic ventilation system or if the roof was installed improperly.
Make sure you examine your contracts and material information very carefully.
Most material manufactures post their warranty information and details on their websites.
A good roofing contractor will not mind a customer who asks questions because they will have nothing to hide. Check your material list against the warranty requirements and make sure nothing is missing.
9. THEY ARE RIPPING OFF YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
There are many ways shady roofers try to rip-off homeowners and insurance companies.
When a homeowner believes they have received damage to their home or business as a result of wind, hail or other storm related forces, the first step is usually to call their insurance company to file a claim.
By the way, you might be interested in learning a few tricks of filing your insurance claims correctly. Here is a blog we published recently to help you with the aspects of filing your roofing insurance claim.
However, be careful! To keep their own costs down some insurance companies are attempting to send out their own roofing contractors to inspect the damage on the insurance companies behalf.
The payment amount to you is often heavily influenced by the information provided by their roofing contractor. For this reason, it is highly recommend that homeowners always get their own independent estimates from local contractors that you find on your own and keep your insurance situation private.
It doesn’t end there. From here you will want to keep a close eye on anything being charged to your insurance company.
Shady contractors will add products and add-ons to their estimates that are not truly needed simply to maximize the claim. They will then charge your insurance company for things you do not need or they did not do, in order to get extra money for your job.
They may also tell you they need to do things in order to meet city code, when the code actually doesn’t require it. These contractors will sometimes bid your job with premium products that cost extra and actually install contractor grade products while pocketing the difference.
You may also be asked to submit paperwork to your insurance company with one total declared, but then be asked to sign a contract with with a different total and promise to split the difference. This is a clear case of insurance fraud they are persuading homeowners to commit.
As an honest roofing company, we do not engage in such activities. Our estimates are completely independent of what insurance companies pay to homeowners, thus we keep our estimates honest and genuinely legitimate.
10. ROOFERS FAILING TO INSTALL YOUR ROOF ACCORDING TO CODE
Most cities and municipalities have their own building codes that should be followed for any major construction project, including a roof replacement.
Some roofing contractors take shortcuts by not declaring the work they are doing with local authorities. This may appear to you that they are avoiding red tape, but it’s not a good practice.
It is always better to follow the rules, so that you don’t have to face the negative consequences down the road. It may cost you a little extra and a bit of inconvenience, but it’s worth it since you are in compliance with the code of your community and local government agency.
Insist to your contractor that you want things done to your cities code requirements. Make sure permits are included in your estimates and that the roofing contractor is aware of and following all of the necessary requirements for your project.
11. THEIR ROOFING WORKMANSHIP WARRANTY IS INADEQUATE
Imagine you hired a roofing company to replace your roof. The job is done and everything looks great. Then, a few months or few years later the shingles begin to blow off or water begins to leak inside the home.
You call the roofing company to explain your issue, only to be told, “Your warranty is expired, or your warranty does not cover the labor workmanship”.
This happens every single day in our area. What does this mean to you? MORE MONEY OUT OF YOUR POCKET!
A lot of roofing contracts do not cover labor workmanship issues or if they do it is only for a very short amount of time.
DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE WORDS LIFETIME WARRANTY. Lifetime is referring to the manufactures warranty on the actual shingle itself. Not the labor or how it was installed.
Manufactures warranty issues are extremely rare are always prorated. This is hardly ever the reason why your roof is leaking.
99% of roof leaks reported each year in Dallas/Fort Worth are a result of poor installation work.
Pay very close attention to the length of the LABOR WARRANTY on your estimates. This is one line item that will sperate the rel roof installers from the middlemen.
You will most likely have to look closely to find this information on your estimates. It is almost always buried or hidden within the fine print somewhere. If you cannot find the labor/workmanship warranty information you must ask the contractor to put it in writing.
The average contractor that does offer a labor workmanship warranty, typically only ranges between 2 to 10 years maximum.
This means, if your roof starts to leak due to a bad installation after your warranty expires, you are on your own and will have to pay for all repairs yourself. Most roof systems begin to leak between 5 to 10 years of age.
It is important to know what you are buying. Knowing that includes the warranty of both types – manufacturer’s warranty and labor workmanship warranty.
If a roofing company is not providing a workmanship warranty that should be a huge red flag. If your roofer is giving only 2 to 10 years of workmanship or labor warranty, that is not sufficient as well. You should look elsewhere.
At HonestRoof.com we back all roof installations with a written 20 years leak free labor workmanship warranty guarantee.
12. ROOFERS SHOW URGENCY TO CHEAT HOMEOWNERS
Most roofing companies are sending out sales people to knock on your doors and ask to inspect your roof. When they are done with the inspection, they immediately create a since of urgency or pretend that you only have a limited time to make a claim and that they need to get started right away.
Most are even asking for homeowners to sign a work order or contingency agreement allowing them to meet with your adjuster as soon as possible.
The contingency agreement is the key document they want you to sign to lock you into their trap. You should stay away from any roofer who wants you to sign something urgently or immediately perform tarp repairs.
No legitimate or ethical roofing company will ever pressure you to make decision in haste.
Honest roofing contractors should always give you time to consult with your insurance provider on your own, review facts and figures and then decide when and how you want to proceed with filing an insurance claim to replace your roof.
13. FRAUDULENT ROOFING COMPANIES USE SUBCONTRACTORS
99% of Dallas Fort Worth roofers really have no choice but to use subcontractors to complete the jobs they sale.
They simply do not have any hands on experience with true roof installations. They are simply a middleman there to make money.
The problem with this is that most subcontractors are typically not well trained and are not properly insured, if insured at all.
They also have no real vested interest in your home and have nothing to lose if the project is poorly done or if they decide to simply walk off the job in the middle of the project.
In some cases, subcontractors will not even get paid by the middleman you hired to do your roof installation. If that happens, they will be able to file a mechanics lien on your property, which is just another hurdle and headache for you as a homeowner.
The best course of action is to ensure that the roofing contractor you are hiring has their own in-house factory trained/certified crews with the proper insurance. If that is not the case, it is not worth the risk. Find another contractor.
14. ROOFERS SOMETIMES DAMAGE YOUR ROOF DURING ROOF INSPECTION
Remember what we said earlier about door knockers or contractors that come to your home or call you uninvited?
No legitimate roofing company will ever come to your home or call you uninvited. If somebody is knocking at your door to inspect your roof, they are to be seen with great suspicion.
After every hail and wind storm, scammers will start going door to door seeking potential clients. They will offer to inspect your roof for free. After the inspection they claim to have observed damage that warrants a new roof or major roof repair.
Some DFW roofing contractors have been reported as intentionally causing damages to the roof during their inspection just to get you to hire them for roof repair work.
Some were even showing the customers pictures of someone else’s roof.
They were all reported as polite, knowledgeable and helpful but by the end of the meeting, the homeowners were all encouraged to submit a claim to their insurance company and to allow the contractor to handle the entire process on their behalf.
No matter how tempting this sounds, do not fall into this trap.
Remember, handle your claim for you means they will be keeping all of your insurance money for themselves.
15. ROOFERS CLUTTER YOUR DRIVEWAYS, LAWNS AND LANDSCAPING.
Property protection is very important but mostly ignored by homeowners as well as by roofing companies. We disclose this information on every estimate we write because we know how important it is.
Many roofing contractors do not clarify whether or not they will be protecting the property and/or guaranteeing there to be no damages while installing the new roof.
This is a huge mistake also made by a lot of homeowners. Before you hire a company, ask specifically what they will do to protect your landscaping, your driveway and surrounding areas.
Where will the old shingles, nails and potentially rotten plywood be dropped or tossed so that it doesn’t affect the bushes and flowers that surround your home.
There are countless stories of homeowners having flat tires or foot injuries after their roof replacement simply because the crew did a very poor clean up. It may not sound like a huge deal but clean up is one of the most important aspects of a roof replacement.
Property protection and clean up should be as important to the roofing contractor as it is to you.
If the roofer’s estimate/contract does not specify how this will be handled, it is usually another sign that they are not as experienced or as professional as they claim or appear to be.
DFW HOMEOWNERS HAVE TRUSTED HONESTROOF.COM FOR THREE DECADES.
When it is time to put a new roof on your home, you want to use a roofing company you can trust. It is unfortunate the roofing industry has earned such a poor reputation due to so many shady practices by so many roofers.
But there are good local roofing contractors out there in every city of the U.S. It just takes a little work to find them.
If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area however, you can trust HonestRoof.com.
We have earned our brand name as an honest company with honest practices as a result of three generations of serving our customers with honesty and integrity and are still going strong today.
As in every industry, there are people who work hard, do things the right way and honor their word – there are also people who will lie, cheat and sometimes steal to get an advantage. You can’t take it personal. It’s just business. You always have a choice. Do your due diligence and choose wisely.