Part 2: Professional Roofing Done Right – Top 3 Signs You Are Being Scammed

By Stacy Mellete

Being cautious is the number one rule when it comes to keeping yourself safe from danger, or in this case, getting scammed. This can be a difficult thing for many homeowners because they’re unaware of signs and under duress due to sudden storm damage or a leaky residential roof that could cause more damage to the home. If you notice any of the signs listed here, run…don’t walk away from the situation!

1. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.

Remember the example from part 1 of this series? The scammer convinced the homeowner they didn’t have to spend anything for their roof installation in Clearwater FL since they will use money from the homeowner’s insurance company. Of course many people would fall for that trick: roof repairs cost money and homeowners cost conscious and want the option available.

So  be realistic. You can’t expect something that will require so much labor and materials to be free or surprisingly cheap. If someone offers you roof repair that’s so cheap right from the start, don’t even bother with that contractor. A good roofing contractor will send an inspector and evaluate the damage on your roof before generating a reasonable estimate.

2. Be careful of low quotes with high down payment

It’s common for roofing contractors to ask for a down payment.  It’s their way to make sure they still earn something in case you decide to change your mind. Scammers take advantage of this by offering a lower overall cost, but with a higher initial down payment.

But how much is too much for an initial down payment? Most contractors ask for an upfront deposit of about 15-30% of the total cost of the entire project. If it gets any higher than that, it can mean two things: they don’t have the resources to make sure your roof will be fixed properly or they’re more concerned about the money than the actual work. There are cases where scammers disappear right after getting the down payment from the homeowner.

3. Avoid the old bait and switch

Imagine your contractor promised a specific type of material for your roof plus a description of what your home will look like after the work is completed, and then you end up with something completely different. That’s pretty much how it will go if you fall  for the bait and switch technique.

Avoiding this can be difficult, because you’ll only realize the switch when the project is completed. Still, you can watch out for early signs of a bait and switch such as very low overall costs compared to the actual value of the materials promised, or initial quotes that do not have specific details on the necessary materials.

Being aware of the signs of a scammer is the first part of prevention, but looking for good characteristics in a roofing contractor in Clearwater FL, is even better. Okay, so now you are prepared to avoid scammers, but you still have to look out for substandard contractors.

The last part of this series will tell you about the characteristics of a good roofing contractor.

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