Learning how to spot a bad roofing contractor can be difficult for homeowners.
Thankfully, Roofing Insights CEO Dmitry Lipinskiy is using his experience as a roofing business owner to advise homeowners around North America on how to spot shady contractors.
“I’m a firm believer that there are more good contractors out there than bad contractors, but every once in a while, you run into someone who is absolutely shady, and you cannot stand them,”
“If you have good ethics, you then feel it is your duty to call them out and to educate people because no one should get screwed by a shady roofing contractor.”
By revealing his 7 tips for spotting a shady contractor, Lipinskiy is hoping that his past experiences can help homeowners avoid many of the pitfalls that so many unlucky individuals deal with every roofing season.
Here now are 7 signs that your roofer might be shady:
1. Not providing written estimates
This may sound strange, but even today there are many contractors who are not giving homeowners a written estimate outlining the costs of the roofing job.
As a homeowner, if you encounter this type of contractor, it is best practice to avoid doing business with their company.
“Legit contractors should be putting a scope of work and leaving you with an estimate that is good for 30 days,”
“If they’re not giving you that type of estimate, they’re probably going to pressure you into the sale or try to build a false sense of urgency to get you to make a decision at that moment. Ask them to provide an estimate in writing if you don’t believe that they’re a good contractor.”
2. Not providing product names
Beyond not giving homeowners an overview of the job costs, some contractors are also not specifying which brand of shingles they’re using.
Lipinskiy says this tactic has become more common, especially in the Florida market, as evidenced by the estimates he has been receiving from homeowners in that market.
“A lot of homeowners have sent us estimates and I’m blown away every time I see it, where there is a price, but you don’t see the products they’re using. It’s absolutely crazy. The contractor should know what shingles they’re installing. There is no reason for not specifying products, not only for shingles, but also for accessories and underlayment,”
The reason some contractors leave the brand of shingles off their estimates is typically because they’re choosing a cheaper brand of shingles, and while Lipinskiy would like to install his preferred brand of shingles, such as IKO or Owens Corning, he also recognizes that cheaper isn’t inherently worse.
“I’m not saying that cheaper is always worse, but roofers who don’t put in writing what products they’re using are hiding something. I’m okay with providing in writing something that’s cheaper, as long as I show you that my cheaper is better. But if a contractor is using cheaper products and you don’t know about it, that’s a recipe for disaster.”
3. “Same-day price”
Homeowners, this one is simple:
If a contractor offers you a same-day price deal, RUN!
The same-day price is not complicated. It involves a roofing sales rep initially increasing their price by thousands of dollars, only to later come down on price by thousands of dollars if the homeowner is willing to sign a contract that very same day.
Please note that this type of sales tactic is a gimmick, and that no matter what a roofing sales rep says, prices do not fluctuate by thousands of dollars on a daily basis.
To avoid dealing with this kind of roofing company, check out Directorii, where every contractor has been vetted for professionalism and work history.
Plus, every roofing job registered through Directorii is backed up by a $20,000 guarantee, which protects homeowners from things like shoddy workmanship or job abandonment.
Visit Directorii today to discover how they can help with your next home improvement project!
4. No online reviews
In today’s market, online reviews are everything.
Ergo, if a roofing company does not have any online reviews, it either means they are brand new to the market, or they’re trying to avoid having customers leave reviews on their company.
According to Lipinskiy, any reputable roofing contractor will take pride in their reviews and will actively encourage customers to review their company.
“A contractor should have online listings and an online reputation because that’s their leverage,”
This is because roofing companies benefit tremendously from positive online reviews, especially because many homeowners today are looking for contractors online.
“Good contractors care about their reputation, so if you Google the company and nothing comes up, ask yourself what could happen in the case of a dispute,”
Lipinskiy says before reinforcing the importance of roofing companies having a solid online presence.
“I have found that contractors are very sensitive to online reviews. If someone gives a one-star review because they had a one-star experience, a good contractor will take them seriously and try to find a resolution. But a shady contractor is trying to hide from the internet and online reviews because they suck. That’s the true reason why they don’t invest their time to create those online platforms.”
5. Out of state contractors
In nearly every market, when a hailstorm causes damage to homes in the area, roofing contractors from out of state rush into the area to try to find work.
Unfortunately, the companies who come in from out of town often are poorly run and have the tendency to leave roofs and homeowners in a state of disarray.
This is why Lipinskiy warns homeowners to be extremely cautious about which roofing company they hire for their next home improvement project.
“If you hire an out-of-state contractor you need to understand that in the case of a money dispute or major workmanship issue, what you are going to have is a dispute with a person who lives in another state. It’s hard to sue a contractor in your state, but it’s even harder to sue a contractor if they’re from out of state,”
While hiring an out-of-state roofing company may seem like a terrible idea at this point, Lipinskiy also mentions that there are unique circumstances that could warrant hiring a company from out of town.
“If you deal with a big company like Apple Roofing in Lincoln, Nebraska, or AVCO Roofing in Texas, they are financially stable and running $40 million operations,”
With those companies, even though they are not local contractors, they possess the infrastructure to serve and handle a vast and far-reaching customer base.
“They have the capital to deal with complaints or future repairs,”
“If you are dealing with smaller guys who don’t have enough work in their towns and all they are doing is traveling around the country, they are usually so much worse.”
“I’ve seen so many guys start new companies every year who ruin local markets because when they come, they destroy everything. They are sales driven and often they don’t have installers. They are a nightmare to deal with. In the end, local companies do all the repairs.”
Therefore, no matter which roofing company you hire, it is crucial to make sure you have properly vetted them and their work history.
Keep reading to learn more about how to spot a shady roofing contractor!
6. No repair service
“Contractors who don’t do repairs or offer repairs as an option have no business proposing full roof replacements,”
This is because roofing companies who only offer full roof replacements are solely focused on selling large-ticket jobs that yield high profits.
Consequently, even though your home may only need minor repairs, a roofing company that doesn’t do repairs is apt to suggest that your home needs a full roof replacement.
To avoid this potential dilemma, Lipinskiy recommends that homeowners seek out roofing companies who do repairs in order to get a proper assessment done on your roof.
“My advice is to get an opinion from a company who actually does roof repairs,”
“What you will find out is that not every roof needs to be replaced. A lot of roofs have years of life left in them, but the problem is that contractors who only do roof replacements don’t have any other options than to push customers into the sale of a new roof.”
In addition to finding a roofing company who does repairs, Lipinskiy also advises to be diligent in the buying process and get multiple estimates.
One reason is because currently 70% of roofing contractors are not offering roof repairs, which is why so many landfills are packed with shingles.
“For roofers, full roof replacements are good for business, but they are not good for the environment or the homeowners’ pockets,”
7. Name not on paperwork
The last telltale sign of a shady roofing contractor is if the business owner doesn’t have his name on any of the legal documents pertaining to his company.
In these instances, typically the business owner has previously declared bankruptcy or has a criminal record that would prevent them from registering for an LLC.
A good way to check a roofer’s validity is to find out how long their company has been in business. Many roofing contractors will say they have been in business for a long time, but if the paperwork doesn’t match up, it’s likely the roofing contractor you’re dealing with is shady.
Ultimately, it is important to hire a quality roofing contractor because failing to do so could result in the loss of thousands of dollars.
“I’ve seen it too many times,”
Lipinskiy says of homeowners getting scammed.
“You pay someone $20,000 and then you cannot even find them, or they do a very cheap job, and an inspector tells you that you need a new roof because it was not done to local building codes.”
Of course, litigation is always an option in any of these cases, but that is a route very few homeowners enjoy taking.
Hopefully these 7 tips for spotting a shady homeowner were helpful and will help ensure your next home improvement project goes smoothly.
And if you’re a homeowner who is looking for a reliable contractor in your area, check out Directorii to see a list of contractors who are all backed up by a $20,000 guarantee!