Roofing Insights recently talked about the 7 ways contractors cheat homeowners. Now we want to explore the other end of the spectrum: how to spot bad roofing customers.
For as shady as some contractors are, there are just as many homeowners out there who are equally malevolent.
If you’re a contractor, here are 5 signs that a homeowner has bad intentions.
And if you’re a customer, please don’t do any of the following things on this list.
1. Ask to pay deductibles
From a legal perspective, homeowners are required to pay their deductibles whenever they make a claim on their home.
Unfortunately, there are some customers who know sketchy roofers are willing to waive deductibles in order to attract business.
“Eating deductibles is the reason so many contractors go out of business,”
Roofing Insights owner Dmitry Lipinskiy says, his words a warning to any contractor out there currently eating deductibles and leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.
If you’re a business owner, and a homeowner asks you to waive a deductible, tell that customer it’s illegal to waive deductibles. If the homeowner is insistent that a deductible gets waived, that person is someone to avoid doing business with, as it’s very likely the homeowner will later try to swindle more money out of you.
2. Seek advice from a contractor, then pass them over for a lower bidder
This happens to many contractors.
A homeowner calls you out to their home to do an estimate, gives you the impression they will hire you, but then ultimately goes with a cheaper option.
STOP DOING THIS!
“Treat your contractor and his time with respect,”
Lipinskiy tells homeowners, urging them not to pass over detail-oriented and professional contractors in favor of a hack who is willing to reduce his prices in order to generate business.
“If you’re not planning on using us, tell us in the beginning,”
3. Asking for bigger invoice to send to their insurance company
This is straight fraud, but it happens all the time.
A homeowner will ask a contractor to invoice them for $10,000, even if the job itself is only $8,000.
The homeowner will still only pay $8,000, but the homeowner will then turn around and tell their insurance company that the job cost $10,000. Lipinskiy warns homeowners that if they do this, the consequences will be very severe.
“You will be in jail. Your contractor might lose his license. It’s not worth it for anyone,”
4. Ask a contractor’s crew or employees to hire them directly
Lipinskiy has experienced firsthand how this works. A homeowner will invite you into their home, and then later pitch the job to that company’s employees or a subcontractor, hoping the employee or sub will cost less money.
While there are some disingenuous characters out there, many employees and subs are loyal to their general contractors.
Please, homeowners: don’t go behind a business owner’s back and pitch his own employees. It’s not only unethical, but it’s also a bad look for you as an individual.
5. Asking for an unreasonable discount at the end, or refusing to pay change orders
We get it.
Sometimes roofing crews miss a nail or two, and this can lead to popped tires or other inconveniences.
Lipinskiy is aware of this reality, and is always willing to pay for any inconvenience a homeowner may experience.
But homeowners, don’t get greedy.
If your popped tire cost $200, don’t send your contractor an invoice for $2,000.
Be fair, be understanding, and be reasonable.
Also, in some cases homeowners may encounter unexpected costs after a job begins. For example, with older homes, sometimes the decking underneath the shingles is rotted away to the point that it will have to be repaired.
This can be a $4,000 expense, but most good contractors will have informed homeowners of this possibility during the initial estimate, so the rotted decking won’t come as a major surprise.
“Always budget a little more,”
Lipinskiy tells homeowners.
Doing so will better allow a homeowner to deal with any unexpected damage that may occur.
Remember, most local contractors want to satisfy their customers. Tacking on $4,000 in extra charges isn’t a way to endear them to their customer base, so if a business owner tells a customer more work will need to be done, there is no need to automatically assume that business owner is trying to cheat you.
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