“Sales people often don’t tell you the whole truth and they do use roofing sales gimmicks, says Dmitry Lipinskiy, CEO of Roofing Insights and author of some of the biggest revolutions in the roofing industry.”
As the man who started Directorii, a website devoted to connecting homeowners and contractors, he knows how to sell people on value instead of cheap gimmicks.
Unfortunately, other contractors and salespeople don’t follow the same formula, choosing instead to rely on half-truths and manipulation tactics that they hope will influence more homeowners to sign with their company.
There are many ways this is done, but here are the ten most common:
1. False sense of urgency
As a salesperson, it is necessary to stress the benefits of replacing a roof sooner than later.
Building a healthy sense of urgency is not only good business, but good for the homeowner.
Still, there are some contractors who take this too far and mislead customers into thinking they need to act on their roof immediately.
That’s simply not true.</p
“You have about two years to file an insurance claim,”
“Your roof probably isn’t going to leak for the next 5-6 years, so it’s not something that you need to make a decision on today,”
meaning no matter how much urgency a salesperson tries to build, all their assertions should be taken with a grain of salt.
2. Free roof gimmick
“There’s nothing free in this life,”
says Lipinskiy, and just because a salesperson says a roof is free, it doesn’t mean that it is.
What a salesperson really means when they’re talking about free roofs is that they want you to sign with them because they believe they’re giving invaluable information, that before they showed up homeowners had no idea that they could get a free roof.
In truth, a salesperson who pushes free roofs likely works for a company who is willing to waive deductibles, and Roofing Insights, along with many other reputable businesses, are vehemently opposed to that practice.
For starters, it’s illegal. Plus, if a contractor is willing to knowingly break the law, they’re also willing to cut corners on other aspects of a job.
“Those are the companies who usually go out of business in a year or two,”
“and then you’re stuck with a roof that’s probably without a warranty because if your roofer goes out of business, your materials probably aren’t going to have a warranty with a manufacturer.”
3. Your roof is too old
Guys, roofs aren’t made of tissue paper.
They can withstand the daily wear-and-tear of life, at least for a number of years.
“If you’re the homeowner, you need to know that most roofs will last anywhere from 15-20 years,”
While every roof will age differently, there’s no such thing as an “old” roof, something chuck-in-a-truck salespeople often try to claim.
In most cases, a roof isn’t old; it’s more that it’s been damaged and will need a repair in order to offer future protection against storms and other natural occurrences.
“Make sure you make an educated decision and don’t let just the age of the roof be the deciding factor in hiring a contractor,”
4. Free estimate gimmick
There’s a lot of money in replacing entire roofs, but there’s also a lot of money in doing roof repairs.
Yet to some contractors, anything less than a full roof repair is a waste of time.
To compensate for their ignorance, many contractors actively push full repairs instead of replacements.
Be wary of these types of roofers.
“If a company is not doing roof repairs, in my humble opinion, storm or not, hail damage or not, they should not be inspecting your roof,”
“If you have suspicions that they don’t [do repairs], ask for references and you’ll find out very quickly if they do or not.”
5. Forced contingency with fees
Cancellation fees are a necessity because companies and their teams work hard to prepare insurance claims and schedule a job, so when customers try to cancel after a project has already been started, good companies will likely remind them that in their contracts there is a cancellation fee.
“If you sign a contract, make sure you understand the cancellation fee,”
Lipinskiy tells homeowners, noting the importance of this because some companies will purposely add outrageous cancellation fees, especially if they are not confident that a customer will want to continue to work with them.
6. Hidden costs gimmick
Your contractor should be able to properly estimate your roof replacement or repair, but some hacks intentionally withhold information on a job in order to later go back and charge more money.
This practice is highly unethical and is grounds to terminate a contract immediately.
“A lot of guys use it as a gimmick and then come back for more money afterwards,”
Save time and money by thoroughly vetting your contractor before signing a contract. If you don’t feel confident and comfortable with them, don’t sign on the dotted line.
7. Yard sign gimmick
A yard sign gives off the impression that a contractor is doing work on a home, but some contractors will try to place yard signs in a lawn, before signing a deal with that homeowner.
The idea is that this will attract more business, especially from neighbors and passerby, but it’s in poor taste to brag without merit.
This is a huge problem in Minnesota, where one malevolent company has been trying to piggyback off the success of Lipinskiy’s Storm Group Roofing.
That wayward company recently changed their name after 15 years, which is extremely uncommon.
Their new name?
Better Solutions Storm Group.
Better Solutions is clearly trying to capitalize off Lipinskiy’s success, and it’s worked.
Better Solutions is shooting up the Google rankings, but they’re now being sued by Lipinskiy and his legal team for the obvious relation to Storm Group Roofing’s name.
“It gives you perspective and an idea what kind of character the company has,”
8. Materials drop gimmick
It’s hard to believe, but some contractors will drop materials off at a person’s home, even if they have not signed a contract.
“They [companies] think they got a job, but they didn’t earn it yet,”
For those types of companies, their actions go beyond showing initiative, and are instead construed as immoral, much along the lines of noted Roofing Insights villains Joshua Waxman and Cameron Rigsby.
9. “We are local” gimmick
If a contractor is from out of town, they’re not local, no matter how much they try to convince you otherwise.
Now, there are some salespeople who will come into town to work for qualified local companies, like sales ace Ben Menchaca.
But there are others who will bring their entire business with them and move into town for a week, their primary objective being to snag as many signatures as possible.
And even if these types of people team up with a local company, they can still create problems if their way of doing things conflicts with the local company’s process.
“I’ve seen too many stories where companies get ruined really fast,”
Lipinskiy says of these partnerships.
Choosing a local company who is backed up by quality Google reviews is a great way to ensure that your home will be taken care of, not just in the short-term, but also for years to come.
10. Immature mistakes
Years ago, Lipinskiy met a potential customer who wanted to install CertainTeed shingles on his home. The particular kind that customer wanted were double the regular price.
Once Lipinskiy informed the man of the price, the man later chose a different contractor who was able to do it for cheaper.
But surprisingly, two weeks later, Lipinskiy received a call from the same man who wanted to do business with him.
Because the contractor who initially got the job didn’t adequately assess the cost of materials, and that’s why his price was originally cheaper.
When that contractor tried to upcharge the homeowner, that homeowner then decided to contact Lipinskiy because he knew Lipinskiy was a true professional.
“In my opinion, if you are the contractor who made that mistake, you have to honor it, or get out of the business,”
“Don’t know how to measure a roof? Get out. Don’t know how to estimate materials? Get out.”
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