The news is filled with stories of homeowners in Annapolis and other places getting ripped off by fly-by-night roofers. Part of the reason for this is because roofing is a process that homes undergo every ten to twenty years or so. Homeowners generally are not familiar with the ins and outs of roofing or working with roofers, making them easy targets for scam artists. Chances are, if you own your own home, you will have to hire a roofing contractor at some point. What can you do to avoid getting taken advantage of?
The best defense a homeowner has to keep from getting swindled out of thousands of dollars is to arm himself with knowledge about the tricks dishonest opportunists in the roofing business use. Roofing your home in Annapolis doesn’t have to be a painful process as long as you educate yourself, select a reputable, local roofer, and check their references.
Avoid fly-by-night “storm chasers.” When huge, damaging storms blow through your neighborhood, you will likely see a rash of new roofing companies pop up out of nowhere offering to inspect your roof for damages. At times, these companies will target storm-damaged neighborhoods and solicit door-to-door offering their services. Sometimes these companies will perform an estimate of damages, and then charge the homeowner for the “service.” Protect yourself from these scam artists by refusing such estimates beforehand and not signing anything. Reputable roofing companies almost always offer free estimates.
Another warning sign is the lack of a physical office. Most roofing companies don’t have the most glamorous offices, but if they are established in the community, they almost always have a physical location and staff. Be leery of roofers who only can provide post office boxes as addresses.
Another red flag is companies that are overeager to get your business. Reputable roofers will expect customers to get multiple estimates and take their time before selecting a company to work with. Disreputable companies are only interested in getting their contracts signed quickly. They can be identified easily by their willingness to offer multiple discounts, extended warranties, or “extras” on contracts in order to lock in unsuspecting homeowners. Avoid doing business with these people.
Be leery of warranties that sound too good to be true. A warranty means nothing if a company goes out of business! Fly-by-night roofing companies will advertise extraordinary warranties. Once the homeowner discovers a problem with a roofing job and seeks the company out, chances are that the company no longer exists and the homeowner will have to pay to fix the problem out of his own pocket. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Choose a well-established roofing company with solid references and quality work.
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