The 5 Things Every Homeowner In Colorado Springs Should Look For In A Roofing Company
There are some really good roofing companies in Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, there are also some that are just “scammers” or “storm-chasers.” Having lived in Colorado Springs nearly all my life and having worked in the roofing industry, I’ve seen all kinds of roofers as well as the victims of the bad ones.
Here are a few examples of why you should be looking for these 5 things in every roofer.
- Charles lives in Black Forest and was approached by a roofing company. They said he needed his roof replaced so he called his insurance company. The insurance company agreed that the roof needed to be replaced so sent him the first of two checks to pay for the repairs.At the insistence of the roofer, Charles signed over the first check to them, and then never saw them again. He lost the money the insurance company sent him, and was stuck with a roof that still needed replacing.Unfortunately, the insurance company won’t send you a replacement check if something like this happens to you.
The same thing happens every year in El Paso County to dozens of people.
- Sally is a homeschooling mom and foster care parent. She was at home one day with several children when a roofer knocked on her door and asked, “Do you want me to inspect your roof for hail damage?”Sally agreed to let him on the roof, so he took out a sheet of paper and asked her to sign it. Sally assumed that it was a consent form to let him on the roof, when in fact, it was a contract obligating her to let that company replace the roof if the insurance company paid for the work.Scores of people are tricked into this scam and then are threatened with a lawsuit if they try to get out of the contract.
- Recently in Colorado Springs a roofing contractor hired a sub-contractor to do a roof replacement. They agreed that the sub-contractor would be paid under the table. During the project, the sub-contractor fell off the roof and broke his back. Neither he nor the contractor had workmen’s comp insurance.The nightmare could just be beginning for the homeowner because he could face the liability for the medical expenses for the sub-contractor – a cost that could go as high as $500,000!
- In June, 2012, Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper signed into law SB38 which prevents roofers from paying, deducting, waiving, discounting, or rebating, in whole or in part, the homeowner’s insurance deductible, yet many roofers are still offering to do this for their customers, thereby committing, and encouraging the homeowners to commit insurance fraud.
These are just a few, brief examples of how homeowners can be misled or ripped off when trying to choose among the hundreds of roofing companies that show up after a major storm in Colorado Springs.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Here Are The 5 Things Every Homeowner Should Look For When Needing Roof Replacements Or Repairs:
- A Money Back GuaranteeThat’s right! Make sure that your roofer is not asking you to trust him with your money and your home – your biggest investment. Make sure that your roofer is committed to making sure that you love your roof and if you don’t, you get your money back.
When you’re faced with trying to choose a roofing company, how can you know who you can trust? If a contractor is willing to guarantee his work by offering your money back, he’s saying that he is not asking you to trust him but that he will trust you. Therefore, all the risk is removed from your side of the transaction.
A roof can be a considerable cost for a homeowner. You don’t want to risk a bad roofer botching the job and then taking off with your money. Make sure to get it in writing: “You’ll love your roof or your money back!”
- The Company Is Fully Insured
Remember the story above about the roofer who fell off the roof and nobody had the proper insurance to cover the medical expenses? Guess who could be liable for the expenses? It could be the homeowner, or the homeowner’s insurance company!Make sure to tell your roofer that you want to see his proof of general liability insurance AND workers’ comp insurance and the insurance certificates for any of his sub-contractors. Do your research before you hire a contractor.
- Make Sure The Roofer is Not Asking For Money Up Front
In many instances, this is a legitimate request from a company because it protects their interests, so why do you want to do this? Don’t forget about Charles, who gave his first insurance check to a roofer and then never saw him again!Any reliable contractor is able to afford to buy the materials without asking for money up front. Remember, you don’t want to, or need to, have any risk when hiring a roofing contractor. Don’t offer to give any deposits until you have materials stocked on the roof so that you know you’ve gotten something for your money!
Look for ways that you can eliminate your risk in the transaction. Keeping your deposit money until your contractor has shown a tangible commitment to you and your roofing project is a great way to do this.
- The Contractor Shouldn’t Ever Pressure You Into Signing A Contract
Remember the story above about Sally? When the insurance company agreed to replace the roof, Sally didn’t want to use the company that did the inspection, but she had signed their “contract.” When she told them she wanted to use a different company, they threatened her with a lawsuit. Sally eventually was able to get them to release her from the contract, but not until they had tried to intimidate her with several tactics.Make sure that any roofing contractor or salesman you talk to doesn’t try to get you to sign a contract without giving you the opportunity to spend time thinking, discussing, and researching. If they do try to pressure you, find another roofer.
- Make Sure That Your Contractor Is Following The Law!
In June, 2012, Colorado passed law SB38 which governs how a roofing contractor can handle paying a deductible for a customer, as well as other details, too.Roofing companies may no longer offer to pay, waive, discount, or rebate a deductible for a homeowner in Colorado, and they have to clearly state that on their contract.
While it may be much more convenient for a homeowner to have a roofer pay the $500 or $1000 deductible for him, that violates the law if the roofer does it.
In fact, there are still roofing companies in the Colorado Springs area that have offers on their websites offering to pay rebates or discounts for their customers so the customer won’t have any out-of-pocket expense associated with the roof replacement.
Ask yourself this question, “If my roofer is willing to cheat the law in order to get a sale, will he also be dishonest with me?”
These are just a few tips for homeowners to help them navigate through the sea of roofing contractors in Colorado Springs. There are a few hundred roofers in the area normally, but when a major storm hits, the county gets flooded with “storm-chasers.” These are companies that come in from out-of-town just to cash in on the abundance of insurance claims.
Storm-chasing companies are the ones most likely to cause problems for homeowners, so do your research before signing anything.
Most importantly, follow the advice of the Colorado State Attorney General, who says you should never let someone in, or on your house who comes knocking on your door.
Your best bet is to stay away from door-knocking roofers and contact someone you trust. You can also contact your local insurance agent and ask for his or her recommendations. Local agents normally have a few local roofers that they trust and can give you the contact numbers so you can call them and ask them to inspect your roof.