Unfortunately, there are some no-good, rotten people out in this big world that will do whatever it takes to scam you out of your hard-earned money. When it comes to your home, you should be on the lookout for “storm chasers”, who are all too common in the roofing industry.
What is a Storm Chaser?
Storm chasers, also known as “roofing gypsies”, pay attention to the nation’s weather bureau, and then follow the path of storms all across the country. They travel to areas where a big storm has recently hit, primarily those that have hail or wind damage. They do this because they also understand how insurance companies operate. They know that in these particular storm areas, insurance policies will allow roof replacement for hail and wind damages.
So What Do They Do?
They pass out flyers all over town, and even go door to door, targeting unsuspected homeowners to exploit with claims of cheap roof repair. Roofing gypsies have a motive to replace a roof with the cheapest roofing material possible in order to pocket as much profit as possible. They know, based on the square footage of the roof, just how much it will cost to install a new cheap roof. They do a bare minimum job, rarely up to code, and skip out on all other needed considerations or repairs. So the roof is never restored back to its original condition.
Worst of all, the roof job only lasts a fraction of the time it should had it been properly installed. This results in premature roof replacement just a few short years down the road (usually within 5 to 7 years), which will likely come directly out of the homeowners wallet since insurance will not allow a second claim in such a short amount of time. Essentially, they take as many shortcuts as possible to get your money and run. And once they are gone, you will never hear from them again, let alone get your money back.
How to Spot a Roof Scammer
If a roofer comes to your door unannounced and offers you a free inspection, you are likely being targeted. Even if it is a legitimate company, it is not common practice to advertise door to door in the roofing industry, so be cautious if it happens to you. Other signs of a roof gypsy include lack if insurance, no licensing, and/or no proof of either.
To be sure you are working with a real professional, simply ask to see evidence of licensing and insurance. You can also check their license status with your local building department or licensing agency. If they cannot produce these documents, you can assume they are not qualified for the job. Visiting their actual office is another full-proof way to confirm you are working with a real company.