How to Spot a Storm Chaser and Why You Shouldn’t Use Them

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How to Spot a Storm Chaser and Why You Shouldn’t Use Them

As storm season approaches you will find more and more roofers in the area. This is not because there are more roofers opening business in the area, it’s because the  “fly by night” roofers come to town. North Texas is known for the amazing thunderstorms and hail we get during April and May. Because of these storms, roofers come from all different parts of the country to make a quick buck. What makes these roofers different from local roofers?

Storm chasers come out from the wood works when a big storm hits the area. They claim to have been in business for many years, they’ll offer warranties that no one can beat and sometimes even give you cash back on your roof. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many homeowners love the idea of getting a free roof (because your roofer is covering the motor trade insurance) AND getting money back. It’s equivalent to winning the lottery. There are many problems with this.

Storm Chasers will get a local phone number and PO Box

Know that anybody can get a local number. It’s as simple as logging onto your Google account and choosing ANY phone number that you want or driving to Metro PCS for a month to month contract. Local numbers don’t mean they are local to the area. Take time to do dirty work by searching online for their business and see what people have to say about the company.

Check Online Reviews

Sites likes Yelp.com or Google Reviews make it easy to find out how reputable a company is. If there are no reviews, ask why? If a company has been in business 10 years but not one person has had anything to say about them, that might draw a red flag. If a company has a bad review, don’t throw them out the door. Ask the company about the review and get the roofers side of the story. It’s a fact that most people will write a bad review before ever writing a good review about a company. People want to be heard so the roofing company may have a bad review or two. If the reviews are ALL bad, then run the other way.

Search for the Company on your Local Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a great resource for consumers to check local businesses. The BBB grades business from A+ to F on consumer claims and the business tactics.  The BBB reports on businesses that are accredited and not accredited. BBB works closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, providing them with valuable information on potential frauds so use this free resource. (Check out LSDG Roofing’s Better Business Bureau Score.)

Storm Chasers Offer a Longer Warranty Than any Other Company

These storm chasers offer you a warranty that out beats every other company because they won’t be here in a few months, they’ll leave town and you’ll never see them again. When your roof starts leaking from a faulty roof and you try to call them (since your roof is still under “warranty”) you’ll call and get a disconnected number. They can promise you the moon, but they won’t be able to fulfill it. Be weary and ask questions if you don’t completely understand.

Storm Chasers will Replace Your Roof for Free by “Covering” your Deductible

Your only out of pocket expense when getting your new roof will be your deductible. Everybody’s deductible is a different amount depending on which coverage plan was chosen through their insurance.  An insurance deductible may be defined as the amount you must pay upfront before the carriers pay you for the loss covered. Many storm chasers will “absorb” your deductible. My absorbing your deductible

Offer you Cash Back on your Roof

You are jumping with joy because not only is your roof free but you will make money on the deal.  Like I said before, if it’s too good to be true, than it probably is. Let’s review this topic. If a roofer is able to give you money back on your roof, they must be cutting corners somewhere on your roof. They will most likely be hiring roof installers that are not qualified or they might not even pay the roof installers. (We’ve seen this many times.) If they’re not slacking on the installation, they will be installing a used shingle or a shingle that you never agreed to. You might have ordered a 30 year Owens Corning Driftwood shingle, but they are installing a low grade shingle from another manufacturer that is half the cost but the same color. How will you ever know the difference?

Ask for References

References are key. Ask for phone numbers, addresses and names of customers that you can call. If the roofer is unable to provide you with anything, be weary. If the roofer gives you a list of references, call one or two of the customers on the list and ask about their experience, if the roof was done in a timely manner, and if they would recommend using the company. People will tell you the truth, don’t be afraid to ask. Drive by the houses that the company says that they have recently roofed and take a look at their roof. Check to see if it looks good from the ground. Don’t be shy!

Don’t Feel Obligated to Sign a Contract

Fly by night roofers will use high pressure sales tactics to push you into signing a contract or contingency agreement. Don’t sign anything if you’re not comfortable. The best thing to do is take their info, and tell them you will call them when you make a decision – even if you think they’re a legit company. Use this time to do research on the company by checking their references, the BBB and credibility.

Shop Local and Use a Company That Has Been In Town for Years

Instead of going with a company from out of town or even out of state, how about using a local company that has been around town for years? There are many companies that you might not know about. Ask your neighbors and friends for a recommendation. Many companies, like LSDG Roofing, offer a referral program. Another great resource to utilize is your local Chamber of Commerce. They will be able to direct you contractors in your area.

Don’t Pay for your Full Roof Up Front

If a roofer tells you that they need full payment for your roof upfront, then RUN the other way. Chances are they will take your money and have a nice vacation with it.  You will probably never see them again. At LSDG Roofing, we ask for your first insurance check before we drop material. If you do not feel comfortable giving us the whole check, we ask for half of it up front and the second half as soon as we drop material. If you pay for your whole roof up front, how can you trust that they will return to fix your roof?

Ask to See Their Drivers License

Allowing a stranger into your home is scary. Ask to see their drivers license to check their identity and also to see what state it’s from. Obviously, you would want to see a driver’s license from the state that you are living in.  Checking their license is a safe, secure way to know who you are dealing with. Don’t worry, they won’t take any offense to it!

Not all roofers that arrive on your door step after a storm are dishonest. We don’t want to scare you away from all roofers, because they aren’t all bad. We do want to help you make the right decision when giving someone access to your home.  State Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman says that Texas has one of the highest rates of fraud in the roofing repair industry. That’s scary to think about, but if you do your research you won’t have any problems. If you have encountered a roofing scam, contact your local police and Texas Department of Insurance to file a claim.

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