Finding a good contractor – one that you can trust to keep your best interests in mind – is incredibly important no matter the home repair project. Choosing the wrong contractor may even end up costing you more than money in the end, it can lead to delayed completion of projects, poor workmanship and even legal problems.
So, how can homeowners and building owners work to choose a legitimate contractor? We have a few tips from the Denver District Attorney that may help:
- Tip 1: BEWARE of contractors who use high-pressure or scare tactics to get you to make an immediate decision.
- Tip 2: DON’T do business with someone who comes to your door offering a deal because they say they have materials left over from another job.
- Tip 3: Ask for and verify the contractor’s license number (you can confirm with your city or county’s building department where the home or building resides that the license number was issued by them and is current).
- Tip 4: Get at least 3 written bids. DON’T always choose the lowest bidder – almost all complaints to the DA’s office are contractors with very low bids.
- Tip 5: Require the contractor to use a written contract that lists materials to be used, as well as charges and costs, and the completion date.
- Tip 6: Pay little or nothing in advance. Pay only the cost of materials as outlined in the contract in advance, then pay the balance only when you are satisfied, and the job has been approved by a building inspector.
- Tip 7: Ask the contractor to show you proof that he is bonded, carries liability insurance, and covers his workers with workers compensation insurance.
Information provided by:
Denver District Attorney
Fraud Hot Line 720-913-9179
In the spring and summer months in Colorado, extreme weather is not unusual – in fact, Colorado ranks second in hail claims for the entire United States. You may suffer damage to your home or business if the hail is golf ball sized or larger, and in some cases even smaller. Within one to two hours of the storm passing, your phone may start ringing or you may hear a knock on your door with an offer from a door to door salesman for a “free roof inspection.”
This is where the real damage can occur.
Beware! This door to door salesman may be part of a scam. Reputable, local contractors don’t typically canvass neighborhoods, knocking on doors and attempting to lock you into a contract using high pressure sales tactics. Many times, if you are asked to sign a waiver form, a contingency contract or an inspection contract, it’s really a binding contract in disguise. The salesman may say something such as, “Let me get on your roof and see if you have any hail damage. But I just need you to sign this first.”
STEP 1 for Hiring a Roofing Contractor Following a Severe Storm in Colorado
To avoid becoming a victim of a fraudulent roofing contractor, don’t immediately sign anything. What these salespersons are actually trying to do is to lock you into a contract that prevents you from obtaining other estimates and forces you to work only with them. The knocker may appear legitimate, but the roofer he or she represents may ask for a deposit or try to collect your insurance money then disappear and never do the work on your roof.
STEP 2 – Immediately After the Hailstorm, Wind Storm or Severe Storm Passes
- Write down the date and time of the storm
- Take pictures and video of the damage
- Take a picture of the size of a hail stone next to a tape measure for context in your insurance claim
- If you experience damage to the interior of your home from broken skylights or other roof damage, call a local roofing contractor to come and make repairs – in this case, it is not safe for you to access your roof
Your insurance will reimburse you for the cost of these repairs!
Learn more by watching our educational video:
Tips for Hiring a Roofing Contractor & Filing Insurance Claims Following Severe Weather
DENVER — After all the hail this week, many homeowners are assessing the damage, meeting with insurance adjusters and contractors. So how do you protect yourself from scams and liability issues?
John Crawmer, a safety services supervisor with Pinnacol Assurance, has a few tips. “Be wary of somebody who just knocks on the door,” he said.
He points out it’s important to hire a reputable company that is licensed, bonded and has a certificate of insurance.
He says, if the worker falls off the roof, and the company they are working for does not have the requisite insurance programs in place, you as the homeowner could be liable for that injury, and covering the cost associated with medical, lost wages and other liabilities.
Those costs can really add up. In 2017, Pinnacol processed claims for 722 workers injured in roofing accidents. The average cost was about $20,000, but two claims were for more than $1 million. “We`ve had folks that have fallen off two-story buildings and had fatal consequences,” Crawmer said.
To protect yourself:
- Be wary of contractors who contact you through social media
- Make sure contractors wear proper safety gear
- Don’t pay in full up front
- Get more than one estimate
- Partner with your insurance or the Colorado Roofing Association to find reputable companies
Replacing a roof on any property is one of the most important parts of that building and it’s a “big ticket” item; you want to be sure you pick the best possible roofing contractor. The Colorado Roofing Association and our members have put together this handy checklist to help homeowners and building owners make informed decisions when hiring a roofing contractor for a new roof!
Be patient . . . use the downloadable CHECKLIST below and take your time to make an informed decision!
- Ask your family, friends and coworkers for recommendations for a roofing contractor. The best referral is a satisfied customer.
- Avoid using door-to-door contractors! Many fraudulent roof scams can be traced back to door knocking contractors, so our advice is to err on the side of caution and only accept bids from local contractors you have called.
- Only accept bids with price, scope of work and materials written on them.
- Homeowners have a 72-hour right of rescission/ cancellation period.
- Request 5 local references that the Estimator personally worked with more than 1 year ago.
- Do not be rushed into signing anything, even if you are told it is just to allow them on your roof, do not sign it. Many times this is a sales tactic used by doorknockers and you could be signing a binding contract.