After a violent storm hits, like the one that unleashed hail and damaging winds in Eden Prairie, Edina, and Bloomington earlier this summer, homeowners and business owners are concerned about the condition of their roofs. Within days of the storms passing doors start being knocked on, calls start being received, and flyers and business cards from roofing contractors start to arrive. This can bring a feeling of relief because industry professionals are reaching out to you and offering to help you out by assessing your roof and telling you that they can get you a roof for FREE! While many of these are legitimate roofing businesses operating in your community, there are some that follow the storms, roofer gypsies or roofing storm chasers that come in for a time after the storm then move to the next area attacked by a storm.
Roofing storm chasers give real roofing contractors a bad name. Roofing contractors lead the 2012 Better Business Bureau inquiries by industry with over 3.2 million people checking on the integrity of their roofing contractors before making the decision of who to hire. As an industry roofing contractors ranked 16th in complaints, with 7.956 complaints last year, only 4.995 of which have been settled. We’ve all seen the stories of consumers who have gotten their insurance money to fix their roof only to end up with no money and no roof repair or replacement. Minnesota has taken steps to protect homeowners from storm chasers by passing the Storm Chaser bill in August 2010.
Storm Chaser Bill
This Storm Chaser bill contains two essential provisions. The first states that roofing contractors pursuing work in Minnesota shall not advertise, promise, or otherwise rebate any portion of a homeowner’s deductible from the monies paid to the homeowner by the insurance company. To do so is fraud and you can end up in court. The second portion allows the homeowner to cancel any written contract they may have with a roofing contractor within 72 hours if their insurance carrier denies their roof damage claim.
What To Look For
So how do you determine if someone is a storm chaser? Here are a few things to look for when assessing if you are dealing with a legitimate roofing contractor or a roofing gypsy.
- Check the license plate the company representative is driving. If the plate is from another state chances are they are not local people so they won’t be there for you if there’s a problem after the work is finished.
- If they are from out of the area, how far out are they? While a Wisconsin roofing company may be from just over the state line so can revisit a roof easily, a roofer from any other state will have a bit of a commute. Workmanship warranties only work if the workmen are available to do any follow-up care.
- Make sure that any roofing contractor you engage has been properly licensed and that their license is current. Require that their insurance is also current. Ask to see their license, as well as certificates of workman’s compensation and liability insurance. This protects you should a mishap happen during the roofing process. If they don’t have workman’s compensation or liability insurance and there is any injuries the workers could come after you.
- Research the roofing company. Have they been in business for any length of time? Do they have local references from before the storm hit (and not just for right after the last storm hit)?
- Ask local lumber yards/building supply vendors if they done business with these contractors. Have they paid for their materials up front? Are they up-to-date on their supply bills?
You are probably dealing with a Roofing Storm Chaser if:
- They came to your door uninvited and tried to get you to sign with them immediately.
- They used high pressure sales tactics and wouldn’t take “No”, or let you get back to them later, for an answer.
- They demanded a major portion of the costs up front, at the time of signing.
- They offered you a “Free Roof” or gave you some other offer as a way around paying your deductible.
- They are unlisted in any phone book or web search.
For quality roof repairs or replacement you will want a roofing contractor who has been certified by roofing material manufacturers, such as GAF Master Elite or Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractors. Certification shows that the roofing company has been trained to the manufacturer’s specifications for the best application of their products ensuring that the roof that is installed will last.
Midwest Roofing, Siding and Windows has been serving the Minneapolis Twin Cities region for over 40 years. We will be here long after the storm chasers have blown away.