Beware of This Common Roofing Scam – Lowest Bid
Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home – it keeps the elements out, it keeps your home’s structure intact, and it protects the things that matter most.
Whether you need a full roof replacement or just repairs, you’ll want to find a reliable roofing contractor who will do the job with care and attention to detail.
The unfortunate reality is that while most roofing contractors are honest and dependable, there will always be those looking to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. These scam artists, or ‘fly by nighters’, want nothing more than to take your money (and your neighbours’ money, too) and get out of town.
One of the common red flags you need to be on the lookout for is when a roofer or roofing company gives an unusual, unbelievably low bid for completing the work. Sometimes this scam is called the “elevator ride” because that initial low price will soon start to go up-up-up.
Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Reputable roofers have fair prices and they are upfront about costs.
How the Scam Works
You solicit quotes from a bunch of roofing companies when your home needs a roof replacement. After all, you want to find a good roofer and a good price. When you get the bids for the work, one bid stands out because it is significantly lower than all of the other quotes you’ve received.
Since a roof replacement is an expensive job, you take the low bid, thinking you’ve found a great deal.
After you have signed on for the work and the roofer begins the job, unexpected costs start cropping up over and over again. The roofer says that the materials have gone up in price, that they found unforeseen problems on your roof, that the labour will cost more than expected, and so on.
At this point, your roof project is halfway through and you will need to come up with the extra money before the roofer finishes the job (or they’ll just leave your roof unfinished!).
By the end of this, you’ll end up paying much more than that first low bid – and probably much more than the other companies’ more accurate and truthful bids as well.
Note: It is difficult for a roofer to inspect your roof’s decking (the bottom layer of your roof) before they start the work. Legitimate companies may come upon decking damage that requires an increase in price, but they will be transparent about this.
How to Protect Yourself from This Scam
Legitimate roofers can offer deals or lower prices; however, it will typically not be drastically (unbelievably) lower than any other reputable company. They offer fair prices – not “cheap” prices.
Get quotes from several roofing companies. If one is strangely below the range of the others, ask yourself why.
Here is how you can avoid being scammed:
- Ask the roofer how unforeseen problems will be addressed.
- Ensure the cost for replacing damaged decking is included in the contract.
- Ensure the roofing contract includes the cost of labour and the costs of the various materials that will be used.
- Do not fall for high-pressure sales tactics.
- Research the roofing company’s reputation – are they credible, do they have good customer reviews on trusted review sites like HomeStars?
- Find out if the company is Better Business Bureau accredited.
- Do not give a large deposit on the work upfront (or worse yet, pay for the entire job before it’s been started!).
We’re trusted roofers with over 50 years of experience in Ontario. Quality, dependable roofing and customer satisfaction are our most important values. Get a free estimate on roof replacements.
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