When you own a home in the Twin Cities, dealing with summer storm damage comes with the territory. After severe weather rolls through town, leaving damage in its wake, unscrupulous roofing contractors get an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners in their time of need.

These dishonest “professionals” are widely known as fly-by-night roofers, and if you don’t know how to spot them, there’s a good chance you could fall victim to one of their scams. What should you look for to differentiate a fly-by-night roofer from a legitimate roofing company?

The team at Keyprime Roofing has the details below.

What Is a Fly-By-Night Roofer?

Has your roof ever suffered storm damage? Did you get a few random knocks on your door in the following days? If you answered, did anyone try to sell you on post-storm repairs? If so, you were probably speaking to a salesman for a fly-by-night roofer.

Many people also call these guys storm chasers since they come out of the woodwork after particularly bad weather strikes. When dozens or even hundreds of homes sustain storm damage in a certain area, reputable local roofing contractors can book up within a day or two. When the quality contractors are booked out for weeks, the dishonest ones swoop in for a quick take-your-money-and-run scam.

Typically, fly-by-night roofers work in one of two ways: They either take a deposit and fall off the map, or they actually perform the work but do an extremely poor job. Either way, the homeowner doesn’t get what they’ve paid for, and often, the contractor disappears, never to be found.

If you need to hire a roofing contractor for repairs or a complete roof replacement, watch out for the red flags below. 

Red Flag #1: Asking for a Large, Upfront Payment

It’s not uncommon for roofing companies to ask for a down payment before they begin working on your roof. When you’re dealing with a reputable roofing contractor, that downpayment will be reasonable. Usually, it ends up being between 10% and 15% of the total cost of the job.

When you’re dealing with a fly-by-night roofer, they might ask you for the entire project fee upfront or a ridiculously large deposit relative to the total cost of the job. Even if the roofer offers you what seems like an excellent deal, be very cautious if they also request a huge chunk of money before commencing work.

The take-a-deposit-and-run scam is one of the most common ways unscrupulous roofing contractors swindle homeowners out of their money. These guys tend to target elderly homeowners, in particular, so keep that in mind. 

Red Flag #2: Unusually Low Project Estimate

When it comes to roofing, you get what you pay for. If a roofing contractor gives you an unrealistically low project estimate, be wary. They’re likely trying to tempt you with what appears to be an incredible deal. Generally, the objective here is to get you super thrilled about the price so you sign a contract quickly, without considering your other options.

In reality, a lowball estimate reflects the quality of the company’s workmanship and materials. When you get estimates from reputable roofing contractors, they typically fall within the same general price range.

Red Flag #3: Lack of Insurance and Licensing

Every reputable roofing company requires its contractors to have full licensing and insurance. When you’re shopping around for contractors, always ask about this! If you allow uninsured contractors to work on your roof, you could be held financially liable in the event of an injury or damage to your home.

Lack of licensing is a huge red flag too. Any contractor that doesn’t adhere to state-specific licensing requirements probably won’t adhere to roofing best practices either. If a roofing company can’t show you proof of their insurance and licensing, don’t hire them.

Red Flag #4: No Online Presence or Trust Signals

We live in a digital world, and any home services company that values a steady flow of new leads recognizes the importance of having an online presence. If you can’t find a roofing company’s business website, that’s a red flag.

Similarly, if a roofer doesn’t have a listing or a rating with the Better Business Bureau, be wary. You should also look for additional trust signals like:

●        Association memberships

●        Partnerships with roofing materials manufacturers

●        Roofing-specific certifications

●        Listings on home services websites like Angie’s List and others

If the business’s online presence is seriously lacking, it’s probably in your best interest to keep shopping around. 

Red Flag #5: Sparse Customer Testimonials or Portfolio

When you can’t find any online reviews for a roofing company, that’s a major red flag. Any roofing contractor worth their salt values their public-facing reputation and will have plenty of testimonials that speak to the quality of their work. Many roofing companies also maintain a portfolio of previous projects, and it never hurts to ask about that too.

If you can’t find testimonials and the company tries to dodge your portfolio requests, it’s probably best to hire someone else.

Red Flag #6: Exaggerated Claims Regarding Roof Damage

We’re prone to heavy winds and tornadoes in Minnesota, and we all know what kind of damage they’re capable of causing. While it’s true that high winds and flying debris can seriously batter any roof, it’s not uncommon for unethical roofing contractors to exaggerate their damage claims.

They’ll do an inspection and report back with a recommendation for a full roof replacement even if the roof only requires repairs. If you ever suspect you’ve been given an exaggerated damage estimate, schedule inspections with other roofing contractors.

Reputable companies will give you a fair and honest breakdown of what’s going on with your roof. Their recommendation will reflect the age of the structure, its overall condition, and whether repairs will provide cost-effective, long-term protection. 

Looking for a Reputable Roofing Company in the Twin Cities? Contact Keyprime Roofing

Whether you’re in the market for roof repairs, a full roof replacement, or storm damage repairs, get in touch with our team at Keyprime Roofing. We specialize in storm restoration, roofing, siding, windows, doors, and gutters and have proudly served homeowners throughout the Twin Cities metro for nearly a decade. Want proof? Check out our reviews!

To discuss your project or schedule an appointment, call our Golden Valley office today at 952-426-0132 or request a free quote. Feel free to message us with any questions or concerns, and we’ll be in touch!