Have you ever had someone ring your doorbell in the days following a big storm, asking if you would like a free inspection for any storm damage to your roof and siding? This business model can prey on homeowners who understand the importance of taking care of their roof, but don’t understand the risks of working with this kind of contractor.
In the construction and renovation industry, we call these teams who travel from state to state, searching for communities to target for repairs, “storm chasers.” There are a lot of reasons to turn down their services if they ever show up at your door after a storm, just as there are a lot of reasons to have a Minnesota licensed contractor come out for to look for damage.
Here are some things you need to know about traveling storm chasers and the way they operate their businesses.
Avoid Falling For the Scam
Storm chasers are known for being one of the biggest sources of roofing scams in the country. They show up in a community, knock on doors, complete a cursory inspection, and get homeowners to sign a contract on the spot by using high-pressure sales techniques and suggesting that they’ll be able to provide a “free roof.” This strategy often ends up defrauding both the homeowner and the insurance company!
The homeowner ends up with a roof that is barely passable. Repairs are made in the most basic way possible, often ignoring any true structural damage. The roof looks finished at the end, but it could be a mostly cosmetic change: new shingles placed onto a damaged or incomplete surface. The insurance fraud part comes in when these contractors encourage homeowners to simply sign over their claim checks, even if they don’t do anywhere near the work that the check should have covered.
Signs of a Storm Chaser
How can you differentiate a storm chaser from a legitimate contractor? It’s really not too hard once you know what you’re looking for.
- Storm chasers will approach you, despite not having any long-term connections to the community.
- Storm chasers will often have out-of-state license plates, business cards, etc.
- Storm chasers will ask for your insurance claim check, rather than having you pay.
- Legitimate roofing contractors will be able to give you their licensing information, as well as a name they can look up with the Better Business Bureau to check for complaints.
- Storm chasers may work under different names so that concerns about them are harder to track down.
- Legitimate roofing contractors will not pressure you to sign a contract before you’re ready to commit and before you’ve had a chance to look into their reputation and experience.
Now that you know the differences between storm chasers and certified roofing contractors, you can avoid being scammed by these unethical teams of workers.
Next Steps to Deal With Roof Repairs
What should you do if you suspect your home or roof has been damaged by wind or hail?
It is vitally important to the longevity of your home that you protect and care for your roof. A licensed contractor can recognize damage that you might not see, so it’s always a good idea to get a quote if it’s possible that your home was damaged by a storm. Check local listings and home improvement databases to find a company with roots in your community and a strong track record of excellent work.
In the Minneapolis area, you can count on the work of Iron River Construction. Iron River not only has a great record of high-quality work from professional contractors for more than fifteen years, but we were also recently named as a finalist for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota’s Torch Award for Ethics. The Torch Award recognizes companies that display a proven record of going the extra mile in their dealings with the public, employees, vendors and within their communities. In other words, we are one of Minnesota’s most trusted roofing companies.
Contact Iron River Construction today to set up an appointment for a free evaluation of your roof, and an estimate for any repairs you may need.