IT’S SO EASY TO GET CAUGHT UP WITH THE COSTS OF LARGE RENOVATIONS THAT IT’S SIMPLE TO MISS THE SIGNS OF A SCAM ARTIST.
When we bought our current home in 2009 we knew that we would have to put a new roof on with-in a year or two as it was the original. By the time we got the keys to our new home the roof was already 15 years old and the 20 year builder grade shingles had seen better days.
The average cost to install a roof on a 1500 square-foot home in our area is between $6000-$8000 dollars. How long would it take you to earn and save thousands of dollars? You wouldn’t want to see your hard-earned money walk away but for many unsuspecting homeowners a roofer scam artist can take them to the cleaners.
If you’ve been scammed by the roofer scam you’ll know how it feels to lose a big chunk of money or be left with significant repairs or damage by an unskilled roofer. Not all home insurance policies will cover roofer scam artists let alone their shady work. Always read the fine print on your home insurance policy and if you’re not sure ask your insurance agent.
The last thing you want to happen is a roofer scam artist runs off with your money, your roof is incomplete, damaged or not even started. You’ll be out the money you gave the roofer scam artist PLUS you still need to put a new roof on your house. That low roofing quote that you might have hoped for will now cost you double the money if not more.
This is more a case of I wish I knew then what I know today so I thought I’d share our roofing story that could have easily turned into a roofer scam.
New Homeowners beware
Neither myself or Mrs. CBB have ever had to deal with roofing companies before nor did we do our homework on how to protect ourselves from a roofer scam artist. I don’t think we gave too much thought to that because of the overwhelming price of the roof.
Moving into a new home means lots of money will be coming out of your bank account to upgrade, repair, furnish and stock your home. The last thing any new homeowner wants is to splash out cash on a large maintenance expense which is why home buyers want to know the age and state of the current roof.
Don’t be like us.
Installing shingles seems to be the first home renovation we hear outdoors once the Spring weather kicks in right up until November. Although the costs to install a new roof depend on the size of your roof, the shingles you choose including a metal roof installation and the roofer you hire.
After researching almost all the roofing companies in our local area we managed to narrow our choices down to 3 roofing companies. We asked the roofing companies to come by and give us a free estimate so we had more of an idea of their price-point. This was needed for comparison purposes and for us to decide on who to hire for the job.
One roofer chatted with me out front of the house then had a look around the property. He did NOT go on the roof. This guy must have taken my request literally when I said, “Come by and give us a free estimate”.
The number one thing you would expect a roofing company to do is to go on the roof. This guy didn’t even have a ladder with him. Sorry I have to laugh because all the signs of a roofer scam artist were in front of our eyes although we didn’t know for sure.
We weren’t about to find out either so we just left him on the side. This is why it’s very important to know the contractors you are dealing with and background about their company before hiring them. At that point we just didn’t care.
The second roofing company did go on the roof, asked us questions and spent quality time explaining everything to us. The cost of his roof was the highest out of all the roof quotes that we got. Although his company was in business for many years, sounded legitimate, looked legitimate, no complaints found online and he offered us references that just wasn’t enough for us I guess.
Should it have been? YES.
For most people it’s all about the price and not just for roofs, for everything. We’ve learned that if you can find a balance between the high and low with excellent quality or workmanship you have a fighting chance of winning. Home roof repairs before and after the fact can drain cash from your savings in no time which is why it’s best to have it done right the first time.
The third roofer was a young guy who was in his second year of owning his roofing business. He had 3 young guys around his age I’d say working for him. He was VERY convincing when he was talking to us about his teams skills and knowledge, the price was the lowest, done in 2 days minimum (weather permitting). He offered to get us the longest lasting shingles not the cheap ones either so he appealed to us right away.
Hiring a roofing contractor
After much discussion with Mrs.CBB we decided to give the young guys a shot and help them build their portfolio. One of the hardest things to do when you start a business is to build trust and rapport with people and potential customers in the community you serve. Compare this to just graduating and trying to find someone to believe in you.
Did we feel sorry for him? In a way however I know how hard it was for me to find work when I moved to Canada so I wanted to pay that forward since I was helped by so many people when I was struggling. Roofers are not government licensed in Canada which means you have your own due diligence of protecting yourself by learning about them.
After we told him that we were going to hire his company to do our roof he threw us for a loop and asked us for 50% of the costs up front. If I owned the roofing company I would want to know that the buyer is serious about the job and to give me a 10% down-payment as security.
We knew in our minds that we shouldn’t but we trusted him and got a money order from the bank for him. There was no way we were going to hand him cash BUT really what did we do? Nothing…we weren’t protecting ourselves enough.
Paper is cash too especially once a cheque is cashed although the paper trail and name of the recipient would be obvious unless a fake bank account was opened and he had the required I.D for that account. It’s easy these days to buy fake I.D.
Thankfully, he came through with all the materials and over the course of two days finished our roof. The installed new skylights as well better than what we had.
Our new roof came with a 10-year warranty which was great especially since anything could happen. Plus we also had a warranty with the shingle company in the event something were to happen. What more would you need? Besides talking to your home insurance company about roof coverage that’s all we thought we would have to do.
How we could have been victims of a roofer scam artist
To make a long story short;
- We were asked to pay 50% up front which we did $5500 I believe was the estimate.
- Our roof was finished on time with the correct materials
- Two of the vents were installed incorrect causing a leak in the winter that ruined our wall. I had to repair that but luckily no damage in the roof space.
- I paid the second roofer to come back and inspect and install proper vents for our house style.
- No issues with the skylights
- One small section of the roof was installed upside down. It won’t affect the functionality of the roof but to a trained roofer they can see it. Most homeowners wouldn’t even have noticed.
- His company closed down the following year.
- There goes our warranty and there was no way we could register any roofing complaints with the Better Business Bureau because he was non-existent.
So much more could have gone wrong with the purchase of our new roof that I wanted to share with all of you our experience. I also wanted to educate you about what I’ve learned since so we protect ourselves the next time our home needs a new roof installation.
Sometimes what happens is a roofer scam artist will change the name of their company to cover their tracks. Once the company is nowhere to be found they just move on and scam more homeowners. Even though you might know their name it’s hard to prove anything once they are gone especially without a paper trail.
How to protect your money from roofer scam artists
- Research price-points for putting on a new roof for your area and set a roof budget.
- You don’t need to discuss your financial situation with your roofer nor do they need to know what you do for a living. They feed off of this.
- Casually talk to neighbours, friends and family that live in the area to see if they recommend a roofing company that they’ve used.
- Call around as many roofing companies to chat and then pick about 5-7 to come around to give you a detailed quote including itemized materials, prices including labour, installation estimated time.
- Get all quotes on company letter-head paper and file them accordingly in a safe space.
- Have as many questions ready about roofing installation ready on paper and ask them. If they can’t answer the questions or their answers seem shady, question it or even red flag it.
- Make sure the roofer gets on the roof to look around and provide you of photos of any damage or repairs needed while he/she is up there. Nix any roofer that fails to do this.
- Pick the middle guy or the most expensive ONLY if they have impressed you enough to do so. Sometimes the lowest price company is the best company. It’s all about winning clients and even a new roofer can offer excellent service. Many have been a roofer for years working for someone else and then branch out to start their own company.
- Check the roofing companies at the Better Business Bureau online to see if they have any infractions or red flags. You can also check complaints or charges for the roofing company on the Consumer Beware List.
- Always pay in full once the job is done but you can provide some security to the contractor by giving a small down-payment 10% seems to be the norm. (we paid 50% a big NO) If the roofer can’t afford to buy the materials him/herself then walk away. If you’re instructed to pay via PayPal be very careful. PayPal scams exist especially out of country scam artists catching homeowners off-guard with payment demands. This is a very bad sign.
- If you want to pay for cash for some reason always get a detailed receipt of the work signed by the contractor so you are protected. Personally, I wouldn’t pay with cash and opt for paper trail of sorts or proof even though you will have a receipt.
- Watch what is going on when they are roofing. Some roofer scam artists will finish the job but use cheap materials when you’re not looking. They may cut corners to speed up the job to move to the next one.
- Always talk to references BEFORE you hire a roofing company and go see the roofs of their clients. Look for signs of a bad roofing job. If you get no references walk away.
- Make sure they provide you with information stating their company has insurance including WSIB. The last thing you want is one of their employees hurting themselves on your property and then suing you.
Working at heights training card
Ask about worker health and safety training as this is now mandatory for all roofers in Canada as of April 2017.
Do not hire a contractor who cannot confirm whether they have trained and equipped their workers properly. Starting April 1, 2017, all roofing contractors must have a working at heights training card, which proves they’ve been trained to work safely at heights.
Currently, under Ontario law, roofing workers must be:
- trained to work safely at heights
- trained in workplace-safety hazards
- protected at all times when working more than three metres (10 feet) above ground
- Take caution with the door to door roofing sales pitch- Busy roofers aren’t busy going door to door.
- Create a written contract for the work.>>> You can find some great tips on what should be in the contract at the Ontario.ca Hiring a Roofer page link above.
- File a consumer complaint for whatever reason if necessary.
Our roof is now 8 years old and we’ve had no issues since the vent leaks. We are fortunate that it worked out this way but moving forward we have a new outlook on hiring contractors.
If you are a new or existing homeowner who will be having your roof replaced for the first time don’t make the same mistakes we did. There are roof scam artists all over Canada and you must protect literally the roof over your head.
Discussion Question: Have you been the victim of a roofer same artist? What red flags did you miss? What did you learn about hiring a roofer in this post that you didn’t know?
Share your comments below.
Have a great weekend.
A Week In My Life
Rain, Rain and more rain but I did manage to cut the lawn this week while our little guy was washing his cars on the drive-way. He just loves hanging out with his daddy and I love spending time with him when I’m home.
I must confess that I’m glad this week is almost over and done with. I’ve spent weeks now preparing for one of the most important interviews of my career. I will find out likely in the next few weeks if I’ll be able to finally move on from where I am now into my dream job. If it doesn’t work out then I keep on trying because Mr.CBB never gives up!
Other than that I had no time to do anything as usual as I’m away 7 days a week now. Our holiday couldn’t come fast enough. Speaking of which I really need to do some research on a few other destinations to stop off at while in the UK. We might as well make the most of it.
Have a great week!
Top Finance Post
Over at Rich Habits Tom Corley blogs about “Lifestyle Creep” which many of you might know of as keeping pace spending money as your income increases. This is a HUGE problem for people who struggle to save money.
I enjoyed reading about what some of his clients did with significant income increases which is typical of most people. A big house comes with bigger expenses.
You can’t spend what you don’t have and even if you do have you don’t always need to spend it. (I think those were my words of wisdom last week, ha). Enjoy the read.
What they really mean is that no matter what good fortune visits you in life, do not change your standard of living. Don’t supersize your life by buying things you really do not need. Live a modest life and forge the Rich Habit of Delayed Gratification – putting off what you want today so that you can have something to fall back on in the future.- Tom Corley, Rich Habits
CBB Published Posts
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Top Post This Week: How Much Should My Grocery Budget Be?
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Making a difference (MAD) 2017
Welcome to the 2017 Making A Difference series! Join the networking movement of Personal Finance Bloggers around the world.
If you are a personal finance blogger and would like your blog to be featured simply drop me an email. I’m currently booking June/July/August 2017-Limited spots.
Personal Finance Bloggers and Fans: I’m currently recruiting for guest posts on the blog while we go away on holidays. This is your opportunity to get published on CBB. If you have a topic idea and interested please contact me via email. firstname.lastname@example.org let’s talk.
Hello Mr. CBB and Readers,
Being healthy and well is more than just being physically fit and sound. It also involves achieving financial, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual well-being.
Learning to balance these areas of wellness is something I strive to show my readers at Life Zemplified. I’m Amy Blacklock a certified nutrition coach, health coach, and personal finance enthusiast. I write on simplifying finances, fitness, food, and fun to achieve greater levels of wellness.
If one area of your life is lacking, whether that be your fitness, nutrition, finances, or faith, it’s bound to throw off the others. Understanding the interconnectedness between all areas and focusing on improving each is the key to total well-being.
Improvements may include moving your body more and eating real food. Or cutting unnecessary expenses, earning more, volunteering in your community, or joining a social group. Each week I provide knowledge, recipes, and ideas, and pose questions to help readers take steps towards these improvements.
I want people to get in tune with their bodies, their minds, and their souls and find what works best for them. It’s not about following the perfect diet, working X number of years, saving X% of your paycheck, or doing what everyone else is doing. It’s about learning, experimenting, making mistakes, moving forward, and sometimes moving backward. Finding what clicks for you, while attempting to be a bit better every day.
Please stop by the site for some healthy recipes and resources on physical wellness – exercise, nutrition, stress management, etc., as well as financial, career, and intellectual well-being. Feel free to contact me there with questions, or to start a conversation.
Thanks, Mr. CBB, for making a difference and thank you, readers, for your time today.
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Hi CBB Fans,
I live in a building in Metro Vancouver where it is illegal to throw appliances, electronics etc. in the garbage.
My son went to down to the garbage room after supper last night and when he came back up he mentioned there was a Bissel carpet cleaner in there.
I went down and grabbed it. I had to get him to take it apart and clean it but after that? It worked awesome AFTER spending a half hour researching how to get it to work? Tada!!! Part of my carpet is clean!!! Tomorrow? I am cleaning more carpet!!!
I make my carpet shampoo so all it costs me is pretty much labor! Oh, the carpet cleaner is sitting in front of my $2 deep freeze (which, although old and not that pretty? Is working awesome).
CBB Words of Wisdom
This is self-explanatory however it’s one of the hardest thing for people to do especially when money is tight. Credit with low-interest rates have allowed consumers to dig themselves into a financial hole. Don’t fool yourself, fool them.
I Want To Eat This
Food is a big part of any budget and a struggle for so many people which is why I’ve created frugal recipes for my family and yours for many years.
I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I exclusively share recipes from Food Bloggers around the world.
Check out the Free Recipe Index on CBB compiled of frugal recipes that are 100% tested and accepted by family and friends!
I was over at the website Cooking Classy this week and found a Classic Macaroni Salad that is perfect for summer picnics. Not only is it cheap to make but there’s no frills involved like some other jazzed up macaroni salads. Keep it simple and enjoy your summer parties.
Some of our popular salads on Canadian Budget Binder are also fairly inexpensive to make and perfect for any summer party.
- Gorgeous Asparagus Salad with Feta and Blue Cheese Dressing
- Warm Cauliflower Bacon Salad with Apple Cider Dressing
- Creamy Bacon Tomato Salad
- Simple Italian Tomato Salad
- Caprese Salad Party Dish
- Tomato Salad with Green Beans, Potatoes and Chick-peas
- Cucumber Radish Salad with Fresh Mint
- Cold Tuna Pasta Salad with a Kick
We loves salads in the CBB house so I hope you try some of our recipes too! You’ll find even more on the blog in the Recipe Index, I promise.
I love when I find stuff at the Dollar Store that saves me from paying more money somewhere else. This DIY project to make Plaster of Paris flowers over at the blog Artsy VaVa using Dollar Store silk flowers will motivate any craft enthusiast.
I love how the blogger used her flower creations in the bathroom as decor for health and beauty accessories. I also think it’s great that after the plaster dries that you can paint the flowers any colour you like. If you’re getting married this summer this may be a frugal way to make centerpieces for your tables at the reception too!!
Search Term Giggles
Always begin and end your day with a SMILE!- Mr.CBB
Every week I get tens of thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.
Most times funny, Sometimes serious.
- What are the dangers of eating a can of cranberry sauce with a 2013 expiry?– Hmm, I probably wouldn’t bother if it’s that old however miracles do live in cans so you never know. Taste it. Nom, Nom, Nom. Possible violent illness vs. $1.99 canned good. Seems obvious to me.
- There must be easy ways to make money– Yes of course that’s why just about everyone busts their ass every day to earn money. Easy and Money doesn’t last forever nor does it happen over-night unless you’re a superstar sensation. Think about it.
- Heinz tomato juice cans rust- Well, I hate to break it to you but they all do.
- Weeknd pictures for Saturday– Haha, you’ll get this if you’re a music fan or just know your stuff.
That’s all the fun for this week, thanks for dropping by and we’ll see you all again next Saturday.
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Hey…if you see any mistakes let me know. I’m not an editor just a guy who likes to write and yes I make mistakes.
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