(SAVANNAH, GA) The hail that battered roofs in Southeast Georgia recently did more than just damage shingles and gutters. It left homeowners vulnerable to scam artists who prey upon people who want their roofs repaired quickly and cheaply.
“Roofers in the state of Georgia are not required to have licenses,” explains John Reynolds, president of RPI, a roofing company that serves residential, commercial and industrial clients. “As a result, many out-of-state roofers will descend upon storm-battered areas with professional sales teams to convince unwitting homeowners that they can repair their roofs for less. Unfortunately, what oftentimes happens is that roof repair is completed without warranties and the storm chasers leave town with no one left to stand behind their work.” According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, hail is one of the costliest natural disasters facing Americans each year. In the U.S. alone, hail causes an average of $1.6 billion worth of damage per year to residential roofs.
Most homeowners are understandably eager to have their roofs repaired after a hailstorm. But before hiring a roofer who makes promises that sound too good to be true, the Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Georgia offers the following tips:
–Ask for Referrals. Ask friends and associates for the name of a roofer with whom they have had a good experience.
–Hire a local roofer if at all possible. Contact your local, state or national roofing association for referrals.
–Get a written estimate, and be sure to read the fine print. Always get estimates from several reputable roofing contractors before making a decision and insist on the details. Don’t accept a price alone.
–Obtain references and check them. Ask for references from the roofer and a listing of jobs he has done in your area in the last year or two.
–Check years in business. Ask how long the roofer has been in business and verify the information with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division at: www.sos.ga.gov/Corporations.
–Obtain Proof of Insurance. Make sure your roofer carries general liability insurance, workers’ compensation and is bonded. If the contractor does not have property and casualty insurance (general liability) and workers’ compensation insurance, you may be liable for damages he may cause or injuries to himself or his employees. Ask for a Certificate of Insurance with you named as the Certificate Holder.
–Get guarantees in writing. Ask for a copy of the roofer’s warranty for materials and workmanship—usually one to two years. This binds the roofer to repair any leaks caused by his workmanship or the failure of the materials for the most critical period. Most problems with a new roof will show up in the first year or two.
–Ask for a written contract. A complete contract should clearly state all the work to be performed, all associated costs, the payment schedule and obligate the roofer to pay for all materials ordered for the job.
–Pay by check. Avoid paying in advance and making payments in cash if at all possible.
–Make final payments only when the work is completed. Do not sign completion papers or make the final payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction. A reputable roofer will not pressure you to sign if the job is not properly finished.
RPI (Roofing Professionals, Inc.) has served residential, commercial and industrial clients for more than 11 years, providing professional roofing solutions from standard maintenance to restoration and replacement. In addition to offering traditional roofing services to customers in Southeast Georgia and South Carolina, RPI specializes in green roofing initiatives. RPI has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. For more information, please call 912-756-ROOF (7663), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rpiroof.com. For tips on how to hire reliable roofers, please visit the Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Georgia’s website at www.rsmca.org. Additional information about disaster-related repairs may be found at FEMA’s website at www.fema.gov/.