There’s been plenty of attention focused on roofing and tree trimming in Stephenville, Dublin and Erath County due to the recent storm damage.
It’s all very notable in media publications with roofing advertisements and the “beware of scams” shout outs that seem to be coming from just about everywhere.
Like in any industry, trade or job there are always unscrupulous people looking to take advantage and they end up giving the rest of the crowd a bad name.
As a photographer I sometimes run into people asking “How can I get my photos from this person that I paid in advance?”
I have tried to learn from my tactless past mistakes and not simply ask, “Why were you silly enough to hand somebody money for a product that in today’s world amounts to their time and the cost of a CD?”
Yes, there are roofers who will need money for materials, but they certainly don’t need the entire amount before the job is finished. Realistically a homeowner should not have to fork out more than one-third of the job cost and it’s prudent to hold back at least 10 percent until the job is completed as promised.
I am not a roofing or building expert, but I’m not bad at research and I have a little common sense – so I have attempted to try both and here’s what I came up with.
I called around and gathered a little information from a wide variety of folks to include Stephenville Police Chief Jason King and even one of those “dreaded” out-of-town roofers.
Chief King recommends the first thing to do when approached by a roofer is to check and see if they are on the list of approved solicitors in Stephenville. Also that homeowners do their research and remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true – it’s probably not true.”
Now, here are some other gems I was able to round up.
Don’t tell the roofers before they look at your roof how much the insurance company has accessed the damage cost at.
Don’t depend on just one bid, but seek several. There are times when you may have to be in a hurry to prevent further damage. Getting three estimates won’t take long and you will have a much better idea of the true costs.
Knowing the price range may also give you the ability to settle for a cost with the company of your choosing at the price you want and not vice versa.
Always be present when the insurance adjuster and roofing bidders come to do inspections. This prevents “crooked” people adding costs to a job by adding additional “damage” with golf balls or ball-ping hammers.
Check to make sure the company you wish to select has insurance and is bonded. These amounts need to be more than enough to cover the cost of what needs to be repaired or replaced.
Know what your contract contains and know your rights too. Federal law calls for a “three-day-cooling-off” rule when businesses sell something worth more than $25 at a location other than its place of business. Sellers are legally required to inform a buyer of their right to cancel.
If a person does choose to cancel a contract they must do so in writing and before midnight of the third day.
Last, first and between, if you are not comfortable with the deal you are getting do some more research. With the Internet a keystroke away there’s the Better Business Bureau and a slew of “review and complaint” sites to inform you.
Russell Huffman is chief roust-about and step-and-fetch-it at The Flash Today. His previous work includes both print and broadcast journalism with awards from the Texas Press Association for news writing and photography. A former Army officer, Russell earned his commission through the Tarleton State University ROTC program. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole. To contact Russell, do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.