Can you distinguish between professional roofers vs frauds?
The Cincinnati areas are full of choices when it comes to roofing service providers. Parsing through the noise to find a roofer that is trustworthy is difficult when the clutter in front of you includes:
- Everyone saying they are the best
- Internet searches pushing you to dubious websites
- Unfamiliar stamps of approval
- Established names vs modern newer companies
- Well-advertised names vs those found in the Yellow Pages
Who is the real deal, who’s a fraud, who costs too much, and other questions will make selecting a roofer to call on so difficult. It’s no wonder so many people turn to services like the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List. Even those directories don’t account for specialists as well as they can (Cedar shake roofing pros, storm damage specialists, etc.). These directories attempt to bolster confidence in a consumer’s decision making but they are in the business of also making money. Where do they make their money? Charging the businesses in their directory pays the bills. There are real reviews and awards given but many consumers get burned once and stop using these services.
Believe it or not, consumers choose residential roofers based on personal referrals and the canvassing efforts by the companies at a combined 70% to 80% of their clients. It’s that small remaining percent of consumers that are hunting through the plethora of contenders.
Qualifications Separating Professional Roofers vs Frauds
First, let’s define the differences between a roofing professional vs fraud.
For starters, professionals are established businesses with plenty of industry stamps of approval, licenses, insurance, a local office, and plenty of solid online reviews. They should show up any place you look for a roofer from the main directory services mentioned to billboards, radio ads, and other media. Professional roofing companies provide plenty of solid photos of their work, helpful information on their websites, advertise in social media, and display their branding proudly. (trucks, shirts, yard signs, etc.).
Saying “Fraud” sounds bad but let us inspect the pillars of the definition:
- Dishonest/a false person
- Pretends/tricks people
- A copy of something that is meant to look like the real thing in order to fool another
Fraudulent roofers pretend to be more than what they are by faking qualifications, glancing over or downplaying qualifications, and typically by just acting like a low price solution.
Here is a direct qualifying distinguisher match-up chart meant to show the short comings of frauds and small roofing outfits with no safety nets (Pro vs Fraud):
- Backed by major manufacturer(s) VS Backed by their word and a handshake
- Great salesmen that are NOT pushy VS Owner or a physical roofer for main contact
- Dozens of positive four plus star reviews online VS Minimal to zero online reviews/ discussions
- A local office you can visit during normal business hours VS The back of a truck
- Lists of local clients VS Empty handed
- Folders full of information presented VS A homemade looking brochure
- Ready to help with ANY exterior needs VS Ready to help repair a roof and MAYBE gutters
- Special financing offered VS Nothing offered.
- Takes all forms of payment VS Takes checks and cash only
- Provides in-depth estimates VS Vague and non detailed estimates
- Staffed by knowledgeable professionals VS Staffed by guys who were nailing shingles all day
Doing your homework is a task but you need to research your local roofers to separate professional roofers vs frauds. But what are the hallmarks of a trustworthy roofing company operating in the Cincinnati area?
Clues You’ve Found a Trustworthy Roofing Professional
There are a few things that you’ll need to see to recognize a pro easily. The following stamps are a great place to start visually:
Manufacturer Backing! When a manufacturer gives a stamp, like the GAF Master Elite Contractor, you are getting an actual contractor that has repeatedly proven to the manufacturer that they have a solid and reputable working relationship, continue to educate themselves on the manufacturer’s roofing system (all components of a new roof that are made by GAF for instance). Only 2% of the roofers in the Cincinnati area carry this stamp.
Is it good to find a company that flaunts all or few of these? The short answer is fewer the better. In truth, a contractor needs to do their homework and give their clients the best product at the best price with the best warranty. If you figure those points you come up with a clear winner with GAF followed by a tie between CertainTeed and Owens Corning.
Awards and honors based on performance sets the tone with professional roofers vs frauds. There are many awards out there that don’t mean a hoot but should you see any of these be sure to take them seriously.
The look of the award changes every year but it reflects a whole lot of great customer surveys!
Only a squeaky clean record will allow for an A+. If a company doesn’t have an A+ they should be researched further.
When the largest manufacture of roofing products in North America calls you a Top 100 Contractor in North America, you’re just that.
When the Roofing Contractor publication specifies a company as a Top 100, it means business is solid for said company.
Other Distinguishing Marks to look for:
- NRCA stamp – All roofers should be a member of National Roofing Contractors Association
- Local Chamber of Commerce Member – If not in your town, then one close by
- Social Media Icons – Show that they are modern thinking
- EagleView Technologies – Expect very precise estimates when it comes to the product needed for the job. EagleView provides precise roof size detail.
- GuildQuality – Provides third party surveys to customers to get a clear picture on many aspects of a project. More here
The Final Word in Professional Trust
Now to talk about the primary roof inspection – the basis for all that will come after. This has less to do with professional roofers vs frauds and more to do with separating good from GREAT contractors. The point is that more competent roofing companies in Cincinnati and elsewhere offer an expert inspection. We’re talking about roofing experts that possess an innate ability to properly and accurately inspect and evaluate residential roofing. This comes from education that is certified one of the oldest firms in the United States that specializes in the engineering analysis of damage and failure to roof systems, Haag Engineering. A great contractor has salesmen that take on this cardinal knowledge to benefit their clients like few can:
- A certified roof inspector has been trained to determine cause and scope of damage, compute costs of repair, and to analyze field date culminating in objective data.
- A Haag certified roof expert is able to determine whether a repair or replacement is most cost effective for the end user.
- A roof expert is able to determine precisely what caused the damage.
- A Haag certified roof inspector is able to provide accurate and trustworthy information in a solid report.
- A Haag certified roof inspector that misrepresents the truth will have their license revoked.
- A Haag trained pro speaks the same language as an insurance company field adjuster because many of them are Haag certified as well. This means an insurance claim will more likely pass with a Haag certified inspector at your side.
Look for this stamp if you think you have storm damage!