When spring storms cause roofs to spring a leak or the house needs a new roof altogether, a roofer is one of the most critical contractors a consumer can hire.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) received more than 6,000 complaints about roofing contractors in 2019. Roofers ranked among the 10 most-complained-about business categories in Eastern and Southwest Missouri and Southern Illinois last year.

Many complaints involved the quality of work, failure to complete jobs, and failure to issue refunds. An Arnold, Missouri, man told BBB in September 2019 a contractor left new roofing unattached to his home, causing it to blow off in a storm and damage other areas of the roof. The company did not respond to his requests to clean up the mess and correct it, nor to his eventual request for a refund.

“Repairing or replacing your roof is one of the biggest home projects a homeowner may have to consider,” said Stephanie Garland, BBB Springfield Regional Director. “It’s vital that consumers research companies before hiring them for this critical work.”

Homeowners should be cautious after a storm, when fly-by-night contractors often go door-to-door with offers to make repairs or clear debris. BBB complaints describe contractors who, in these situations, took deposits from consumers and did little or no work. Some couldn’t be reached when consumers wanted refunds or were dissatisfied with the repairs.

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Consider the following when hiring a roofer or any contractor:

●      Make sure you understand the full scope of the project. Will the roofer be doing spot repairs or replacing the whole roof? Will they be removing the old roof or covering it with the new roof? Read your contract thoroughly before signing.

●      Do your homework.  Review BBB’s Business Profiles to find a company you can trust.

●      Ask about clean-up and waste removal. Confirm that your contractor will be responsible for taking away all old materials and cleaning up your site after their work is complete.

●      Consider your gutters and landscaping. A roofer’s ladders can cause damage to your gutters or landscaping. How will the company prevent or repair such damage?

●      Plan for bad weather. What happens if there is bad weather while your roof project is underway? Ask your roofer about what they will do to protect your home from rain or snow.

●      Check your insurance coverage. If your project will fix damage, check your homeowner’s insurance to see if your project is covered and how you should proceed if it is.

●      Verify the contractor’s license and insurance. Be sure that the company you decide to work with has the necessary licenses and insurance to work in your region.

●      Inquire about a lien waiver. A lien waiver is a statement from your contractor that says all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work.

●      Arrange a payment schedule. For major jobs, never pay in full up front. Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, or that you use a credit card.

●      Get a receipt. Request a receipt marked “Paid in Full” when the job is completed and your final payment is made.

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