When your home is damaged by bad weather and in need of repair, the last thing you should have to worry about is an unreliable contractor. Unfortunately, there are some companies, who are better known as “storm chasers” who may try to take advantage of homeowners in a desperate situation. Storm chasers are companies that follow severe weather from area to area, completing home repairs (generally roofs and siding) that are damaged by hail and wind. Like anything else, there are some positive and negative stories surrounding these so-called “storm chasers” so it’s a good idea to be mindful and aware of some challenges that may arise when working with these contractors.
Why are they unreliable?
Due to the nature of storm chasers, these contractors are traveling from area to area without ties or roots in the communities they’re working in. This can lead to underperformance and poor craftsmanship in some unfortunate cases due to a lack of accountability. The out of state contractors may not be licensed in your state, so checking credentials is especially essential when dealing with post-storm repairs. Check the Better Business Bureau if you are unsure of the legitimacy of a roofing contractor. This will tell you if the business is local and if complaints have been filed against it.
What to look for
There are some obvious red flags that can tip off homeowners off to a potential storm chaser. If a contractor knocks on your door to talk to you about roof repair, this could be a sign. Roofing contractors do not typically seek out work after a storm, they let the work come to them. Out-of-state contractors can’t rely on homeowners finding them for repairs which causes them to seek out work in many different ways which can include canvassing. Another red-flag is in the way of payment. If your roofing contractor is requiring upfront cash payment, run! Paying a storm chaser upfront before any of the work is completed creates the possibility for them to leave your project uncompleted to move onto the next storm.
The good news!
Although there are some untrustworthy roofing contractors that follow the storms in hopes of a payday, they’re not all bad. There are definite benefits that storm chasing companies bring when they come into town. When a large storm hits, it’s nearly impossible for the local contractors to handle the damages as soon as possible. Professional storm companies are able to mobilize project managers, office staff, crews, and “insurance claim specialists” quickly and easily(often within minutes of the storm hitting) because they do not have ties to any particular area. These licensed out-of-state crews offer much-needed backup to our local contractors and help return our communities to their original state much faster.
After the devastation of storm damage, you need a reliable roofing professional you can count on. Asking the right questions and cautious with your choice of contracting companies can help you avoid reworking repairs later on.