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Roofers give warnings, advice

With numerous roofs in Barnesville damaged by a late January hailstorm, roofers are clamoring for work in the area. Local roofers have tips on what people should look for to ensure they do not fall victim to a scam. *************** ©The Herald Gazette/ This information may not be reprinted, broadcast or distributed electronically in any form or fashion without express consent. For reprint permission, e-mail *************** ’First of all, make sure they have a business license, their company name is on their truck and they can hand you a business card,’ said Richard Crosby, a roofer and insurance inspector. ‘Always meet your roofer face to face but don’t judge on looks.’ Check credentials through the Better Business Bureau to see if they have a good rating, all the contractors interviewed for this story agreed. Also, find out how long they have been in business. Joseph Waldrop, a fourth generation roofer whose company has been in business over 90 years, adds the local chamber of commerce is always a good place to check. In a handout that goes to all its prospective customers, Kellett and Sons Roofing adds to the list having a permanent place of business and making sure the company is committed to safety and worker education. Google their name to find out as much as you can, added Crosby, who has 25 years in the business. ‘They can tell you they’ve been in the business 20 years but there’s no way of knowing if you don’t check. Ask what roofing supply company they use and check with it.’ Roofing contractors need to be insured, bonded and have a workman’s compensation program. If they cannot give you proof of these, do not hire them. ’They should show you their insurance (workers compensation) certificates on site,’ said Waldrop. ‘A receipt shouldn’t be accepted. Someone could make a downpayment then drop the insurance.’ If a company is not properly insured, added Kellett, the homeowner may be liable for any accidents occurring on his or her property. The size of the company should not matter, Crosby said. Though his company is large and runs several crews, ‘Small companies can and will do a good job for you.’ Waldrop and Crosby said to beware of roofers who want money up front. To get names of these types of companies, Google ‘bad roofer scam.’ ’Never, ever give a roofing company any money up front,’ Crosby said. ‘If a company is secure and reputable enough it’ll be able to carry that work until it’s finished.’ Both referred to the American Shingles scam that operated in Lamar County a couple of years ago in which the company took the first, smaller insurance check from at least two couples then absconded without performing the work. ’There are other companies like that out there,’ Crosby said. ‘Don’t file an insurance claim that could be unnecessary. Agencies here are looking out for their clients’ best interests. If they find you have damages, they’ll take care of them.’ Waldrop noted 83.7% of roofing companies go out of business before 25 years, as shingle warranties run out. Older companies have weathered the storm. Also some 400 roofing companies have popped up along the Macon to Atlanta corridor in the last four years alone. ’If they don’t have the money to start the job up front they shouldn’t be in business,’ said Waldrop. ‘Check for references. I have a whole file of customers and usually invite people to the office to check them over.’ Some companies may be using sub-crews, he added. ‘Look up a technical manual online and ask the supervisor some technical questions. If he can’t answer them, he’s not a roofer.’ People who suspect they have roof damage from the hailstorm should have someone they trust come do an inspection. There should be no charge to inspect a roof. ’Older roofs will be torn up worse than newer ones,’ Crosby said. ‘I’ve seen holes here the size of quarters. All of Barnesville got hit. I’ve seen a lot of damage.’ Whether one thinks one’s house was damaged or not, it is time to have it checked. ’I’m sure there are homeowners who have no idea they have roof damage. They should have a professional, someone they trust, check it out,’ he said. ‘They should check for damage before filing a claim.’ Undetected leaks could cause interior damage. Keep an eye on the ceilings ‘“ even after a new roof is done to make sure something was not missed. Low bids may not include dump fees, metal for valleys or wood damage, added Kellett. ’There’s not a roofer out there who isn’t going to have a leak or two afterward,’ Crosby said. ‘If the contractor is within 50 or 60 miles they’ll come fix it quick.’ Chuck Bankston of Bankston Lumber said local companies are more easily accessible if they need to come back and do warranty work. Kellett recommends thoroughly reading and understanding warranties, paying close attention to items that could void it. ’Make sure there’s at least a year’s warranty work on labor,’ said Bankston. ‘Price is important but most shingles are equal in terms of quality and warranty.’ Also, do not urge a company to go ahead and tear off a roof if bad weather is on the way. Delaying the work protects both the contents of the home and the company’s bond rating. ’To be a roofer you have to be a good weather man, too,’ Crosby said.

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