21 Dec 7 Ways to Identify Fly by Night Roofers
I remember the first time I heard the term “fly by night roofers”. I was an 18 year old kid from Hamilton Ontario, working on roofs in the hot Saskatchewan summer and, compared to what I was used to back home, it felt like the middle of nowhere. I would often go out with my boss and help him with estimates. One day we were doing an estimate for an older gentleman and that’s where I heard it first: “You guys aren’t a bunch of fly by night roofers are ya?” Roofers take immense pride in their work, and from the calm, silent displeasure I could see on my boss’s face as he assured the gentleman that we were not, I knew that word carried a lot of baggage.
As I’ve sadly come to find out, there are very good reasons to be concerned about fly by night roofers and one of the primary difficulties in detecting them is that they take many shapes and forms. The danger to the homeowner ranges from hiring uninsured roofers who will show up, do a decent job, and never be available to fulfill the warranty if you have an issue, all the way to people who will demand a 50% deposit up front, never to be seen or heard from again. Our colleagues over at The Eavestrough Company in Hamilton published this sobering warning about the dangers of fly by night contractors.
Here is a list of 7 ways to identify fly by night roofers:
- No insurance, business license or WSIB. This is unequivocal! If you allow somebody like this to work on their property YOU can be sued by THEM for any injuries or damages, and they are completely off the hook. Don’t just take their word for it either. Demand to see papers!
- A lack of business acumen and company knowledge. Some things to consider when picking a roofing contractor are an ability to articulate things like warranty packages, customer service policies and pricing structures in a specific, clear and articulate way. If it sounds like they only know the roofing side without having given much thought to building a company, beware!
- Fly by night companies generally move in small operations of one or two people and the guy who does the estimate is often the guy on the roof. It’s easier to operate shady dealings in smaller numbers.
- Bargain basement prices. The statement often holds true that “you get what you pay for”. There are good deals to be had, but be cautious about a company coming in way lower than the average quote from other companies.
- Combine #4 with a lack of professionalism in manner, speech and attire and there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself a fly by night contractor.
- Companies that pop up out of nowhere. Fly by nighters typically get work by going door to door, whereas no legitimate contractor would do that. Look for a nice website, vehicles and preferably an office (although several legitimate operations work out of their house).
- In the digital age, it is increasingly easy to vet a company’s history through client reviews on HomeStars as well as the Better Business Bureau.
Stay safe out there homeowners! As always, we are happy to help and give any advice that we can. You can reach us at 905-746-5792 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.