How to Spot and Avoid a Storm Chaser Roofer in Richmond, VA

Published March 22nd, 2022 in Blog
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You may have heard of a storm chaser before and instantly thought of those adventurers who seek the thrill of chasing and watching severe storms. Roofing storm chasers also seek after storms, but they chase making fast money on roofs by taking advantage of people right after severe storms. Storm chasers show up after a severe storm, stop by any damaged property, and then take advantage of people’s urgent need for a roof replacement or repair. They are dangerous since they work fast, use poor-quality material, and leave your house in bad shape.

What is a storm chaser and a fly-by-night roofing company?

A storm chaser and a fly-by-night roofer are both terms used for roofers who take advantage of bad situations to make money by doing shoddy work. They usually have fake advertisements to gain customers easier since they just show up. A fly-by-night roofer sometimes will work at night in order to avoid any police activity. Once they have completed enough work, they disappear, leaving behind a poor quality roof and taking your money without any way of contacting them in the future. Storm chasers are outright scammers with little experience in quality roofing. You want to avoid hiring either of them. Make sure you do your research on trustworthy roofing contractors in your area, but here are some things that can help you avoid hiring a storm chaser.

How to spot storm chasers and fly by night roofers

The goal is to know how to spot a fly-by-night or storm chaser roofer in Richmond, VA, to avoid them ever getting on your roof. You want to get quality work done on your roof by a professional roofing contractor so that it lasts a long time with minimum repairs. So here is a couple of things to keep an eye out for.

  • Storm Chasers will show up after any severe weather hits, which can mean anything from tornados to hail storms. They usually do not have many employees or will work alone. They will travel to the area affected by a storm and then go door to door trying to get business. Sometimes their sales methods can come across as aggressive, shady, and sometimes frightening. Remember that a reliable, professional roofing contractor rarely uses the sales tactic of going door to door.
  • Storm chasers will say they have great prices or may claim they are running a “special” to try to persuade you to get your business. They are able to offer low rates because they buy cheap materials and equipment. Storm chasers may also try to persuade you to use your home insurance policy by convincing you it’ll end up being fully covered. They also try to get you to pay fully in cash or pay part of it upfront.
  • Storm Chasers are often seen using cheap, low-quality materials that don’t last, and they use unprofessional equipment. They may end up taking your money and never even finish the work they promised to do for you. Their job is often done in a hurry with many problems left behind. Then you’re left in a tough spot, not being able to contact them to fix your roof when it needs attention.

What to do if you come across a storm chaser

It may sound like you are getting an amazing deal, especially if your roof was just damaged, but always stand your ground and not be intimidated by a salesman at the door. Salespeople know their information very well and sound like experts on what they are selling. You might be impressed by the many services storm chasers claim to offer, but most of them are only roofing contractors and can’t do siding and windows like other businesses. It might be helpful to get their business card, company name, and website, even if these may be fabricated. Do not feel pressured to sign anything right away. You can tell them you first need to do some research and get other estimates. Online reviews are one way of seeing if a company is reputable. They should have up-to-date and valid licenses and certifications, but these could also be forged, so be careful. Make sure you get any warranties and contact information in written form for any future repairs.

You want to be the only one getting information. Do not give out any information or sign any paperwork from a roofing contractor who comes to your door. Also, do not give out any deposits unless you are positive the company is trustworthy. A lot of storm chasers will ask for a large deposit before starting any work so they can leave at any point. You may also want to ask where they get their materials and how much experience the crew and contractor have.

Are storm chasers legal?

Storm chasing is unsafe and illegal, so if you see any suspicious activity, make sure you report it to the police right away. With the growing number of storm chasers, the Better Business Bureau came out to warn consumers about these roofing scams. They give many helpful tips to avoid hiring any scammer. A helpful tip to making sure you do not hire a storm chaser is to contact your insurance company and ask them about your policy coverage and if they recommend any specific roofing companies.

Your first red flag is anytime a roofing contractor comes straight to your door after a storm. It is also important to get two or three estimates from different roofers. If you are not sure about a company that shows up on your doorstep, tell them you are going to get other estimates.  It may be hard getting a second estimate after a storm, but do not be afraid to ask a local roofing company about the contractors who came to your door. When storm chasers try to persuade you to use your home insurance policy, their goal is to leave with the extra insurance funds. They do this by overcharging the insurance company for their labor. The Better Business Bureau also highly recommends getting everything in writing and paying for all big purchases with a credit card. It is easier to track credit cards, so storm chasers may offer you a discount if you pay in cash instead. This is another sign of their dishonesty.

When you are trying to find a reputable roofing company in Richmond, VA, Cenvar Roofing is a licensed professional company. We have high standards with our roofs because we are Owen’s Corning Platinum Preferred Contractors. We use a lot of materials from Owen’s Corning, which are known to be high quality. If you find any damage on your roof or would like to know more about a roof replacement in Richmond, VA, give us a call! Since it is important to get multiple estimates for your roof, we offer a FREE ESTIMATE! Please give us a call if you have any questions, and we would love to help!