Storm work is one market that is always thriving somewhere. Many contractors, known as “storm chasers”, follow storms each year, from one disaster to the next, profiting often through deception and dishonest business practices. Georgia is a very unregulated State when it comes to roofing, which means consumers must do their own due diligence to protect themselves and their largest investment, their home. Many of these out of state companies look good in the short term—they have professional marketing material, their salesmen are experts in charm and deception, their roofs go on fast—but in the long-term you will pay the price.
The serious problems that will result from storm chasers and poor workmanship will not be obvious right away. By the time you identify your problems, the storm chasers will be a hurricane and five hail storms away, and you will be stuck with a leaking roof. That nice guy from “Cherokee County Roofing” will be long gone and is now working for “Alamo Roofing.” And you will be out of luck, often paying thousands of dollars out of your own pocket to fix your roof.
So how can you avoid the hazards of working with storm chasers?
Here are some ways to protect yourself:
- Ask some basic questions that should reveal whether the company is from out of town or new to roofing. Where are you from? How long have you been in business in Georgia?
- Check the physical address of the company. Is it a P.O. box, or is it from mailboxes, etc? Is it someone’s garage or basement? Check for toll free numbers, which is a very strong indicator of out-of-state storm chasers. Check the license plates of salesmen’s vehicles.
- Confirm that your contractor carries real workers compensation and general liability insurance. Do not take anyone’s word for it; verify yourself. If a roofer falls and they (often sub-contractors) are not covered, you have just become the General Contractor for that project and can be sued.
- Ask questions about the application and roofing system. Make sure they have real knowledge of the roofing process, and not just expertise in the insurancesettlement process.