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{after a hail storm} identifying hail storm chasers

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OibqJiXUDBw]

Homeowners are opened to a vulnerable position of being approached by storm chasers, who are known to come in to a community and take advantage of homeowners in a desperate time of need. A roofing storm chaser is a company that moves into your neighborhood right after a major storm. The company seeks out homes to perform roof repairs, often at bargain prices. The company then takes your money, starts the job and either fails to complete the work, or provides poor quality work.

The current trend of storm chasing companies is to buy rights into a local company and act as a local company that can be trusted.  This is very misleading and dangerous!  In some cases, they will approach a home and tell people they will replace their roof or siding for whatever the insurance company will pay, all without measuring or investigating the damage of the existing materials.

Storm Chasers are known to leave your city as fast as they came after the work is “completed.” (We refer to it as the “taillight warranty” – as soon as the taillights from their trucks disappear – so does your warranty.)  Unfortunately you and your home can be left with a poor quality roof to deal with or even be swindled out of deposit payments and undelivered promises. One of the most common hidden problems is the result of an improperly installed roof. There are many manufacturer specifications that must be met before your manufacturer’s shingle warranty is even valid. Installing a roof to these specifications is not as easy as just installing new shingles. And, if your roofing material happens to fail for any reason down the road, any claim filed with the manufacturer will be denied should the roof be installed improperly. So in all likeliness, the warranty you thought accompanied your roof, could be non-existent.

Indicators that a Roofing Contractor is Legitimate:
Local References and Testimonials
– Check for jobs completed in the last 30 days and over 1 year ago.
– Any legitimate roofing contractor will eagerly share past testimonials and references with you.

Make sure you get several references to check up on.
– Local Business License (more than 1 year in service)
– Member of Local Better Business Bureau
– Permanent Office Location – Storm Chasers typically will set up a small temporary office to give the impression that they are a local contractor. They will even have advertising and yard signs stating they are local. A respectable local contractor will have a  permanent office adequate to run a professional business. Before you make a hiring decision for your roofing company, you may want to visit the contractor’s office to verify that they are going to be around after the storm and stand behind their work.

Local Sales Consultants and Crews
Go ahead and ask your Sales Consultant to show you their driver’s license and check their license plate to verify he is from the area. Many Storm Chasers will purchase the company name of a local company to pass themselves off as “locals”, only to leave the local company owner with problems, non-existent warranties from poor quality workmanship.  (Or worse, go out of business – leaving you no one to turn to.)

Check with Your Local Municipality, and verify that the company pulled building permits in the last year.
Call your local building inspector to verify that they pulled building permits in 2010, or so far this year.  Check for jobs completed in the last 30 days and over 1 year ago.

Insurance: General Liability & Workers Compensation
It is common for these documents to be made without being valid.  For further protection, call the insurance company to verify their coverage.  If the contractor is not insured, and someone gets hurt while working on your home – you could be held liable.

Written Manufacturer Warranties

Written Workmanship Warranties
A written workmanship warranty is of decreased value from a company that does not have a local presence and is only in town because of storm-related work. In other words, if the roof fails it might be very difficult to get the company to follow up for repair or workmanship issues.