As a homeowner living in Florida, you must know how to handle severe weather conditions like a hurricane. Once a storm passes, it is important that you act quickly to protect your home from further damage, and remain safe.
Most recently, Hurricane Ian shocked the state of Florida. According to the experts and the media, Hurricane Ian is one of the deadliest and most destructive storms to hit Florida since 1935.
As these storms occur, there are a lot of things that are out of your control. Soon after the storm passes, repair and restoration efforts will begin and there are some important things you need to be aware of. One thing that you must do as quickly as possible is repair any roof damage to ensure your family and property stay safe. However, a specific group of people called storm chasers become quite active after an event like Hurricane Ian. While it may seem like desperate times, you must remember that these people can take advantage of you.
This blog from SouthShore Roofing & Exteriors will tell you more about how you can protect yourself from storm chasers, and ensure that you get the best roofing services possible.
What Is A ‘Storm Chaser’? How Do Storm Chasers Operate?
You might have heard of a storm chaser before. Storm chasing is a hobby where people drive around in their vehicles during severe weather conditions (usually tornadoes) to get up-close footage of the storms.
It is also a term widely used in the roofing industry, and storm chasers are often thought of negatively.
A storm chaser in roofing refers to a group of people, typically roofing contractors, that visit areas that were recently affected by harsh weather conditions such as a hurricane.
Storm chasers will offer to repair or replace your roof to earn quick money, often with the help of an insurance claim. They are very common in Florida, especially after a storm like Hurricane Ian.
Why Should You Stay Away From Storm Chasers?
It can be difficult knowing who you can trust in the roofing industry, and homeowners will often have the best experience working with a local roofing contractor. Storm chasers show up after a natural disaster to earn fast money, and they are not typically concerned with the quality of work or service that they provide. While this is not always the case, storm chasers know how to take advantage of vulnerable homeowners and their primary goal is to make as much money as quickly as possible.
They will use poor-quality materials, do half-repair jobs, or sometimes leave without doing anything after they receive payment. Many homeowners have been taken advantage of after a severe storm like Hurricane Ian, and the best way to protect yourself is to work with a reputable local roofing company.
How Can You Spot A Storm Chaser?
After Hurricane Ian, fraudulent storm chasers are increasing throughout the state of Florida. To protect yourself from these harmful opportunists, you need to know some signs of a storm chaser and the best way to identify if a roofing contractor is trustworthy. Below you will find some useful tips that will help you identify whether a roofer is valid or a scammer.
They Will Visit Your Home Directly
The first sign that a roofer is not trustworthy is when they visit your home themselves. A professional roofing company will almost never come to your home if you have not made an appointment with them, especially after a storm like Hurricane Ian. An exception to this would be if you notice a local roofing company doing a lot of work in your neighborhood. To avoid getting tricked, you must avoid the ‘knock on the door roofers.’
They Will Offer A Free Roof Inspection
As soon as they meet you, a storm chaser will typically tell you about the severity of the roof damage and will offer you a free roof inspection while they are there. They might even mention a connection to an insurance company! You may be taken aback by how fast they tend to operate.
They Will Ask For Cash Up Front
One of the most obvious signs that can indicate you are being scammed by a storm chaser is that they will demand cash payment upfront. That’s a huge red flag—if the roofing professional needs your money before the team starts working on your roof, the roofers are probably not trustworthy. Some storm chasers will leave without doing any work after receiving your money.
They Will Offer Pricing That Is Too Good To Be True
One of the biggest reasons why storm chasers are successful is that they tend to dupe the homeowners by offering roof replacement or repair prices that are too good to be true. Storm chasers know that pricing is one of the most important decisions that homeowners consider when they are comparing roofing companies, and they will often use this to their advantage. The costs will make you feel like you are making a good decision, but the final job will most likely not.
They Will Use High-Pressure Sales Techniques
Storm chasers will not be in one area for a long time, and they need to maximize their profits quickly while they are in town. To do this, they will use active or high-pressure sales techniques. A storm chaser might ask you to sign a contract immediately and make a payment so they can get started. After a hurricane, most homeowners do not pay attention to the small details, making it easier for fraud roofers to capitalize.
Follow These Tips To Avoid Storm Chasers
We hope the information above will help you understand how to identify a storm chaser. After a severe storm such as Hurricane Ian hits your home in Florida, you will be overwhelmed with many tasks, and finding a good roofing contractor will be one thing you need to do quickly. You must remember that working with a storm chaser may cause more harm than good. This is why you need to hire a professional roofing company.
Below we will share some tips so you can find a roofing company that is trustworthy and will do a good job.
Do Your Research
One important step that you need to take to find a reliable and trustworthy roofer in Florida is to do thorough research about the roofing companies operating in the state. While a storm chaser will want you to move ahead immediately, it is important to do your research before making any decisions. Find out the following things about roofing companies:
- Areas in which the roofing experts work
- Whether they are a part of roofing associations
- Do they use subcontractors or have their local team
- How many years of experience do they have in roofing?
Hire A Local Company
Another helpful tip you can use as you search for a contractor is to hire a company that operates locally in your area. Most storm chasers do not work in a specific location for an extended period, and if something is wrong with your roof down the road you will have difficulty finding the contractor.
On the other hand, local companies will respond faster and be there for you in the future. They are more likely to be familiar with your area’s unique climate and weather patterns, so they can offer advice on protecting your roof against them.
Check Their License
Checking the license of the company you are going to hire is an easy way to ensure that they’re legit and not just some scammer trying to take advantage of you. Reputable companies always have a license from the required authorities. If you want to check the license of a contractor in FL, then visit the following website: myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp
Apart from the license, check that the company’s workers are fully insured.
Do Not Sign Anything Without Reading
Never sign anything without reading it first! This should be obvious, but people fall victim to this regularly because they want their homes fixed immediately. The storm chaser teams will do anything to make a quick buck, and they can put pressure on you to sign the contract immediately to get the best deal. If you have a problem with the contract, or if you are not comfortable with something in it, then speak up! Make sure that you address all your concerns before you sign anything.
Avoid Paying Money In Advance
You should never pay a hefty sum in advance, especially to the company that has knocked on your door. When you’re getting quotes for your roof, it can be tempting to pay a company a deposit once you sign a contract.
This is a common scam: the company will quote you an extremely low price for your roof, knowing that they’ll never have to fulfill the contract. Then they’ll take your money and run.
These are only a few considerations that can help you find the best roofing contractor in Florida. You can also visit our blog on How to Choose the Best Roofing Contractor in Tampa, FL, to get the best for your roof.
Has Your Roof Suffered Storm Damage? Our Team Can Help
After every major storm in Florida, hundreds of roofing and construction companies travel to the state. This might make it hard for you to choose the right company for your job. Also, these companies rely on an insurance claim that unnecessarily extends the process.
This is why you should hire the highly experienced team at SouthShore Roofing & Exteriors.
We are a local, Tampa-based, family-owned business that has years of experience in the roofing industry. We’re a Platinum Installer with Atlas and have a Certified Plus rating from GAF.