Sometimes, bad weather brings out worse humanity.

This article is a reminder with some quick tips on how to avoid scammers that will prey on those who have been through a bad weather event, such as the hail Colorado has seen recently.

This has been an especially hellacious spring of hail in Fort Collins and across Northern Colorado’s Front Range. I personally had some minor damage to my motorcycle. Also, my son and I got caught in one of the storms, and that turned into quite the traumatic experience (video from Instagram here shows it).

Hail, no! Please, no. #hail #weather #realtor #colorado #fortcollins

A post shared by Paul Wozniak (@paulwoz) on

So, in the interest of letting the negativity pass with the storm clouds, I wanted to remind everyone to be vigilant if they happen to be in a path of one of these storms and someone comes knocking at your door afterward to see if they can make a quick buck off of you.

Here are a few tips to follow when dealing with potential scammers during the aftermath of a storm.

  • Do nothing!
    • If someone knocks on your door, hear them out as much as you feel is necessary, ask them for their information (if they don’t have business cards and/or some type of literature to leave with you, be suspicious), and move on to researching them.
    • Don’t sign anything, don’t pay anything, don’t do anything but thank them and let them know you’ll get back to them.
  • What is their address?
    • I want my roofer to live here.
      • There are plenty of roofers that run their businesses right here from good ol’ 8052-whatever; or 80550, or 80638 and so on. A local, physical company location, even if the main location or owner is elsewhere, is important to me for two reasons; they have an investment in our community, and I have somewhere to go to seek resolutions, in person, if needed.
  • Research through referral
    • If you want to know what kind of Realtor® I am, I have a list of people you can call and ask. They live nearby, from Loveland to Windsor to LaSalle. They’ll be be happy to tell you what kind of job I did. You can check my testimonials on my website and pre-listing package. You can verify that I live here by looking on the Internet or just giving me a call and setting up a coffee. I trust the word of people I know, and whose reputation is important because I’m going to see them again. People are going to ask me about them again. It’s the beauty of hiring by referral. For it to happen for me, or for a roofing company, we need to continually do a great job.
    • It won’t take you long to find a friend or trusted person (feel free to call me, I have a few roofing companies that I refer) that has dealt with a roofing company
      • Key Question – “Who can I call that will vouch for you?”
      • Check the web. Just because they don’t have a good website does not mean they are a bad roofer. Putting a roof on a house and building a website are not similar skills. But, they should at least have a presence, some reviews, and other key clues that can help you decide if they are a trustworthy, or at least real, operation or not.
  • Beware the Pushy
    • If they seem really interested in making the deal right now, be suspicious. Any company worth its salt will understand that we often need time before hiring for a big ticket job.
  • Pick Local!
    • If a roofer comes to your door after a hail storm, it doesn’t mean they are a scammer! They might just understand that you are going to need help, and they want to make sure you know they are there to do just that. Just vet any door knocker carefully, and extensively.
      • If a person knocks my door, I’ll be honest with you, it leaves me kind of impressed. It takes get up and go, and bravery, and often a belief in your product to knock on someone’s door. For a roofing company, identifying a neighborhood that was badly hit by a hail storm and then letting everyone know that they want to help, in person, is a very honest and straightforward way to find clients. But, before using them, check them out to see if anyone you know has used them. If they knock my door and seem to be reputable, are fully licensed, bonded and insured and have a good name around the community, from me they get kudos, and probably my business.
    • BEWARE!
      • Anyone who is pushy in getting things scheduled immediately
      • Those seeking large down payments. In my hail damaged roof replacement, there was no down payment. In fact, my roofer worked with my insurance company and brought me bids and details to decide on. I didn’t pay anything out of pocket, it was all pretty much covered by the claim
      • High pressure sales situations
      • Companies that don’t want to help with insurance claims, or try to dissuade you from contacting your carrier by convincing you somehow that it won’t be covered
    • Get a second opinion
      • Open the old phone book. Google “Fort Collins Roofers”. Call someone, ask them to come out and compare bids.

The best advice when going through something like this is to simply not act immediately with any contractor or person who shows up at our door. If they are reputable and ethical, they’ll give you plenty of space to make a rational decision. It’s our duty to ourselves to do a little homework, a little background and a little research when a storm hits us and we have to do something like replace a roof.

Don’t act too quickly. Take your time. Do some research before hiring a roofer.

For another perspective, check out this article posted on Angie’s List about some common roofing scams.

If you have any questions, ask me! I am never too busy for you, or your referrals and I would love to be of assistance.