Roofing Scam: High-Pressure Sales

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Subject: Sales

I agree with the above responses. No business can survive without sales. The point of sales is to close the deal. It is not aggressive to display your expertise, your product knowledge, and ask for a signature on the dotted line. What is aggressive and wrong, is to press a homeowner into signing without doing the first two things. Just BSing people like the guy I worked for when I first started. I left the company and started my own business because they displayed a lot of the negative tactics that you discuss in this article.

What salesperson or business owner, good or bad, wants their prospects talking to other companies? None. What business wants to compete with unlicensed, uninsured, uneducated, low-ballers? None. So of course you are going to nudge your customers toward signing with you... Especially if you have confidence in your products and services.

There needs to be more info in this article about the fact that not every company that does things this way is bad, or something to watch out for. What you have failed to mention is how difficult the insurance industry is to deal with, and how unfair their determinations are most of the time. I have NEVER seen an insurance scope of work that has contained everything that should be there. So these contractors often have to use more open-ended bidding techniques on insurance claims than they do on cash out of pocket jobs, in order to work out the best interests of the customer and the contractor as well. As a contractor, you have to adhere strictly to proper building codes, requiring every component of a roofing system to be replaced with new. This includes all flashings, underlayments, and accessories. This is normally required for code compliance, as well as manufacturer specifications to qualify for warranties. I rarely bid insurance claims, because it's best to work off of the insurance company's estimate and negotiate items that are missing from the insurance estimate. Collecting bids on an insurance claim is a waste of time. If someone gives you a low-ball bid on an insurance claim, the only entity that does any good is the insurance company, as it saves them money. Rather you get a bid for $5,000 or one that matches the insurance pricing, or even a bid that is slightly higher than the insurance estimate... Your cost is the same, your deductible. Would you, as a customer, rather choose a company with a super low bid (who has to cut corners in some fashion to do so), or a company with good products and knowledge for top dollar... When regardless you are paying the same amount out of pocket either way? That's a no brainer if you ask me.

As far as collecting money before the project starts, I only ask for the deductible as the deposit. In my state, a contract is difficult to enforce unless money has exchanged hands. It solidifies the contract and shows good faith on the side of the homeowner. I have seen FAR MORE contractors get screwed by homeowners than I have ever seen contractors screw homeowners. In my experience, even the homeowners you feel you can trust the most, will find ANY reason to not pay final payment. I mean, you should see some of the outright STUPID reasons people will attempt to not pay their bill. Once I drop the materials on site, I then require the amount of the first insurance check or the signing over of the first insurance check. Once the project is billed, and the insurance sends final payment, I collect the final. The point of this is a back and forth trust between the customer and I. If they want what I offer, they sign the contract and pay the deductible. Once the materials are there, I require further payment before I put my crews on the job. Then once it's complete, I get final payment. I do it this way, because if I get screwed, I would rather get screwed out of half of the money or a third of the money than the entire amount.

A homeowner has a lot more options for recovering their money than a contractor does. A homeowner can sue easily. A contractor can only file a lien, and it could be decades before they see their money, if ever. So let's keep it real and realize that there are far more scamming customers than there are contractors, and not all contractors who use several of these practices are bad. I do more to help homeowners through the claim process than any other in our area.


Subject: This is ridiculous. The ,

This is ridiculous. The , assumed, hypocritical companies saying these things employ salesman who do the same things. A good salesman wants both parties home. Guess what, a salesman's goal is to close the sale. No, I don't support scammers and bad companies, but the fact is, products need to be sold. If you think they should "sell themselves" then enjoy going out of business. This is ridiculous, poorly guided Angieslist... poor guidance.


Subject: Ridiculous Not

I don't care if you will let my dog sit in and speak for me. I'm going to get more than one bid. Salesman like you are the reason for this website. I do not base my bid solely on price. A good salesman knows the customer is right and will not make any such demands.


Subject: RE: High Pressure Sales

I'm a salesperson for a home improvement contractor, and I disagree with some of the points made in this article. I meet with homeowners considering a new roof for their home, and much of my competition is from small contractors who cut corners on materials, labor, installation, and insurance, in order to provide cut-rate pricing. And because most homeowners really don't know much about the process of procuring a new roof, they often fall victim to these low-bid hacks and wind up with an unsatisfactory experience. I spend between 2 to 3 hours with each customer discussing roofs in general, then detailing the materials and the process we use to ensure a great outcome. We provide a price quote that is good for six months, and we provide an additional, substantial discount for making their decision on the spot. The benefit to us for an immediate decision is not, as suggested in the article, to discourage getting competing offers - in fact, we are prepared with pricing from a variety of our local competitors, and I will always point out that we are not going to be their least expensive option. The primary benefit for us is that chasing proposals to get decisions after an initial visit is time consuming, inefficient, and fraught with the potential for mistakes and miscommunications. With regard to requiring deposits upfront for sold jobs, the landscape is littered with failed contractors who trusted homeowners who ultimately failed to pay for work performed. Given the size and cost of a typical roof project, it doesn't take more than a couple of instances of misplaced trust to cause serious financial hardship for a contractor. An agreement to move forward on a project is presumed to provide benefit to both parties, and as such, it's reasonable to expect an exchange of consideration.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.