Roof damaged in the storm? Here are Watchdog’s tips to hire an honest roofer

Editor’s Note: We’re bringing this story back from March 2017 to help our North Texas neighbors find a responsible roofer.

Hailstorm in recent storms? Remember, there is no roofing license in Texas, so you are on your own.

Here are tips from The Watchdog on how to hire the right contractor.

Texas also does not require contractors and roofers to provide employee compensation or general liability insurance. Well-known companies do. If not, that’s a warning sign.

The watchdog’s main piece of advice: be suspicious.

Oklahoma tornado victim Leigh Ann Bryson once told me, “Recovery is not a time to show confidence.”

Use internet search engines to dig deep into the backgrounds of potential employees. Use google to check their names and company names with these words in separate searches: “rip off”, “complaint” and “scam”. Do others complain about them?

Opponents of a state license say consumers can use a paid service like Angie’s List. The problem with Angie’s List is that if someone posts a negative review and the negative review is removed, a contractor can issue a refund. So you can’t check out the real story of a contractor on Angie’s list.

Find the right one

There are dozens of reputable companies with long histories in the many cities of North Texas. You want one of these.

Get at least three quotes from contractors. A low bid is not necessarily the best choice.

Make sure all the commandments compare apples to apples. Make sure cleaning is included.

Is the contractor a member of a professional organization? His membership is listed on his website. These organizations also offer a code of ethics that members must follow.

A list: Dallas Builders Association (DallasBuilders.com); North Texas Roofers Association (ntrca.com); Texas Roofers Association (rooftex.com); National Roofers Association (nrca.net); National Association of the Remodeling Industry (naridallas.org), Texas Association of Builders (texasbuilders.org). If something goes wrong, you can contact the contractor’s organization.

Although Texas does not require a state license, the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas, based in Austin, issues its own unofficial license. Not many roofers are on the list.

Make sure to check a plumber’s records with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. Review an electrician’s records with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. But with contractors and roofers, nada.

Warning signals

If a roofer offers to pay your deductible or to work with an insurance company on your behalf, keep in mind that both of these actions are illegal in Texas. Both of these are promised by disreputable roofers as an enticement to sign a contract.

Only a licensed public insurance surveyor can work with an insurance company on behalf of a homeowner. A public appraiser hired by a homeowner takes a percentage of the proceeds if he or she can help get more money back.

Roofers are not allowed to negotiate claims or interpret an insurance policy. They do it every day, but it’s against state law.

Reputable businesses don’t have to go door-to-door with fliers and sweet conversations.

When a roofer says “prepay” they are saying “disappear”.

Be careful about “broadcasting contractors”. Scammers are the most charming people you will ever meet.

Does a roofer or contractor have a phone number with an outside state area code?

Verification

Do not hire someone who works from a pickup truck without a local address. That is high risk. How are you going to get him to come back to warranty work?

Check references. Talk to former clients.

Call the town hall and ask if the contractor is properly applying for permits.

Visit the Better Business Bureau website to check the number of complaints. (Not a corporate grade, which is a less reliable measure.)

Check a contractor’s physical work address.

Obtain a copy of the contractor’s insurance certificate. Take a close look at it.

Ask who the contractor’s supplier is. Inquire with the supplier for the payment receipts from the contractor.

Although there is no state license, registration is required in some cities. Check that yours is doing this and that your prospect is properly registered.

Use your phone’s camera to take pictures of everything. The seller at the door. The license plate of the truck in front of your house. The identity cards and even driver’s licenses of the people you deal with. That gives you an extra layer of protection: you know you know who they are.

Subscribe to a paid web service like publicdata.com that lets you view lawsuits, criminal records, company records, sex offenders, and more. The annual cost is $ 35.

Logs

Get a contract. Read it. Cross out what you don’t like. Sign it and keep a copy. Make sure the contractor also signs. Any agreements must be made in writing. Verbal promises are not good.

Do not sign a contract that contains empty spaces.

The guarantee for the roof should be 20 years.

Avoid contracts that require arbitration instead of a lawsuit if something goes wrong.

Include a schedule in the contract so the contractor knows when the job needs to be completed. Consider adding penalties for missed deadlines.

Pay in stages. Don’t pay the bulk of it until a project is FULLY complete. Make sure suppliers get paid and a city inspector has signed off.

The law

Texas Law: Anyone involved in cleaning, removing, or rebuilding property after a natural disaster must provide their customers with a written contract. Paying before a job is prohibited. This does not apply to contractors who have had a business address in Dallas County or an adjacent county for at least one year.

The watchdog hopes this cheat sheet will help you avoid getting scammed.

The author Marina Trahan Martinez contributed to this report.

Check out The Watchdog on NBC5 at 11:20 am on Mondays and talk about things that matter to you.

More roofer stories from The Watchdog

Dallas attorney solitary searches Austin for state control over roofing crimes.

Five great tips from The Watchdog’s Tornado Town Hall

The worst roofing program in Dallas-Fort Worth takes care of home insurance, does not supply new roofs

Watchdog: Attention state legislators – the case for a roofer / building contractor license

Watchdog: Lon Smith Roofing loses contract legality suit

Use Watchdog’s tips to hire roofers and contractors who are on par

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Watchdog: Let’s patch holes and crack down on roofers

Watchdog: Protect yourself from nasty scams in the wake of the tornado

Watchdog: Let’s Curb Dishonest Contractors

Watchdog: Roofer patrols for fraud in storm-ravaged Rowlett, Garland

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Watchdog Dave Lieber of The Dallas Morning News is the leader of the Watchdog Nation, showing Americans how to stand up for themselves and become super consumers.

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