How to sniff out a salesman from a mile away

They should give you a good reason to actually trust them

 

Knock, Knock, Who's there?

After experiencing severe damage to your roof after some extreme weather you better stay on guard. You are very likely find a number of vultures knocking down your door trying to sell you a roofing repair or replacement. These companies literally live off of the Doppler radar system and get a extensive report daily telling them what areas are most likely to have experienced property damage. As soon as the information is released they hop in their cars and the harassment begins. These storm chasers seem to be the worst offenders when it comes to outdated and abrasive sales techniques but by no means are they the only ones out there practicing this "art". It is just a lot easier to predict when they are likely to come around opposed to the other guys who "just happened to be in the neighborhood." If you have ever met one one of the salesman yourself it is something you will not soon forget. If you would like to avoid the situation in the future there are several clear signs you can look out for that should tell you that you may be dealing with a bottom feeder.

Yes, they do still exist

 

Visual Cues

  • How they are dressed
  • Body language
  • Presence of company logo
  • Note Taking

Judging a book by its cover

Everyone is familiar with the stereotypical used car salesman and knows to be on their guard when shopping for a vehicle. But it is a lot harder to take the same precautions when caught off guard in your own home. The first thing you want to look out for is their appearance. You don't necessarily want to buy a new roof from somewhere wearing a three piece suit. On the other hand, if a contractor shows up in a sweat stained tank top shirt and flip flops it is definitely not a good sign either. Look for someone that cares about their appearance but they are wearing attire that will let them properly assess the project. Not every job is going to require a roofer to go up on to your roof, many times it is just damaging the brittle shingle up there even further potentially causing further leaking to occur. A roofing contractor with enough experience should be able to tell from the age of the home and a brief visual inspection approximately what the installation is going to entail. Make sure that they are taking notes and measuring the property. A tape measure is not always necessary because tech savy business men will now invest in satellite views that will accurately measure the home before they even arrive. However, it is your responsibility to ask the right questions and see what measurements they are using to get to the price that they quote.

How much is too much?

 

Information overload

An honest sales person does not need to rely to heavily on props. There are many companies out there they give their new employees a quick training seminar and send them in to the field with a video and a ton of samples. When they reach a customers house they force their victims to endure a tedious infomercial explaining why the company they now work for is so great. They then endlessly pour over the information in all of the brochures trying to tire the home owner out so that they are more likely to make a decision in order to just stop the madness! What you are looking for a a polite professional that can give a proper presentation quickly and concisely. Everyone's time is important and the customers needs to be respected as well as the salesman's. If the salesman has hours on end to spend over explaining simple things to a potential client then they either are over compensating for something or no one else wants to see them. The best in the field have a lot of work to do and will be able to give you an exact game plan and price for your home improvement project in no time. They have enough experience to answer your questions without repeating a script verbatim and are able to talk with a customer instead of at them. When a sales pitch has dragged on for to long or you become confused do not hesitate to tell them to stop talking. They are the ones infringing on your personal property and need to respect anything you ask of them.

The deal of a lifetime, today only!

 

High pressure closing

Anytime a salesman tells you that you need to decide now or the deal is going to change it is time to walk away. It doesn't matter if they try to tell you the sales ends today or that they will throw in free insulation if you sign now. All this shows you is that they are not confident enough in their product or service to let you think about it or compare it to other quotes. Now dont get me wrong, I am not saying to never sign a contract on the spot. Sometimes when you just know when your getting a good deal and dealing with quality people right away. But if you have any reservations do not get tricked into making a snap decision. In many states such as Michigan, when signing a contract such as for the purchase of a new roof at your own residence you have a 3 business day right of rescission. This means that you are legally able to cancel the contract within 3 business days for any reason you want. Keep in mind this is the last thing that dirty contractors want you to do so they will collect a big down payment from you up front and then try in every way possible to put you off past those three days. After that they could care less because if you cancel they will just keep your money and not have to do any work! A salesman's job is to make the sale so don't get offended by pure enthusiasm but when the high pressure techniques start and simply wont stop you know you have a serious problem. You can find many horror stories along the lines of salesman refusing to leave a customers house unless they sign and the police having to be called in order to get them out.

Take your time, but hurry up

 

The proper amount of time to make a decision

You don't want to wait to long before making a decision on what to do because time is limited and good contractors book up quick. As soon as you have gotten a few quotes and are able to compare them all you should make up your mind ASAP. If the company is organized and interested in earning your business they will most likely give you a follow up call a few days after meeting with you. This should be a personal call and not some cheesy recorded message! At this time it is appropriate to ask them any further questions you may have thought of or try to get them to come down on the price a little bit. If you cant get a hold of them to discuss these things then you will want to shred that contact information right away. If you are having a hard time getting in touch with them to give them business just imagine what a nightmare it will be god forbid you ever have any problems with the work down the road.

 

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Victim Awareness

Have you fallen prey to these deceptive practices?

  • Yes, and I will never get over it
  • No, I make sure to be cautious in every situation

Smarter Home Improvement Shopping: What to avoid when hiring a contractor

How low can you go, but more importantly why

A common used technique that just doesn’t work

We all appreciate a good deal and some of us will go to the end of the earth trying to find that once in a lifetime purchase. Now it is a totally different topic wondering how much time spent is to much time and what your time is actually worth. However, when making any big purchase you need to steer far away from this instinctual behavior. It may be the easiest way to differentiate different quotes but trust me here it is not a good way to decide who you are going to use to complete the project. The best way to explain this is with a simple analogy. Most of us love a good meal and we will use surf and turf here since it is an American favorite. You cant make up where to have your birthday dinner party and are shopping around at several different restaurants to pick the best one. Low and behold you find a place where you can buy your favorite meal for only $6.99. What a deal! Would you feel comfortable having your family and friends dine at a place like this when everyone else was priced at $20+ per plate?

It shouldn’t be a race to the bottom

Use the same logic outlined above when purchasing a new roof or similar project. When buying a new house or used card we have all been conditioned to follow this train of thought, it is time to apply it to the construction industry as well. If an estimate comes in way lower then the rest it is usually for one of a several reasons. First, they may be using inferior materials or cutting corners wherever possible. If you plan on keeping your property for any length of time the short term savings may not be worth the long term potential for major issues. Something as common as a little roof leak can cause wood rotting, structural issues, and mold growth all of which can be huge expenses to fix. Secondly, you may be dealing with amateurs that either don’t have much experience bidding jobs or are so desperate for work they will do anything. In this instance you are likely to be used for a training ground so that these newbies can hone their craft and pray for a good outcome. That or they may need to use the money from your down payment to purchase materials for another project they are building. It is typically a bad sign when they ask for a large amount of money up front and wont tell you when they will be able to start the work. Lastly, it is a common trick of the trade to throw out a low ball estimate to win the job and then try to up charge once firmly into the demolition. Roofing contractors often figure it is a lot easier to negotiate for more money from the customers when their roof is laying in the front yard.

Making proper comparisons

Some of the big differences you may notice

You want to make sure to focus on important aspects that often get overlooked. One of such things are company reviews. Do they have a good rating at the BBB? Are they listed on a site such as Angie’s List and do people have good things to say about them? Can they provide any personal references of local customers that are satisfied with the work completed? Some times it makes sense to pay a little bit more for work that you know is going to be done quickly and professionally. Make sure that the person you are going to hire is fully licensed and insured. Check the states website, such as this one for the state of Michigan, to make sure they do not have any outstanding violations. Most cities now require the contractor to provide all of this information before pulling a permit to protect the consumer so absolutely never agree to do this yourself for anyone. If they cant pull a permit themselves there is a reason for it and it isn’t good! Many contractors can no longer afford insurance as it is quite expensive and instead carry fake policies. Before signing a contract ask for a copy of their insurance policy and call the provider yourself to ensure it isn’t fraudulent. All it takes is one accident to occur on your property for you to lose everything to some low life that lied to you. It is not worth the risk and many people out there are just waiting to prey on unsuspecting victims in this manner.

Be careful before handing over a penny

How much is to much for a down payment?

I cant say that you should never give a contractor any money up front but I can say that it is the best way to protect yourself. Smaller companies or independent contractors wont strip a shingle off your roof without 50% or more down. Bigger companies are capable of paying for their own materials upfront and want to make sure you are completely satisfied before getting paid. This alone is worth a substantial amount as it gives you peace of mind that the work will be done in a timely fashion and up to your personal standards. It allows for you to keep your money in investments or savings accounts or stashed under the bed. Either way it is a much better feeling to have a little control of the project. There is nothing worse then handing several thousands dollars over to a stranger and then to have to constantly call them trying to figure out where they are and when they are going to start working.

Borrowing the money sometimes makes more sense

It is all about the financial options

Again, this is not the deciding factor here but should be weighted heavily. Financing can be great for a number of reasons but that all depends on personal circumstances. When financing a new roof in Michigan for instance the rates are so competitive that it makes the most sense to take advantage of these programs while they are available. Michigan roofing loans are also available unsecured which means that the lender does not even place a lien on your property. This is a huge benefit that is even more important than interest rate because god forbid you have a lien placed it can be very difficult to get it removed if there are any disputes. More importantly, lenders are very careful which contractors they conduct business with. They do a thorough background check and even perform a financial audit in order to make sure everything is above board. That means you can typically feel confident in the company you have hire if they are able to provide you with a loan for that home improvement project.

Paying for home improvement projects

Have you ever taken out a loan for something like a new roof?

  • Yes, and I would do it again if need be
  • No, I only pay cash for such purchases

The effect weather has on your roof

Protecting us from the power of nature

Your home is the last line of defense

The only thing standing between us and the elements is the house that you live in. This can be quite scary if you really consider the implications there. We all know that taking care of home improvement projects can seem like a never ending task. So where to begin? Well from the top down of course! Think of the roof like the head of a body, it is in charge of all the major functions you need to protect your property. It is the closest part of your house to the sky and therefore takes the harshest punishment from the weather. Heavy snow, ice, rain, and other wet weather all need to be kept outside of your house but they take a heavy toll on that poor old roof over your head!

Praying to the weather Gods will only get you so far

Practical advise to help preserve your roof

Now keep in mind all this information is provided assuming you had a quality roof installed in the first place. Trust me when I say more often then not this is simply not the case. The majority of roofing contractors simply install the cheapest and easiest roofing system available then run off with all the profit that they can. This is because they have no intention of staying in business long. They may not be licensed or insured and simply change the companies name when the problems and complaints start to pile up. to make this point short and to the point the first thing you can to in order to properly maintain your roof is to hire a professional roofing contractor in the first place!

Dangerous and not much fun but so, so important

Get rid of all that heavy snow ASAP

Once the snow has piled up past a half-foot or so you are risking potential damages to your roof. It is obviously best if you are capable of getting up there and actually shoveling the snow off the entire roof. However, there are tools for the less coordinated or adventurous such as the roof rake that allow you to accomplish similar results from the ground. This simple tool can be purchased at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot and is telescoping so that you can get that extra reach without over extending yourself. If you are a hard core do it yourself type person check out this article on how to make one yourself and save a little money. The DIY Snow Ripper Can Eliminate Snow From Your Roof in Minutes

Properly installed this can be a life saver

Heat Tape for heavy traffic, problematic areas

A solution that should be utilized for any pesky or hard to reach areas that are a constant pain in the winter times. There are just some areas that you cant get to in order to clean them off or that seem to collect a ton of ice regardless of what you do. Heat tape will help to melt the snow and ice in these areas but make sure it is installed in such a manner that it will work with gravity. Some people have had great success running it throughout the gutters system as this is usually the first place to freeze up when it gets cold. The last thing you want to do is to install it somewhere in which it will just melt the ice and then the water just sits there with no where to go. Well i shouldn’t say it has no where to go because it will find its way right into your house somehow or another. There are heat tapes available at your local hardware store for common problems and then there are commercial heat tapes that require a electrician to install. Analyze the situation and determine how sever of a problem you have before making a purchase.

Proper air flow will do wonders

With enough ventilation most of your problems should solve themselves

Most people do not understand how important ventilation is when it comes to roofing. You want the temperature in your attic to match that outside and the only way to ensure this is with the proper installation of intake and output vents. With the temperatures closely matched you minimize the condensation and thus likelihood of the roof wood rotting or growing mold. When a roof is well ventilated rarely will you see any major issues with ice damning except in low slope areas. A commonly overlooked mistake is when the bathroom or dryer vents are dumping right into the attic. These needs to be properly vented using a roof jack so that they do not cause unwanted temperature fluctuations excess moisture from getting in your attic.

Animals love to find soft spots so they can make their new homes in your roof

If you suspect any rotten wood up there it is best to replace it sooner then later

The smallest of leaks can cause moisture to rot away that wood quicker then you would ever believe. As cute as they may seem you really do not want to deal with any animals taking up residence in your residence. Animals such as squirrels and birds will literally spend an entire day searching for that one soft spot that they can continue to chew until a hole straight into the attic has been formed. Once inside getting them out can be tougher then evicting dead beat tenants from a rental property. So if you have any concern about questionable looking wood on or around your roof call a professional out as soon as possible because it is better to be safe then sorry. Wood replacement is not all that expensive and will save you a fortune in the long run by preventing the need for some major repairs.

Personal Sob Stories

Have you ever delayed a roof repair only to suffer major consequences?

  • Yes, it was a horrible mistake I will never make again
  • No, we are lucky and should play the lotto

Picking the best color for your new roof, that is as long as the wife agrees

The shingle color needs to work with the entire house

Choose carefully because you only get to choose the color once

Since you took your time and hired the right roofing company your new roof is going to last you a long, long time. That means on the one hand that you will no longer need to worry about those pesky leaks. On the other hand you are going to be stuck with that color choice whether you like it or not. A higher quality material is known as architectural or 3D shingle and you will notice that the majority of new roof installations will choose this option as opposed to the older 3 tab. Architectural shingles have various benefits that make them both a practical choice because of their longevity and added protection, as well as an upgraded ascetic quality that makes the house have the little extra pop everyone is looking for. This added shingle dimension lets you play with the shadowing effect on the roof which allows customers to choose a wider range of colors that would not otherwise work as well.

Energy efficiency and other peoples opinions

The sometimes overlooked smaller factors can make all the difference

For most families it is important to save every penny that they possibly can and when it comes to heating and cooling no one wants to be throwing money out the window. It may be hard to believe but your choice of shingle color can make a difference of up to 40 degrees in the attic. In warmer climates a lighter shingle color helps to reflect the sunlight off of your home thus helping to keep the temperature down inside. For colder climates, such as in Michigan, darker shingles help absorb the heat thus melting the snow in the winter time.

Pay close attention to the details

Tie it all together with a coordinated color scheme

It is common sense to say that you want all the separate elements used on the exterior of your home to blend together harmoniously but nonetheless needs to be considered. For instance if you have a white traditional house then you should stick with a dark grey or black shingle. If your siding or trim is brown, tan, or cream in color then you need to choose a shingle color that at least contains an element of brown to it. The harder to dress blue and grey homes need a dark grey or black shingle as well. The remaining green, yellow, and red painted homes allow for a wider variety of choices so play off any accent coloring or even landscaping.

Choose a color to express yourself

A home design that captures your true personality

If you are looking to make a statement there are numerous shingles available that use mixed color variations to give a unique and distinct look to the roof. If you are more concerned with playing it safe or are planning on selling the property some time in the near future consider using neutral colors such as pure browns, blacks, and greys. On this note, if you are trying to hide defects you should use low-contrast colors and if you are trying to accentuate certain features go with high-contract colors. If you want to make your house look smaller choose a dark color and if you want are trying to make it look bigger then it is stay with something light.

Whoop, whoop, that’s the sound of the police

Beware of the HOA bylaws or opinionated neighbors

The last thing you want to happen to buy a new roof only to receive a letter from your neighborhood HOA a week later stating you must now replace it because it is not an approved color shingle that got installed.
Contact them first to make sure everyone is on the same page because a mistake like that you will only make once as it is quite a painful and expensive experience to learn from. Another thing to consider is how the new roof will look in comparison to your neighbors home. Did you copy their color exactly? Does the roof color you want contrast to much with what they had installed? Ideally you want the entire block to look good so do your best to help make that dream a reality.

Last thing to consider is what it is made out of

Shingle material can have the biggest effect on the appearance of your new roof

Clay, slate, concrete, wood shake, metal, and asphalt shingles are all options that are currently being used in residential construction. The pros and cons of each material is a vast subject that will be addressed in a separate article. For the time being it is easiest to choose a material that you like, go drive around a local neighborhood in which you can find a roof with the desired material so that you can see it in person, and then to Google it to do some research. As a last ditch effort you can follow the link provided at the bottom of this page to use a digital tool that will let you interchange shingle colors in real time.

Shingle Color & Style Selector

 

Other peoples opinions

Do you care what your neighbor thinks about your roof color?

  • Yes, their opinion means a lot to me
  • No, I could care less what they think

Metal Versus Asphalt Shingles

 

Is Metal Roofing For you? Pro’s and Con’s for your home

Metal Versus Asphalt Shingles

Is it the latest fad or a smart investment? Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference and it seems like many Michigan contractors are starting to push this as a residential product pretty hard. Make sure you weigh out your options carefully here because no matter what you decide it is a big investment purchasing a new roof.

So shiny & sleek

Residential Metal Roof
Residential Metal Roof

An investment that spans multiple generations

How long will you be staying?

It is argued that although metal roofing is more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles you make up for it in the long run. Yes, metal roofing will most definitely outlast asphalt roofing hands down. But you need to make sure how long you are planning to stay at your home for this to even make sense.

Do something different, stand out from the crowd

A little bling, bling

Metal roofing gives the house a unique look that some people absolutely love and other cant stand. As you can see in the picture above the home tends to look almost plastic in appearance. You will also want to keep in mind the noise is substantial when its raining. If you want a sample of what it is going to sound like when trying to go to sleep check out a commercial building with a metal roof when it is coming down hard one time.

Those few extra pounds can be dangerous to your health

Bringing down the house

Weight is a major concern when installing a new roof and metal roofing adds a ton of it to your homes existing structure. Consult with an architect and carpenter before making your decision when getting estimates on a new roof if you are interested in using metal as it may require you install additional support beams.

Double check those references and that resume

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist but none the less….

Metal roofing is a lot more complicated to install compared to asphalt shingles and just adds another expense to the cost of the project. When choosing a contractor to install your new roof make sure they have lots of experience with the material they are installing. It can literally be a disastrous learning experience for both parties if an amateur attempts to install a metal roof.
Because of the weight and danger involved in stripping a metal roof you will want to keep in mind that if need be this expense could be nearly triple that of a normal asphalt roof.

Now that’s how you make a quality shingle

Made from the fires of middle earth

The materials used in metal roofing are typically easier to control the quality of compared to asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles have been known to be defective in several circumstances and many major manufactures have suffered immense lawsuits because of this.

Does the noise turn you off?

Are metals roofs to noisy for you to consider using on your home?

  • Yes, I would never jeopardize my precious sleep
  • No, the benefits outweigh any possibility of being slightly annoyed

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