Marketing Craze: What to Do After Hail Storm Hits (Buyer Beware)
Ultimate Wind & Hail Damage Guide For Homeowners- What To Do After a Hail Storm Hits
When a wind or hail storm hits your area (and your house) you are going to be inundated with flyers, direct mail offers, yard signs, telemarketers, door knockers, and other types of marketing.
This can be very overwhelming and, could cause you to react emotionally because, as I mentioned before, your roof is actually worth roughly 10% – 15% of your home’s entire value. It also covers about 90% of your assets, and provides the protection from the rain for your family. Salesmen are aware of this, and they could try to prey on your emotions. So remember; it is very important to slow down and verify that the company you are dealing with is a Qualified Local Contractor. Trust me, especially after a wind or hail storm, it is best to take your time and find a local, reputable and experienced contractor to get the job done right the first time. It will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future.
Before you make any decisions on who to go with or who to work with, you need to understand that after a large hail storm, the majority of contractors are from out-of-town, which means that you need to pick your contractor wisely. And even if they are a local contractor, this doesn’t mean that they are the right contractor for you.
Dealing with Door-to-Door Salespeople After a Wind or Hail Storm
But what do you do if contractors are knocking on your door and offer free inspections, “limited” time offers, or freebies? Before I answer that question, let me give you some background information first.
As rule of thumb; trust your instincts, if you are not comfortable with the contractor at your door you should ask them to leave. If you don’t want anyone knocking on your door, place a “No Soliciting” sign on or near your front door.
Click here to print out a No Soliciting sign.
If they still knock on your door after you have installed a No Soliciting sign, don’t answer it, or ask them to leave because you don’t want to do business with people that don’t respect your wishes.
It’s important to understand that not all companies that go door to door or participate in mass marketing (after a hail storm) are crooks. But if you do talk to a door to door salesman, do not let them do anything (including go on your roof) the first time you meet them (I’ll tell you why- keep reading).
What to Look For
If you are considering using a contractor, you should:
- Take picture of the salesperson and his/her license plate.
- Ask to see a driver’s license and take a picture of it.
This will help determine if the person is local or from out of town.
- Ask for references of jobs done for the last 3-5 years prior.
Asking for references will help you eliminate people who just came into town.
So if you do have any problems, you will have the photos of the person, license plate, and the driver’s license to give to the police.
If the salesperson refuses to comply with any of these requests or doesn’t have an I.D., tell him to leave your property. These requests should not be a problem for a reputable salesperson who wants your business.
Tip: Disreputable roofing companies may try to fool you with false names or aliases because they intend to do something dishonest. They may even change the name of their company frequently to avoid pursuit. A Qualified Local Contractor will let you take any pictures you need, because he/she has nothing to hide.
The Three Types of Contractors (Overview):
There are a lot of variables that you should know before you choose the contractor. Don’t fall prey to the marketing craze! After a wind or hail storm you will be inundated with 3 types of contractors vying for your business through several forms of mass marketing such as telemarketers, flyers, canvassers, direct mail pieces, and yard signs.
One of the main reasons I’m writing this is to reveal all the secrets and the misinformation that goes on after a wind or hail storm.
I want to make sure that you are well educated and understand completely the whole insurance/contractor process before you make any decisions.
To understand the hail storm process and make the right hiring decisions you need to know the three different types of contractors: Out-of-town Companies, non-Qualified Local Contractor (or non-QLC) and Qualified Local Contractor (or QLC).
Out-of-town Company: Out-of-town Storm Chaser is a company that travels around the country and goes to the areas damaged by wind and/or hail storms. These storm damage hustlers capitalize on insurance work, which is when the insurance company compensates the homeowner for the damage done to their property due to hail and/or wind damage.
Storm Chasers are known for high-pressure sales techniques, vague and self-serving contract agreements and shoddy workmanship. As well as the lack of knowledge of local laws, local licenses, little or no insurance, haphazard training, high turnover of crews etc. etc. Avoid Storm Chasers at all costs.
Non-QLC Company is local contractor (a handyman or a gutter guy) that for various reasons does not meet the criteria to be a QLC company (no or insufficient storm restoration experience, lack of training and/or qualification, no or insufficient insurance, lack of track record or extended warranty support etc.). Just because they are a local contractor doesn’t mean they know what they are doing and that they will be able to handle a complex insurance claim or roof restoration process properly.
QLC Company is a well-established, local contractor trained in insurance claims that has been through multiple storms and is very familiar with the process; has several qualifications, licenses, insurances, warranties (labor and manufacturer), and verifiable references. A Qualified Local Contractor is in the business long term and will be able to take care of any warranty work that may arise 5,10,15 or more years later.
NOTE: Only about 1% of all contractors out there meet the criteria of a QLC.
Don’t Fall For it!
During the post-storm marketing craze you will surely meet some very impressive salesmen/saleswomen. They will use high pressure sales techniques and offer you a lot of freebees to sign you up now before it’s too late.
If you fall for it, you wasted your time reading this…
Never, ever sign anything without pre-screening the contractor/company and reading the agreement.
Your main job as a homeowner is to sift through all of the contractors and find the right one- a QLC.
When you find your QLC, he/she will take care of you and be your advocate. If you take nothing else away from this article, let this be the message you receive.
Getting 3 Estimates
It’s common advice and your insurance company will recommend that you get estimates from 3 different contractors. Normally I would recommend that you get 3 estimates as well with most home improvement projects, but since hail and/or wind damage is mostly covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy – I will make an exception and say that you don’t need to get 3 estimates. Here’s why:
Since you are you not spending your own money (the insurance company will pay for most of it) you have a chance to choose the best contractor and not worry about the price.
If you do get three estimates, the insurance company will go with the cheapest bid regardless of the quality. By law the insurance company has to accept the contractor that you choose and negotiate the final project amount with him/her as long as it’s reasonable and customary. It is in your best interest to find one Qualified Local Contractor and let him/her do the rest.
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As an architect and president of our homeowners association, I am(and have been) recommending NV Roofing and Rob Livingston to my clients and neighbors.