If you think that it's expensive to hire a good roofer, imagine how much a bad one will cost!

Spring has sprung in Kansas and, like the annual sprouting of orange traffic cones, storm clouds could also be on the horizon.  Severe thunderstorms, hail and the occasional tornado are a fact of life in the Sunflower State. So is the inevitable recovery by Kansas residents when nature takes a toll on roofs and other structures. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt wants to make sure you are warned about people who may pose as competent roofers when in fact, they're out to take your money and run.

When storms hit, it's common for traveling contractors to swarm into a damaged town like a vulture on a dead wildebeest. Their goal is simply to make a quick buck. To help combat this, the Legislature passed a law in 2013 requiring roofing contractors to register with the attorney general’s office. The program has been successful, with over 1,500 roofers currently registered and in good standing to operate in Kansas.

If your roof is damaged in a storm -- or if you simply want some work done on your roof -- please make sure that the person you hire is properly registered with the attorney general's office. If they're legitimate, they will have their current roofing registration certificate with them. Ask to receive a copy of it, and go to the attorney general's website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org to check the current registration list to make sure the contractor is in good standing. The contractor shouldn't be upset that you asked for the information. If they are, and refuse to show you this paperwork, find someone else to work on your roof. Also, many city and county governments also require permits before doing work, so make sure your roofer has complied with all local ordinances as well.

Here are some more tips to help keep you safe from home repair scams, regardless if it is roofing or other projects:

  • If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A new roof is going to be expensive.
  • Don't just agree to the first quote you're offered. Get multiple written bids on home improvement projects to ensure quotes are reasonable and competitive. 
  • Working with a well-known, reputable local contractor will help prevent becoming a victim of a fly-by-night operator who won’t be around if you have problems later. You're not buying a $10 hairbrush, here. You're about to spend thousands of dollars on a major project. Wouldn't you want to hear about the experiences of other people in your area with this contractor?
  • Friends, family and neighbors are the best sources for recommendations.
  • Be sure your contractor is insured. The contractor should have personal liability, property damage and worker’s compensation insurance for workers and subcontractors. Also check with your insurance company to find out if you are covered for any injury or damage that might occur.

One of the most important things you, the buyer, can do is document everything in writing. Insist on a contract that states exactly what work will be done, the quality of materials that will be used, warranties, timetables, the names of any subcontractors, the total price of the job, and the schedule of payments. Do not make a final payment or sign a final release until you are satisfied with the work and know that subcontractors and suppliers have been paid. If you do not get these things in writing and problems occur, it will be difficult to recover costs. 

This site provides information on what to do if your contractor doesn't complete the work.

For more tips on staying safe from home repair scams, protecting your personal information, or to file a complaint, visit our consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org or call our consumer protection hotline at (800) 432-2310.