At some point or another, every homeowner will need to invest in a new roof. Oftentimes, getting a new roof installed on our home is one of the biggest investments most of us will ever make on it other than the initial purchase price. That’s why it’s so important to choose a reputable roofing company when the time comes. However, with big investments come big questions. Do I pay any money upfront? How much is too much? Am I being taken advantage of?
At RoofCrafters, we've been installing new roofs for homeowners like you for the past 3 decades, and questions like these are not only common but extremely valid. In light of transparency, we believe you should have all these questions answered before you contact a roofing company, because knowledge is power, and you deserve the power to make educated decisions about your home.
In past blogs, we've explained how to find good roofing contractors and avoid bad ones, as well as what to look for when it comes to roof warranties. Although, there’s one other bit of advice I’d like to impart that will save you time, money, and grief when it comes to a roof replacement. That being said, in this article, you'll learn which type of contractor to stay away from, all about deposits, paying upfront, and final payments. Let's get started!
Beware of Roofers Who Offer Large Discounts for an Upfront Cash Payment
While everyone is interested in saving money, if a roofing company offers you a big discount as long as you pay in advance, my advice is to look for another roofer. While some roofers ask for a small deposit, if you pay the entire amount upfront, it could be a long time before your roof is replaced, if ever. Even worse is you will have little recourse should the work prove to be less than ideal.
How Much of a Deposit Is a Fair Amount?
It’s not uncommon for some roofing companies to ask for anywhere from 10-50% upfront. In fact, here at RoofCrafters, we ask all of our clients for a 40% deposit upfront. If you decide to go with any of the companies that do ask for a deposit, make sure you have a firm date for the work to begin as well as some way to cancel the payment if the work isn’t completed or the roofing company goes out of business before it has begun.
Why Would a Roofing Company Ask for an Upfront Deposit?
Since about half the cost of replacing a roof is the purchase of materials, some roofers want customers to cough up some of it in advance. This is what’s known in the business as a “Good Faith Payment.” If you have faith that the contractor will live up to the terms of the agreement, you may choose to pay a portion of the money upfront.
After all, it’s your money. However, if the material the contractor purchases should prove to be substandard, or if the installation is less than adequate, good luck getting your money back if you paid the deposit with anything other than a credit card.
Why Would a Roofer Need a Substantial Upfront Deposit?
A roofing company may ask for a deposit for several reasons, and it's not uncommon in the construction industry. Here are some of the reasons why a roofing company might request a deposit:
Materials and Supplies: Roofing projects often require a significant investment in materials and supplies. By asking for a deposit, the company can ensure they have the necessary funds to purchase these materials before starting the project.
Secure the Contract: A deposit can serve as a commitment from the customer to proceed with the project and secure their spot on the company's schedule. This way, the company can plan its resources and workforce accordingly.
Labor and Preparatory Costs: Roofing projects involve various upfront costs, such as labor for preparation work, equipment setup, and site inspections. The deposit helps cover these initial expenses.
Protection Against Cancellations: Sometimes, customers may change their minds or cancel the project after it has been scheduled. The deposit provides some compensation for the roofing company in case they have turned down other potential projects to accommodate the customer.
Risk Mitigation: Roofing projects can be costly, and there may be some risks involved, such as unpredictable weather conditions or unforeseen issues with the existing roof structure. The deposit helps mitigate the risks for the roofing company.
Financial Stability: For smaller roofing companies, receiving a deposit can help improve their cash flow and financial stability, allowing them to operate more efficiently.
It's important to note that a reasonable deposit is usually a standard practice and helps protect both the roofing company and the customer. However, you should always exercise caution and research the roofing company's reputation before providing a deposit. Reputable companies will often have clear contracts outlining the terms of the deposit, the project scope, and other relevant details. Customers should never pay the full project cost upfront and should be cautious if a company demands an unusually large deposit without any clear explanation.
What Could Go Wrong If I Pay Upfront?
While a contractor can place a lien on your home if you don’t pay them, you as a homeowner have little recourse other than the expense of filing suit if the work isn’t done to your satisfaction (or at all). The only thing consumers have to hold over the heads of any contractor is money. The more of this advantage you give up, the more the ball lands squarely in the contractor’s court.
Should I Pay Upfront for a New Roof?
All in all, use your best discretion. If the company seems shady, with little to no reviews, and has been around for less than a year, I'd advise you to not pay them upfront, nor at all. However, if you believe in the "good faith payment", and are comfortable doing so because the company providing you with a legitimate reason, it is entirely up to you.
If your next concern is scoping out a reputable roofing contractor, check out our Top 10 and FAQ Checklist, it’s free! It includes several questions to ask your potential contractors and provides you with peace of mind knowing you choose the right person for the job, all while preparing you to hold your roofing partner accountable for their quality and service.
My name is Cassie, and I’m the Content Manager here at RoofCrafters. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and made my way out to Florida post-college graduation. I’m incredibly passionate about writing and creating valuable content that helps others with the collaboration of my marketing team. When I’m not working, I enjoy shopping (a little too much), spending time at the beach, and reading!