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The Top 8 Risks of Working with a Cheap Contractor

November 10, 2021 | 6 min. read

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You’ve received the news that you need a new roof. Let’s be realistic: purchasing a new roof is probably the last home improvement project anyone wants to tackle.


Roof replacements tend to be expensive. Depending on the materials you choose, they can range anywhere from $5,000 to upwards of $24,000.


When there are things like family vacations, tuition, and hospital bills, no one really wants to splurge on a new roof. 


This may entice you to cut some corners by choosing a cheaper contractor. However, if the price seems too good to be true – it probably is. 


Rescue My Roof has been serving the greater Milwaukee area for over a decade. Unfortunately, we’ve worked with many clients who go through the roofing process a second time after receiving a poor-quality roof.


No one deserves the headache of poor workmanship on their roof. That is why Rescue My Roof is here to help you avoid contractors who won’t provide the quality you need to keep your home and family safe. Our goal is not to promote our roofing services – it is to provide the best education possible so that you get the best roof for your home. 


If you’re struggling with the idea of spending a ton of money on a roof, here is a list of reasons why you might want to consider not going with the cheapest option immediately. By the end of this article, you will know the best practices for proceeding with the right roofing contractor for the right price. 


The Risks of Working With a Cheap Roofing Contractor

A new roof can be expensive, which is why many people are tempted to go with the cheapest roofing contractor possible.


However, going with the cheapest option solely due to budgetary constraints may not be ideal in the long run. Here are a few risks to consider before purchasing a new roof:


1. A Cheap Roof Up Front May Lead to Costly Repairs


There isn’t a more expensive roof than the one that needs repairs early. 


Purchasing a new roof is a big financial investment. Wanting to keep your budget as low as possible may lead to choosing a contractor solely based on the lowest bid. 


However, you pay for what you get. If you accept the lowest bid, you are opening up the doors for poor workmanship. 


Poor workmanship leads to a myriad of problems. But the one you’ll have to face early on is repairs. 


Repairs can be costly and will lead to you investing even more money in your roof. 


Choosing a contractor based on their reputation and references is the best way to go. Don’t settle for the lowest price because, ultimately, you’ll end up spending more money on repairs in the long run. 


2. Poor Workmanship Voids Manufacturer Warranties


Manufacturer warranties are essential in the roofing industry.


When you see shingles with a 50-year warranty, it doesn’t come from the roofing contractor. Shingle manufacturers have warranties on their products that cover the cost of the material should the products fail. 


Having a manufacturer’s warranty is essential because you will still be covered if the roofing contractor goes out of business.


However, there are a few things that void the manufacturer’s warranty – including poor workmanship. Meaning that when something is installed incorrectly, the manufacturer won’t cover the repair costs because it wasn’t the product itself that failed, it was the workmanship. 


Poor workmanship can be a risk for any roofing company, but you will see it happen more often with cheaper contractors. This is because they have to keep labor and material costs low to ensure that they still make a profit. 


Again, this issue is only resolved by choosing a contractor for the total package they present. References, reviews, manufacturer certifications, and costs should all be considered in the process. 


3. Insurance May Refuse Wind Damage Claims


High wind speeds can result in shingles being blown off your roof, no matter how well they are installed.


However, if your roof is installed with poor workmanship, your shingles are at a higher risk of being blown off.


Homeowner’s insurance will often cover blown-off shingles as a result of high wind speeds. Unfortunately, if the insurance adjuster finds that the shingles were poorly installed, insurance will reject your claim because the wind didn’t cause the shingles to blow off – the poor workmanship did. 


In the end, you will be responsible for the costs of repairs. 


This is a more common issue amongst cheaper contractors who do subpar work. Make sure to thoroughly vet your contractors during the decision process to avoid future issues. 


4. The Lower the Price, the Higher the Risk


Materials are typically the same price for every contractor in your area. So why do all of the estimates you receive vary in price?


It all comes down to how each contractor allocates money. Because the material costs are the same, cheap contractors will have to cut corners in other categories to make their prices cheaper than their competitors. 


Usually, they will cut costs by reusing old flashings. 


You won’t receive the high-quality flashings you think you paid for. Instead, they may be rusted or have holes. As a result, they will be more prone to leaks. 


They can also lower costs by reusing underlayments like the drip edge and gutter aprons, or they won’t use the correct ventilation accessories compatible with your roofing system. 


All of this puts your roof at risk for leaks, costly repairs, and voided warranties. And overall, you are not receiving the quality that you think you paid for. 


If the price seems too good to be true, that’s because it probably is. If you notice one estimate is much lower than all of the others you received, do thorough research to ensure none of this happens to you. 


5. Failure to Pay Suppliers or Contractors


There are a lot of people and companies involved in the roofing process beyond your roofing contractor.


Your roofing contractor will be working with suppliers or subcontractors to get the materials and labor necessary to complete your roof replacement. 


Once you pay your roofing contractor, a portion of your payment should go to the supplier for the materials and the subcontractors who completed the work.


If your roofing contractor fails to pay them, they could issue a mechanics lien on your home. This is a document that clouds your title on your home.


If you attempt to sell your home in the future, buyers will either have to take on the lien or demand that you pay it off first. If you go with the latter, you will end up paying more for a roof that you already paid for. 


This is not an ideal situation for anyone. That is why you must go with a contractor that not only has a good reputation but has been in business for over five to ten years. The longer they’ve been in business, the longer they’ve been responsibly paying their bills. 


6. Worker’s Comp Fraud


Being a roofer comes with pretty high risks. Roofing contractors will pay a lot to ensure that Workmans Comp protects their workers should they get injured on the job.


As we’ve said before, material costs are the same for virtually all contractors in your area. So when it comes to saving money to charge you less, they cut corners in areas they shouldn’t.


One of these areas is Workman’s Comp. They will misclassify their workers on their paperwork to save a little bit of money with insurance.


However, if someone does get hurt while working on your home and they are misclassified, Workman’s Comp is invalid.


As a result, they can end up suing you for medical bills, or OSHA can fine you. 


Sounds like a nightmare, right? This is just one of the more severe risks that come along with the cheapest contractors. 


7. Up-Charging Once the Job Begins


You may think you are getting an excellent price for your roof replacement – and then the project begins. 


Suddenly there’s a bunch of things you find yourself paying for that weren’t in the estimate. 


For example, if they find rotten wood and need to replace the decking on your roof, they may vastly overcharge you to make up for what they didn’t initially charge for. 


You can end up paying more than what an average contractor would charge you for minor fixes because your contractor is attempting to increase its profit margin.


8. Going Out of Business = No Workmanship Warranties


A cheap roofing contractor typically won’t stay in business long, as their profit margins are not big enough to pay their bills. 


These companies may go under in less than five years, meaning they won’t be around to honor any workmanship warranties.


All of the repairs you thought you might be covered for in the beginning will fall on your shoulders. 


The best way to prevent that from happening is choosing a roofing contractor that has been in the business for more than five to ten years. If they’ve stuck around that long, they’ll most likely be in business when you need them. 


How to Avoid the Risk of Cheap Contractors


Now that you’ve read through all of the potential risks, you’re probably wondering how you can avoid them all and spare yourself the headache. 


The best way to avoid the risks associated with cheap contractors is to go with your gut. Ask yourself, “does it seem too good to be true?” If the answer is yes, research will be your best friend.


If they don’t have a lot of reviews or won’t share any references, that is a red flag. If they share that information with you and the reviews are solid, it is ultimately up to you to decide whether or not to move forward.


To help you in this search, read about finding the right contractor for you with “ 9 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Roofing Contractor.”


If you’re looking for a solid, well-respected contractor in the greater Milwaukee area, schedule an appointment with us to get a free estimate today.