When Should You Pay a Roofer?
Lots of homeowners get scared when a roofer asks for money before doing any work. If this has happened to you, should you be concerned?
Well, here’s the short answer:
- If the roofer is asking you to pay for the entire project in cash upfront, run.
- If the roofer is asking for a deposit, that’s legitimate. But make sure do your research on the contractor first.
The rest of this article is the non-Cliff's Notes answer.
Reject Any "I Need All Your Cash Now" Offers
If they’re asking for cash upfront for the entire project, run. Run away as fast as you can. According to the BBB, “When you’ve selected the roofing company; discuss payment.You should never pay for a roofing job upfront. You can pay a deposit, but the full amount shouldn’t be paid until the job is completed to your satisfaction.”
If the roofing contractor completely botches the job, but has all the cash, you’re put in an awkward situation. But if they botch the job and they have none of your cash, or you’ve only made a down payment, you can just pay someone else to do the job right.
Deposits Are Legitimate, But You Should Do Your Research
Like any significant transaction (think earnest money in real estate); A deposit is just a pledge to the roofing contractor that you’ll purchase a roof.
How Much Should You Give the Roofer for a Deposit?
It depends on the job. Larger projects may require larger deposits. But typically a deposit should not exceed 1/3 of the total cost of the roofing project. Regardless of the deposit amount, remember this: Pay everything with a check or credit NOT cash. A check or credit card create a record of money paid for your roof, whereas cash is more difficult to track. Meaning you’re going to have a hard time if the roofer goofs up and a dispute arises.
In the end, a deposit shouldn’t scare you if you’ve done your research and found a reputable local roofer. A good roofer will make your terms of payment crystal clear in a contract. And, of course, if you have questions about any of the terms, don't be afraid to ask!