Texas should require roofers to be licensed
barbers can charge $20 for a haircut, they must have taken 1,500 hours of coursework during a minimum of nine months’ training. They will be required to take a final examination and then pay $60 to obtain a license. To place a $10,000 roof on someone’s home requires no experience, no training and no license. We hope that is about to change.
Roofing contractors have no requirements for any type of work-related training, nor are they required to carry any liability insurance or accountability for their work. They can represent themselves as expert roofers and insurance specialists. The state has no record of these workers in the event that they cause damage or provide poor workmanship, or take several thousand of dollars from homeowners without doing any work at all.
Legislation calling for licensing roofing contractors will be introduced during the next Texas legislative session, and we urge homeowners to contact their local representatives and senators to support this measure.
No one is recommending 1,500 hours of training, but having roofing contractors secure a liability insurance policy would protect homeowners from damage. A nominal fee to obtain a license would also enable the state to pay for having in place a record of each roofing contractor and how they can be reached.
Instead of costing more money to install or repair a roof, the legislation would have the opposite effect. More responsible roofing contractors would mean less fraud and better workmanship, requiring fewer repairs such as fixing damage to the inside of a home from rain due to an improperly installed roof.
The roofing business is a multimillion-dollar industry in Texas. Multiple hailstorms in the Dallas/Fort Worth area alone this past spring caused nearly $2 billion in damage to homes, businesses and vehicles. With thousands of roofs to replace, workers wanting to take advantage of this business opportunity poured into Texas from all over the country. For some of these workers, the last thing on their mind was building a great roof for a fair price for the good of the homeowner.
After the spring hailstorms, the Texas Department of Insurance said it received more than 100 reports of roofers gouging both homeowners and insurance companies by inflating damage estimates, performing poor work, using substandard materials and actually causing damage to roofs to get work. The National Insurance Crime Bureau said many of the victims are senior citizens or people with language barriers.
The average price for a new roof can cost $10,000 or more. For that kind of money, Texas homeowners should expect some responsibility. Requiring contractors to obtain a license would allow the state to follow the work of roofing contractors and revoke their license if they are providing shoddy work, getting paid for no work at all or committing insurance fraud.
Roofing contractors who claim to be insurance specialists and advise policyholders on matters regarding an insurance contract or claim are violating state insurance law. It has gotten so bad that Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman issued a bulletin this summer warning homeowners to watch out for roofers who have been advertising or making promises to “work” insurance claims. These promises require a public adjuster’s license.
If our homes are damaged in a storm, we want the repairs done right. No one wants to become a victim of a fraudulent roofing contractor, and the requirement of a simple license will go a long way toward raising the standards for the Texas roofing industry.
A Raymondville homeowner covers his roof with a tarp after Tropical Storm Hermine in September 2010.