Several weeks ago I posted a blog about poor experience with the roofing industry. Since then, I've experienced a taste of roofers who occupy both ends of the spectrum of professionalism. For the purpose of entertainment (my own and yours), I'll start with the shallow end of the gene pool. We'll call this roofer Bubba.
Bubba works for a company that was glowingly recommended by one of my neighbors in our neighborhood's Yahoo group. After reading the recommendation, I called to verify that no problems had come up since he posted the recommendation. In the conversation, my neighbor specifically told me to ask for "Bill".
Poor Service Clue #1: When I asked for Bill, the receptionist told me he no longer worked there.
Poor Service Clue #2: When Bubba called me to arrange to inspect my roof, he insisted on doing so in tandem with my insurance adjuster. This didn't sound kosher to me, but it was OK with the adjuster, so I agreed to go along with it.
Poor Service Clue #3: In casual conversation the day of the roof inspection, Bubba disclosed to myself and my wife that he was in the process of a divorce and is presently "living with a friend". The clue here doesn't reflect any prejudice on my part toward divorce, it's just that there are some subjects one should avoid when conversing with strangers (especially when those strangers are potential customers). This went way beyond TMI.
Poor Service Clue #4: When several days after the inspection I called Bubba and asked for a written estimate, he replied "Oh, we don't do business that way. When you get the numbers from your adjuster, just pass them along and we'll go from there."
Poor Service Clue #5: I skimmed over the packet Bubba had passed along to us the day he crawled around on the roof with the adjuster. There were no shingle samples inside, but there were two disclosures that gave me pause: 1) Your insurance check will serve as a downpayment to order the shingles, with remaining payment to be paid upon completion. 2) We do not provide written estimates.
I didn't discover Clue #6 until I had hired a professional roofer after receiving a prompt and highly-detailed written estimate. Three weeks had passed since my "just let me know when you have the money" conversation with Bubba. My phone rang as I was having dinner. I didn't recognize the name on caller ID. When I answered, Bubba The Roofer was on the line. The conversation was truly classic:
BUBBA: It's been a few weeks since we talked. When would you like me to start on your roof?
CLARK: I won't be needing you. I've hired another roofer.
BUBBA: I thought we had an agreement. Why did you do that?
CLARK: I asked you for a written estimate and you basically refused to provide one. When I talked to the 2nd roofer, he had no problem putting it in writing.
BUBBA: (After a pregnant pause)- I spent a lot of time on your roof and went to a lot of trouble. This kinda burns my ---, you know?
Roofer #2 provided a detailed, written estimate as promised.
Roofer #2 provided shingle samples along with the estimate and does not expect payment up front.
Roofer #2 called to schedule the job immediately after we accepted his estimate.
Roffer #2 called to let us know when to expect the shingles & rolloff dumpster to be delivered. Both arrived exactly as scheduled.
Roofer #2 has scheduled to start the tear-off tomorrow, and I have no doubt that we'll wake up to hammers & ladders.
Bubba does not deserve to stay in business.