To survive (much less thrive) as a roofing contractor, you have to take on insurance claim jobs. For many roofers, it’s the bulk of their business. Dealing with denied or underpaid insurance claims can be difficult enough, but what if you do the work and can’t get paid?
It’s not fair, but often times the recoverable depreciation check that was sent directly to your client gets spent on anything other than you – even though you did your part and installed the roof right, and on time!
Good communication and customer service will go a long way to avoiding problems. Consider these tips when taking on an insurance client:
Way to avoid being stiffed
- Make sure the price of the job is quoted up front. Don’t leave the price blank and settle for whatever the insurance company will pay. Explain your pricing, demonstrate your value, and have the homeowner agree to pay regardless of how much the insurance pays.
- Build rapport. Don’t rush on to the next prospect before making sure the homeowner is comfortable and you’ve answered all their questions. This applies to the entire process, not just at the initial meeting.
- Continually communicate. This will not only demonstrate your level of care, it will also allow you to recognize any concerns that might come up. Furthermore, it will give you an opportunity to remind them how the payment process works. Keep in mind that even though you deal with insurance claims on a regular basis, the homeowner doesn’t, so be patient and over-explain.
Employing these tips will improve your collection rate, but they aren’t fool-proof. A homeowner may get some bad information from others as to how recoverable depreciation works. They might think you don’t deserve the entire amount the insurance company has approved; or, they discover some fly-by-night roofer will (illegally) kick-back their deductible to them and wonder why you won’t do the same.
Perhaps despite your best efforts their prized rose bush got cut in half by a runaway sheet of plywood flying off the house. Or the recoverable depreciation check came, and somehow they thought the insurance company sent them a bonus so they used your money to get that big screen TV they’ve always wanted. Despite your best communication efforts, and regardless of reason, it means you’ve been stiffed – again!
How to Collect
If you’ve done all that and still you can’t get your money, more drastic measures may have to be taken. It all starts with having the right contract that ensures you can collect.
You may not want to send a demand letter or file a lawsuit against your customer; but, think what the homeowner would do if you took their money and put on half a roof and stiffed them – they wouldn’t hesitate to pursue you!
It takes some time and persistence, but the good news is that with a little knowledge, you can collect your recoverable depreciation from your client without having to hire an attorney if you don’t want too. Don’t give up, after all – it’s your money.
To help roofing contractors avoid this problem, we've giving away our "10 Steps to Guarantee Collection of Recoverable Depreciation" and we want to share it with you without cost or obligation. You’ll find out exactly what you need to do to collect every penny you’ve earned, every time – without hiring an attorney!