What is the subcontractor Scam?
Now let me be clear, this is an unpopular opinion among my fellow roofing company owners, and even among many subcontractors. The reason I call it a scam is because it has an air of deception involved in subcontracting a roofing project. The difference from your average roofing project for "Bob n Betty" home owner, and the kinds of projects where subcontractors are not a scam is the necessity of multiple trades on a site. Reading this post will make you much better at Hiring Roofers and managing your jobs.
When building a new house or a shopping mall. There will be tile installers, electricians, framers, drywallers, plumbers and yes exterios contractors.
When building the Anthony Henday ring road around Edmonton or if they ever build a new Saddledome in Calgary, there will be multiple trades involved there too.
This warrants the use of Subcontracting. There is a justification for someone to hire a General Contractor that would supervise the hiring, qualification and deployment of sub-contracted trades workers.
When installing a new roof on your home, there is generally only one trade needed. Roofers. There is no need for a roofing company to hire another roofing company to install a roof on someones house. The need is FALSELY created and upheld by nothing other than Status Quo.
I don't know where it started, or why, but somewhere along the line it became acceptable for a roofing company to just assume that it is okay for them to Sell a job and then give the work they were hired to do to a smaller company.
Imagine where that must have started! Imagine the first time someone did it, they probably thought they were a genius to get away with it. To go to a cusotmers house with no intention of actually doing the work, or even having hired and trained experts to do the work, but to simply sell the job and then get another roofing company to do the work.
Much of the industry says that this is justfied becuase; "Roofers don't know how to market themselves." In a different time, that might have been true. That might have made sense when there was only the newspaper, radio, bus bunches, billboards and postcards. The conflict I have with this statement is knowing how to market yourself does not make your company the best choice for a home owner. The ability to do the work you are hired for DOES. The ability to do it well, consistently and predictably does.
So thus I Call it a SCAM.
How do you spot the subcontractor scam?
Well the easiest way to is to simply ask your roofing contractor if they subcontract their jobs out. If you want to know how to SPOT A subcontracted roofer, it's not so much about what to see or look for, but to notice what's missing.
Most contractors in other industries like Plumbing or Carpet Cleaning will show up in a truck or van with logos all over it. It's not rocket science, if you are on a job working it would be wise to have branding on the job site, if the neigbhours are looking for a similar service they will have a high likelihood of trusting their neighbours choice. It also makes it easy to ask for a testimonial and view the work in progress, on a house that is likely similar to their own. In addition to having logos on trucks and trailers in the driveway, it makes good sense to have them all the time driving down the road and in traffic. Yet with roofing they have a sub agreement contract that prohibits the roofing workers from having any logos on their trucks.
Because they hired a different company. How does it makea sense to do this? They literally design into the contract a plan to decieve the customer at the expense great advertsing opportunities. Had they simply hired the roofers to work for them in-house they would be able to control so much more of the job and have the advertising on site.
Why do roofing companies sub out their jobs?
Well it's quite simple actually. The drawbacks are minimal. You lose some control, and the marketing opportunity. The experience is not somethiing under your control when you sub. However all the liability and responsibility falls to the sub. Damages to property, injuries to workers go on the subs insurance and workers compensation accounts, not the company that sold the job. The sub has to do all the hiring and firing, T4's and payroll. The stress of managing people, controlling schedules and hiring for culture is put entirely on the sub. Personally I do not know how they actually agree to sign the contract.
If you would like more information you can easily digest some of our videos on our youtube channel or watch this one right here:
What to do next:
If you are looking to get a roof done the easiest thing to do is just hire a roofing company that has all the ingredients to make for a successful stress free roofing project. One that doesn't subcontract it's jobs to the lowest bidder. A company that is loud and proud of their brand on site and takes the risk of making sure they are conducting themselves well in the community and on site.
If it wasn't obvious, that's us. :) Click the button below to schedule an estimate.