Storm damage repairs to roofs backlogged for summer. What homeowners should know to avoid being hustled


May 30—ROCHESTER — Tornadoes, hail and high winds are weather events that send you looking for shelter.

But when that shelter, your home, has been damaged, you start looking for some help fixing that shelter.

Unfortunately, a number of damaging storms in recent months has left the roofing and home repair industry with a backlog, and that backlog continues to grow.

Mike Busch, a State Farm agent based in Rochester, said his office has been dealing with an inordinate amount of claims.

“The last week or so we’ve been extremely busy,” Busch said. “We’ve probably had at least 100 claims on homes and cars. There were a significant number of claims in December also, maybe not quite as many as we’ve had here in the last week or so. We prioritize leaking roofs or missing roofs from damages, but depending on their damage, and what they tell me we’ll either turn it into a claim with us or go through a contractor to assess the damages.”

Alex Ball, marketing manager for All Craft Exteriors, said the volume of work began to climb in December through February, normally a slow time for the company.

“We were already booking out quite a bit weeks in advance in terms of repairs, and now we’re having to book out even further for appointments,” Ball said. “We’re encouraging our customers to be careful, to be as patient as possible and to try to hold for someone local as much as possible.”

With the backlog of bookings for roofers and home repair contractors across the region, Ball tells his friends and customers who are hoping for an estimate to be wary of scammers that will try to take advantage of these backlogs. The first sign of a scam right now, Ball said, is that after a free estimate, the estimator says they can get the work done within a month or less time.

“Everybody who’s reputable in this town is in the same boat,” Ball said. “No one can book appointments sooner than four to six weeks out. If someone says they can get to you faster than that, there’s more work than there are people to do it in that time.”

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Ball also reassured that anyone looking for free estimations and roofing repairs can always check if the person doing these estimations are licensed by the state of Minnesota. Under state law, all roofing contractors must be licensed to conduct any work.

“Minnesota requires us to do certain things like continuing education, maintain certain insurance coverage for ourselves that covers both our work people and our customers. To have the license, we’re not allowed to take shortcuts. And so if you’re dealing with someone who’s unlicensed, you’re dealing with somebody who most likely is taking shortcuts,” said Ball.

There is a chance that more storms over the summer could keep the backlog going for roofing contractors to four to six weeks or further. Those in need of estimations are recommended by Busch and Ball to keep that in mind and look into free estimations as soon as possible.

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