Why Roofers Shouldn’t Trust Online Contract Downloads

Alex Lowe
By: Alex Lowe
PublishedJun 3, 2024
4 minute read

Colorado roofers are discovering that contracts from online legal services may not be as legally sound as they appear. I don’t want your business to become a cautionary tale. In this article, I outline the significant risks embedded in these online contracts and discuss how we can fix a bad contract. 


I get the appeal of online legal services. I do. Sites like Rocket Lawyer and Law Depot are some of the first to come up if you Google “how to get a roofing contract.” Such companies offer “online legal services” that target small businesses and entrepreneurs, promising quick and cheap document creation. 

But quick and cheap document creation is a pipedream – at least in how these companies do it. The foundation for this cottage industry is built on the fallacy that, unlike a firm-represented attorney, these online companies will save you time and money. In the long run, this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Built on an Illusion of Convenience

What companies like Rocket Lawyer and LawDepot sell is the illusion of convenience to make a quick buck (or a recurring monthly buck if you find yourself locked into yet another subscription you forgot to cancel). And in many ways, you are the ideal customer for such services. 

A roofer’s schedule revolves around circumstances you can’t control, such as the weather, the business owner, the homeowner, inventory, and the insurance company. This might make squeezing in a consultation with a licensed attorney seem cumbersome. I hope this bird’s-eye view of the major issues with online-generated contracts will convince you otherwise. 

Take it from me: You don’t want your business contracts to come from online legal services.  Clients bring me their contracts from online legal service providers all too often, and they are atrocious. It’s not just roofing contracts that touch my desk, either. That being said, I see some common issues with roofer contracts specifically. Knowing the pitfalls can help protect your and your clients’ best interests. 

Pitfall #1: No Defined Scope of Work

What kind of contract doesn’t provide a scope of work? The answer: a contract downloaded from an online legal services site. At least, that’s been my experience with these so-called roofer contracts thus far.

Scope of work is a description of the work you plan to finish under the terms of the agreement. This part of the contract clarifies how much of the roof you plan to work on, what you plan to do to it, and if there are other fixes or installation services you will provide. 

Including a scope of work in your roofer contract isn’t just standard, it’s the law

In Colorado, a roofer who provides a client with a contract that’s missing a clearly defined scope of work violates C.R.S. 6-22-101 and C.R.S. 6-22-103

These laws require you to give the property owner a written contract (signed by both parties) that states the scope of services and materials to be provided before you start working on their roof.  

This requirement protects Colorado consumers, but it also protects you. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re completing tasks you didn’t agree to that you won’t get paid for because the homeowner can’t tell a roof installation from a gutter replacement.  

While you should clearly explain the scope of work to the homeowner, it’s not your job to perform extra work beyond what you’re actually contracted to do. That’s where the next pitfall comes into play.  

Pitfall #2: No Defined Responsibilities for Contractor (and Client)

Another glaring omission from online contracts involves defined responsibilities for the contractor and the homeowner. 

Having the roofer’s and client’s responsibilities spelled out in the contract is important to prevent misunderstandings that could later become legal disputes. 

For instance, what if the contract doesn’t specify who’s responsible for fixing an unexpected problem should one arise? Such a scenario can become grounds for a legal dispute. Unsurprisingly, unclear contracts make dispute resolution that much harder. 

Granted, contractor responsibilities can be broad, including everything from conducting work in a “workmanlike” manner to using a magnetic sweeper to remove any leftover nails from the yard during cleanup. But let’s not forget that the property owner also needs to hold up their end of the deal. This means granting property access so you can get the job done. 

Your contract should include all of this and more, depending on the agreement you and your client reach. Unfortunately, I have seen little evidence that online legal service contracts include roles and responsibilities. 

Pitfall #3: No Defined Expectation of Payment 

This is perhaps the most laughable omission from the online-generated roofing contracts that I’ve seen. Not because it’s funny but because it’s ridiculous. 

When you do work, you expect to get paid, right? Not according to some of these contracts. 

If your online-generated contract does not include when and how you expect to get paid for your services, then it’s just a bad contract. 

If a roofer had brought this contract to me before giving it to the client, I would have added the following provisions: 
  • Initial Deposit – An initial deposit gives you the means to purchase work materials
  • Payment Installments –Typically, I want to see at least half the contract price paid upfront, with the other half paid upon completion of the work.

If getting paid involves the homeowner’s insurance provider approving a claim, I also recommend including an assignment of benefits (AOB) within your roofing contract. 

An AOB legally transfers some or all of a client’s insurance benefits to you, the contractor. This clause allows you to deal directly with the insurer, which helps you get paid faster and reduces the risk that the homeowner will turn around and pocket the insurance money.

Getting Out of an Online-Generated Roofing Contract

If you suspect the contract you purchased from a website with the word “law” in the title left you has left you hanging, but you and the client have already signed it, you have some options. 

You can always seek to amend a contract. This will require the signature of the other party, which, depending on the client, could be difficult to obtain. That’s where Robinson & Henry comes in. 

One of our attorneys can review your existing contract and draft an amendment to correct one or more issues. We can also advise you on how to approach your client with the change. In addition to amendments, we can identify potential provisions that didn’t make this list. I’m thinking specifically of HOAs. 

So many Colorado properties belong to an HOA, and if your client’s home falls under the jurisdiction of a particularly strict HOA, you’re going to want language in that contract that doesn’t leave you hooked, lined, and sinking.

Let a R&H Attorney Fix Your Online-Generated Roofing Contract

Don’t give past mistakes a reason to haunt you. If you suspect your online-generated contract is missing any of the three provisions I’ve mentioned, don’t fret. Call 303-688-0944 to schedule a case assessment. 

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