Have you decided it is time to replace your roof? Or, do you have roofing maintenance that needs done? Maybe you aren’t sure about the condition of your roof and would like an expert’s evaluation. Or, perhaps you’ve just come through a storm and you need some repairs and done quickly.
In these situations, finding and choosing the right roofing contractor to hire is an important task. How do you avoid the roofers who do shoddy work or worse, the “storm-chasers” running a scam? How best can you sort through roofing companies and find the right expert for your job?
Your home and its roof are very important and with a bit of effort you can select the right roofing contractor to ensure a quality job lasting for years. Here are some helpful factors in selecting the best roofing contractor.
#1 – A LOCAL BUSINESS
Begin a list of contractors that are located in your area and who have invested in a dedicated office/shop location. A local contractor is often better aware of local codes and regulations. Having an office suggests they will be in business long after the roofer who is just working out of his pickup. Visit their location and see their operation. Is it well-kept and professional or not?
#2 – REVIEWS
A contractor should have built a reputation. Find out what type reputation it is. Experience and quality work produce good reviews. Check online with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Search Google, Angie’s List, Yelp or other review sites for the company’s rating score, but don’t stop there. Read the reviews. Valuable insights can be gained about their performance. Remember there are likely to be some negative reviews regardless. Read to see what people complained about and consider if it seems valid. It isn’t good either, if the company doesn’t have many reviews.
#3 – WARRANTY
A warranty by the contractor is a sign of good business, but it is only good as long as they remain in business. While warranties are important, there are many aspects to consider. Quality materials installed incorrectly may take years to appear and insurance likely won’t cover that claim. Some manufacturers will warranty the installation workmanship, but that might also limit your material selection and there may not be a local roofer certified in this manner. Finding an experienced local contractor using quality materials, may be the best path through the warranty maze.
#4 – MATERIAL CHOICES
There exists a wide variety of shingle options. If a roofing contractor isn’t able to offer a good variety of style and color choices that is concerning. Roof shingles dramatically affect the appearance of the house and that affects its resale value. Don’t select a contractor that overly restricts your options.
#5 – SAFETY
Asking potential contractors about their safety training and record. The work is going to be performed on your property on top of your roof. Contractors should be taking precautions regarding safety with protocols and worker training.
#6 – COMMUNICATION
Evaluating communication from the prospective contractors can be a good indicator of how things will go once you have hired them. As you build your list and research different roofing companies, keep a log of communication. Did the company provide the information you requested? Did they do it in a timely manner? Were they professional, courteous and thorough? A contractor not performing well when they are competing for being hired may be even worse after securing your work.
#7 – PRESSURE
Be prepared to resist pressure tactics to make a quick decision and sign a contract. This is especially important dealing with storm damage and insurance claims. A reliable contractor will make a thorough inspection and provide you a written quotation. Your insurance company should then be contacted. “Storm-chaser” roofers often claim to be sent by your insurance company, that they can “cover” your deductible and push you for a commitment. For less urgent projects, still resist the pressure to commit quickly to any offer.
#8 – QUOTATION & CONTRACT
Your list now includes many local companies and you’ve read ratings and reviews, you’ve seen their business locations, and communicated with them. Narrow it down to just your top picks and ask them for a quotation. Someone will come out and make an inspection and you will need to select the product they will use. They should send you a detailed estimate including: materials, warranty, timeline for completion, if a deposit is required, total cost, payment due date and payment methods. The quotation might become a contract with your signature or if a separate contract is made, confirm all terms are accurately transferred.
#9 – CREDENTIALS
Confirm your contractor has liability and workman’s compensation insurance by obtaining a certificate copy from them. An injured worker on your roof might lead to litigation for medical costs against you without insurance. Also, some regions require contractor licensing that should be confirmed.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it can be a savings in the end. Avoiding a poor-quality job by an unprofessional contractor will create a lot more work, headaches and expense.