7 Tips For Choosing a Reputable Roofer
Unless you work in the home-building or contractor business, you’re probably a little baffled as to what to look for when it comes time to shop for a roofing contractor. In a leaky situation, you might even be in a bit of a time crunch. Before you dust off the phone book, there are a few things you should look for when choosing a contractor.
1. Does the Contractor Have a Physical Location?
Ask your potential roofer for the address of the business or look it up online, and then drive out to confirm that it is a real location. Some contractors will lie about their location so they won’t have to deal with any issues you might have with your roof, further down the road. If something does go wrong with your roof, you’ll want to have someone you can complain to.
2. Will the Contractor Provide You With References?
A company might look good on a flier or have a professional looking website but don’t let that fool you. Ask the contractor if they will provide you with referrals from recent customers as well as from customers who have had work done at least a year or two ago. The recent referrals will give you a more accurate depiction of the customer service and how smoothly the job went since it’s fresher in their minds and the employees are likely to be the same. The older referrals will be able to tell you how well their new roof fared through the seasons. If a company won’t provide you with referrals, it’s a red flag. In this case you should check out some online review sites like service magic, yelp!, or angie’s list.
3. How Long Has the Company Been in Business?
Many new businesses flop after only a few years, for a variety of different reasons. A good company will have years of experience under their belt, as well as a dedicated team of employees, with years of experience working together – whereas less experienced and unprofessional contractors are more likely to pick up any old Joe looking for work on the street corner.
4. Does the Contractor Have Workers Liability Insurance?
Workers Liability Insurance is a necessity for any roofing company. If a company doesn’t have this, and a worker is injured on your property, they can sue you for their grievances. Ask your potential contractor what carrier of insurance they use and then independently call the insurance company and ask them to send you the certificate. You should be wary of anyone that tells you they are self-insured or that your homeowners insurance will cover you.
5. How Did You Get the Proposal?
A reputable roofer will have a professional document explaining costs, materials, warranties, issues with the roof and how they will be corrected, in a detailed proposal. It’s not a good sign if a contractor comes to inspect the house and hands you his napkin with some notes on it.
6. Is the Building Permit Offered in the Proposal?
Obtaining a roofing permit isn’t always a fun task for a roofer and with the additional cost, many roofers choose to skip this step and just hope for the best. But if a city official comes knocking on your door and you have no permit to show them, they can shut down the operation or even take the workers to jail. Not so fun to deal with when storm clouds are rolling in.
7. How Much Was the Bid?
Though it’s tempting to choose the contractor with the lowest bid, it’s not always the best idea, and you could end up paying more in the long run. Newer companies are likely to have lower prices, so as to get more customers to help get the company off the ground. But these companies are more likely to skimp on worker’s insurance, have unlicensed or mediocre workers, and/or use lower quality roofing products. You could end up making up the difference in savings, in overall quality and appearance, hidden fees, heating and energy bills or in the worst case, should an uninsured employee sue for inflicted injuries.
Generally speaking, there are a lot of roofing companies out there, and not all of them have your best interest at heart. Some might try to cover up bad workmanship practices or even cheat you out of money. If you follow these tips and take the time to do a little bit of research, you can rest assured under a dry roof.
Tess K. Writes about home improvement tips for eco-friendly and quality roofing material manufacturer Quarrix.