Check Out Your Roofing Contractor
Here are our tips for to make the best choice:
Call your local roofing distributor and ask for a list of qualified contractors.
Why? Roofing contractors are their customers. They know who pays their bills on time, what companies are prepared for deliveries, if there are problems on their jobs. The distributors know if the company is run like a business. That is important.
Call on the roofing contractor’s referrals.
The best people to verify the quality of the installation is the people they have installed a roof for. Ask the contractor if they have a job in progress you can drive by. See how the job site looks, ask the homeowners if this has been a good experience so far. Call for a referral on a job a few years old, did they have to call the contractor back?
Are they in good standing?
Does your state have a Department of Consumer Repairs? How about the Better Business Bureau?
Make sure they have insurance.
It is important for safety on your job and the safety of the employees. Contractors that don’t pay insurance can offer pricing way lower. Why should you care? If they get hurt on your job you may be liable.
The lowest bid is not always the best way to go.
The lowest estimate may be a great deal BUT do your homework. If the contractor makes no profit how can he survive to fix your roof later if there is a problem? Perhaps he is not carrying insurance. Perhaps he measured incorrectly. A price too low can mean trouble.
Permits and Licenses
Not all states have contractor’s licenses and not all cities have building permits but it is always safe to check and make sure the contractor is licensed and your job is permitted when required. If you get caught without a permit the building inspector could make you tear-off your roof.
BEWARE of Contractors that ask for money up front
In most states it’s against the law for a contractor to collect more than 10% up front. If your contractor doesn’t have the credit or cash flow to get the materials to your roof do not pay for the materials up front. Don’t feel sorry for him and give him the money before the work has been performed to your satisfaction. This is how people get burned!
Keep in Mind
When you hire the undocumented, the unlicensed and the uninsured you may be saving money now but you pay for it in other ways. Higher taxes and insurance. Do the right thing. They also are unfair competition for licensed contractors who operate with bonds, insurance and other responsible business practices. You will have no recourse if the installation is inferior and the roof fails. Know what you are buying and who you are buying it from.
Business is Business
Make sure your expectations are put in writing and make sure you understand your contract. Be wary of large down payments and don’t let payments get ahead of the work. You are making a substantial risk with your money and your new roof.
This is your home
This kind of project deserves a quality job. Your roof protects the structure of your home, all of your possessions and your family. You could get kitchen cabinets on sale but there should be no cutting corners in roofing.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be a smart shopper
Educate your self before you ask a roofer to come out.
A few final things to remember:
There can always be hidden surprises when you tear the old roof off. Wood and termite damage will add extra cost to your roof.
Proper Ventilation for your roof may be extra. Your contractor will need to evaluate each job based on insulation and your roofs ability to ventilate your house. Chances are good that you will have a good system in place. Improper ventilation could result in failure of your roof systems, such as causing wood rot or early deterioration of the roofing materials.
A roofing expert is worth paying for. A quality, smooth job is worth some extra dollars. You wouldn’t go to a discount brain surgeon would you? But pricing to low or too high could mean trouble. Need more help? Please see our Questions To Ask page.
We can help you find some quality contractors here: