By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.
When it comes to work on your roof, you always want to make sure you are hiring the best person for the job. As spring brings in irrational weather and more people experience storm and hail damage, it is a timely reminder to take precautions while hiring a contractor. As a roof fix has a long-term impact, you want to be proactive in selecting the best business. Here are some signs that you have found a reputable roofer.
1 - There is a clearly written and detailed proposal broken into separate line items. This means your contractor is being thorough and has an accurate estimate. This includes: materials used in work, the scope of the work being done, the type of roof covering, manufacturer and color, approximate start and completion dates, payment procedures and length of warranty and what is covered.
2 - You have a written contract agreement in place before hiring someone. Be sure to have their name, address and phone number included in the contract. The Augusta Chronicle recommends getting a copy of the signed contract and read the agreement in its entirety. Remember never to sign a blank contract. If an estimate or contract is confusing, ask the contractor to break it down into items/terms you can understand.
3 - You reported your storm damage claim. Check with your insurance company about policy damage and specific filing requirements. Your claims adjuster will help determine the scope of the damage, which can help you determine if a contractor's estimate is reasonable. Your insurance company may also have recommended contractors. Remember to save receipts! Watch out for anyone pretending to be your insurance company requesting personal information. Only provide personal information if you made the call. In that same vein, your insurance company will alert you before a contractor or worker is sent, so be wary of anyone who claims to have been sent by your insurance company if you didn’t know they were coming.
4 - You didn’t settle for the first bid. Shop around and get three or four estimates on the same specifications and materials. You want at least two written estimates to compare so you can ensure you don’t fall victim to price gouging. Reputable contractors will provide estimates for free.
5 - You have done your research. Check that references are updates and verify all licensing requirements are up to date. Make sure your contractor has the permits required. Checking a contractor’s track record through your local Better Business Bureau, Home Builders Association, or insurance claims adjuster. This will help you find a reputable contractor who is licensed and able to supply local operating permits and certificates of insurance for property, liability and workers compensation coverages.
5 - You are taking your time. There shouldn’t be any pressure to make a quick decision or choose an unknown contractor. Hiring the best person for the job is a long process, be wary of a “good deal” that can only happen if you hire a contractor on the spot.
6 - Your contractor is local. You want to be sure you are hiring an established contractor who works in the state. If someone solicits work or goes door to door, ask for identification and check their vehicle for a business name, phone number and license plates for your state or province.
7 - You have plans to fully pay after the damage is fixed. Reputable contractors will not ask for full payment before the work is complete, but a small initial deposit is reasonable. Determine who will pay the contractor for the work: you or your insurance company. If you pay the contractor, save receipts for reimbursement by your insurance company. Paying with a credit card offers additional fraud protection over other forms of payment. Don’t sign over insurance checks to contractors or sign documents that give your contractors rights to your insurance claims.
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