In part one of this series, we discussed how to generate a list of reputable contractors, and what it looks like to do your due diligence. In this next installment, we will cover how to properly judge your contractor’s experience and reputation so you can make the best possible choice.
Knowing you can trust a roofing contractor to give great advice about products and services is key to the success of your project. Here are seven aspects to consider when it comes to assessing a contractor:
1 - Location — Hiring a contractor with an office nearby increases the likelihood of better service and quicker response time. If a PO box is given, ask for a full street address as well. Just like us, most contractors prefer to work close to home.
2 - Business longevity — In this case, longer is better. Less than three years may signal an unstable or inexperienced business. References will play an important role here since the failure rate of small businesses within the first few years is very high.
3 - Insurance certificates — Contractors should carry both liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. General liability insurance protects you if the contractor causes damage to your home or property during the project. Without liability coverage, you may be responsible for any repairs or damages incurred. Workers’ compensation insurance protects you if a contractor is injured while working on your property. Without workers’ compensation insurance, you or your homeowner’s insurance may be responsible for the injured worker’s medical bills. Don’t be misled if a contractor makes a general assurance of other coverage, such as health, life, or auto insurance.
4 - License review — Many, but not all, states and cities require contractors to be licensed. If your state requires contractors to be licensed, the contractors might have had to pass a written exam in their specialty. A quick check with your local licensing authority will clarify which licenses are applicable to your particular area. Note that a standard business license is a tax requirement and does not speak to a contractor’s competence.
5 - Credential check — Premier roofing manufacturers like CertainTeed offer a variety of programs for professional contractors to establish their credentials as knowledgeable roofing companies. These credentials are another indicator of their degree of knowledge, professionalism, and commitment to their trade. CertainTeed-credentialed contractors also have access to a variety of online and in-person education courses, including CertainTeed’s award-winning continuing education and product knowledge programs.
6 - Multiple references — Obtaining references allows you to double-check a contractor’s business and is especially important when dealing with a new business (less than three years old). Ask for photos of completed work from within the past 12 months and request a list of about 10 customer names and their contact information. While you probably will only need to contact three, having 10 references will let you pick and choose, especially if several turn out to be non-responsive. Make sure to get addresses so you can drive by and check out the work for yourself.
7 - Workmanship warranty — In the event that there are any problems with workmanship, the contractor’s short-term warranty is even more important than coverage in the later years. This is because such problems, if present at all, are usually quick to surface. Even if problems of workmanship arise after the workmanship warranty has lapsed, a reliable contractor typically will stand behind their work. Also, ask for a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty for the specific products that you are considering. Together, these two separate warranties will cover the roof system, so you need to understand them both.
Read part 3, where we talk about what to discuss with your contractor when creating a contract.
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Original article source: CertainTeed
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