When it comes to choosing a roofing contractor there are many to choose from, but it’s your roof and you want the best person to handle the job. The first thing you should know is that you can not determine a professional roofer by just looking at estimates and comparing prices. Allow yourself time to speak with each contractor to explore options and ask detailed questions. So how do you go about picking the ideal candidate for your specific roofing project? Asking the right questions will certainly help narrow down the field.
Good contractors take pride in their work and should be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have about the products, services, or installation process. One important thing to ask is if the company uses subcontractors to perform the work or if they have their own crew. Also, make sure to ask if they are certified with the manufacturer of the supplies they are using on your roof and can offer you a warranty.
- Does the roofing contractor offer onsite inspections and estimates? If a company tries to offer you an estimate right over the phone, without viewing your roof, you may want to choose another contractor. The size of the job, shape of the roof, and condition of the roof are all factors that can only be determined by an onsite inspection.
- Does the roofing company have a physical address? While a physical address isn’t necessarily an indication of success or dependability, it does suggest that the company is established and will be around if you should have problems with the roof after completion of the project.
- Does the roofing company have employees or do they hire subcontractors? If they have employees, what are their job descriptions? Who will be assigned to what job? Get exact names and contact phone numbers for all persons who will be involved in the project, including the project supervisor or lead carpenter. Also, ask whom you should contact if the supervisor is not available. Other firms will have additional positions. You should know what parts of your project will be handled by staff, and which will be contracted out to independent contractors.
- How long has the company been in business? Again this is not a guarantee of reliability or quality work, but the number of years a company has been in business is often a good indicator of their success. Look for a roofing company with an established business history in your community. Of course, every contractor must start somewhere, so don’t rule out a startup business if they meet all your other specifications.
- Does the roofing contractor or company carry insurance and a license? These two are an absolute must. A reputable contractor should carry comprehensive liability and workers compensation insurance to protect your home in case of a roofing accident. If a worker is hurt while on your property and no workers’ comp is in place, you could be held liable for medical expenses and loss of wages. Ask for copies of the insurance certificates to verify coverage. In addition, most states require licensing and registration. Before you hire any roofing contractor make sure they are licensed in the state where they are working. A state may require that contractors be licensed while local cities or towns may have varying regulations.
- Can the roofing contractor provide references from past jobs? Call a few past customers to see if they were pleased with the roofing job. Did the contractor show up on time? Was he responsible yet easy to work with? Was the job completed on time? As a follow-up question, ask how long ago the project was completed. Also ask what percentage of their business is repeat business?This will give you a good indication about the company’s overall customer satisfaction.
- Does the company provide a warranty on the work they do? The materials will usually be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty but you want to make sure the contractor will back up his work, in writing, if there should be a problem. Ask for photos of completed work. See if they have an interactive showroom to show you the materials firsthand.
- Has the company had any complaints before and how have they attempted to solve them? As a customer, you want to know that if there is an issue, they will do everything possible to resolve it. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed. If so how have they been handled?
- Does the contractor clean up the site and remove all the old roofing materials? Find out if this is included in the cost or is an extra fee. Usually this is part of the job but it’s always a good idea to ask so there are no surprises when the job is done. You don’t want to be stuck with a pile of debris in your yard and have to pay extra to have it hauled away.
- Does the roofing contractor offer a written contract? You need to have a detailed contract listing the work to be completed, the time frame for completion, the type and brand of materials being used, and an itemized list of all costs, including labor.
- What is the time frame for starting and finishing the project?. Some things to consider are the estimated time for completion, how early the crew will begin work, when will they quit for the day, and if you will be contacted about changes or delays to the schedule. Also ask who will contact you if changes are made.This will give you an idea of how the roofing contractor works and what to expect during the project.
We recommend that you evaluate each prospective roofer as carefully as possible. You want a roofing contractor that has a solid reputation for quality and timely work as well as an established business. You want a roofer who has answered your questions without hesitation and is happy to show you how they do business.