How to Choose the Right Roofing Contractor
A roofing project is one of the biggest investments in your home. Whether you need a patch job or a complete installation, the contractor working on the structure must be highly skilled. Picking the right roofing contractor may be difficult because most people don’t hire these professionals on a regular basis. Explore every detail surrounding contractor hires so that your roof can have a seamless repair or replacement. The materials and work will last for several decades as a result.
1. A Permanent Address
It’s understandable that most roofers spend their time in a service vehicle. Their work is outside, so they must remain mobile. However, this fact doesn’t mean that the business can’t have a permanent address. In fact, reputable roofers have an address where their office work resides.
As you look for a roofer, verify that the professional has these points to offer, such as:
- Physical address
- Landline telephone number
- Stable email address
Without these informational points in place, you should probably skip that particular roofer. In today’s busy world, there are still scam artists that can trick unsuspecting residents.
Related Article: Ultimate Residential Roof Maintenance Checklist
2. Business History
Research several roofing companies before calling a handful for quotes. The best roofers have several years of experience. Look for professionals who’ve been in business for many years, such as a decade or more.
Their work shouldn’t be divided out across the country either. A company that’s been in business at the same location for many years tells a good story about their legitimacy. They’re committed to the region.
You might look for a “mom and pop” roofing company too. These professionals will often have several generations at their company, which encourages a quality product with each project.
3. Locals Approve of the Services
The right roofer has a good standing with the community. They may have performed dozens of projects in the area over the past few years. An old-fashioned tip that still works today is asking for local referrals.
Community residents won’t hesitate to tell you if a company is worth your time or if you should skip their services. Ask several opinions about a handful of companies. No one will ever find a company with perfect reviews, but there should be mostly positive responses in regards to a roofer you want to hire.
4. Expertise With Your Requests
Choose contractors who have experience in your particular request. If you’re looking for a patching expert as opposed to roof replacement, voice your need. Most professionals take on several different tasks as their specialties.
Look at their website for a complete list. If your chosen contractor doesn’t perform your type of service, ask for a referral to another company. Although you may appreciate that company’s professionalism, you still need a good match for your service needs.
Ask about specific training, awards or certificates regarding your service request too. Any official documentation tells you that a true professional is standing right in front of you.
5. Part of Local and Regional Associations
The right contractor is typically part of the community as an active participant among regional associations. The city might have a service-provider association or the contractor partners with the state’s roofing professionals.
Companies with one or more associations are legitimate and serious about their commitment to the roofing arts. They must typically renew their associations every year too. Keeping up with the standards required by the associations isn’t easy, so this fact tells you that these roofers are working hard for their industry.
Consumers can perform online research or directly contact the associations for verification of a particular roofing company. The information should be free to the public.
6. Certified With One or More Materials Manufacturers
Trustworthy contractors will often have close relationships with material manufacturers. They go as far as becoming certified in certain areas, such as qualifying as an approved installer for complex roofing projects. Hire these contractors who’re approved by the manufacturers because they have an extra level of expertise.
Specific materials may have unique instructions during installations. Skipping any steps would result in a failed rooftop. Because a contractor works closely with the manufacturer, every material can be added without any mishaps. Your roof ends up being a textbook example of a quality installation.
7. Avoids Sub-Contracting
The best roofing contractor performs the work with dedicated employees. Any work with sub-contractors isn’t part of the project. Although sub-contracting work is certainly legal in the roofing industry, it takes some accountability away from the main contractor. Certain details may be overlooked. The job’s quality may not be as good with sub-contractors.
Read over the roofing contract to verify that sub-contracting isn’t part of your project. Bring up any concerns before signing on the dotted line. You always want the contractor’s main workers for the best possible product.
8. Offers Extensive References
Contractors who have pride in their work will want to brag about it through references. If you discover a roofer who has a list of people who you can talk to about their work, the contractor is probably of good quality. Some roofers even give you addresses to see the roofs in real life.
These professionals are proud of their work. Take advantage of the situation and visit those addresses. The visuals will help you decide on the right company.
9. Everything is in Writing
Every roof project is a complex agreement between the homeowners and contractors. No details are ever confirmed over a handshake or verbal agreement. Good contractors put everything in writing. In fact, they’ll revise the contract as many times as possible so that every detail is properly noted.
Sit down with the roofer during project negotiations. You’re welcome to add as many items as you like to the contract. Reputable contractors fill in the paperwork so that everyone has a copy. Discrepancies are practically nonexistent with a detailed contract in place between the two parties.
10. Full Payment Due After the Work is Completed
A telltale sign of a questionable contractor is when full payment is due before the work is completed. No contracting professional will ask for every dollar upfront. Reputable companies want you to see the finished product first. Full payment should be required after the final inspections have been made.
Be prepared to pay a certain percentage upfront, however. It’s not unusual for a contractor to ask for 10, 20 or 30 percent of the funds upon starting the project. The money is typically used to pay for materials being installed on the structure. The remaining balance is due after all of the work is completed.
11. Clearly Licensed, Bonded and Insured
Regardless of the contractor’s experience and training, only hire professionals holding a license, bond and insurance. Always verify these documents before signing any quotes. If a contractor fails to finish the job, their bonds and insurance will cover your loss.
When a worker becomes injured, the company can cover any medical bills. Contractors without these coverage types might hold the resident accountable for damages. Protect yourself and the contractor’s workers by only choosing properly documented roofers. The job is inherently dangerous as workers scale the rooftop at brisk paces.
12. Offers Emergency Services
The sign of a truly professional roofer is offering emergency services. There might be a 24-hour callback number or live operator, for example. Quality roofing contractors understand that problems don’t always erupt during business hours. Leaks happen around the clock. Your roof is a structure that requires immediate attention at times.
Ask about emergency services when you interview contractors. They should be able to discuss all of the particulars, including an average time it takes them to physically arrive at the scene. Inquire about extra charges too. Being prepared for a nominal charge is fair when these roofers might save you from hundreds of dollars of damages without emergency help.
13. Provides Warranty Coverage
Questionable roofers won’t stand by their work. Their job is to charge you, complete the work as casually as possible and leave. The right roofer will offer warranty coverage on both the parts and labour The labour warranty should come directly from the contractor.
Their installation expertise shouldn’t reflect shoddy work. The materials should have a professional appearance. A warranty only comes into play if defects occur. When you choose the right contractor, their workmanship should never be questioned. They give their all to every customer.
14. Properly Manages Projects
Ask for the roofer’s typical project timeline. Reputable companies will have a sample printout that you can examine. A well-maintained, project timeline reflects a level of professionalism that you want at your property. Setbacks can occur, but most projects should follow the timeline.
If roofers do have setbacks, especially when it comes to weather, there should be a project manager on site who can update you after each day’s work. Solid communication between all of the parties will make a project run smoother than without the correspondence.
15. Cleanup is Part of the Quote
Residents should be concerned about all of the parts and labor being added to a quote, but quality roofers go farther than these details. They add a cleanup service to the quote. Although this service creates a higher cost on the entire project, residents will always want cleanup. Roofing materials are heavy and messy objects. There will be debris created every day.
Contractors who’re willing to clean up after themselves have pride in the work. They’re accountable for the materials being pulled from the building. If you receive a quote without cleaning as part of the service, the contractor may not offer exactly what you need.
By following these tips, hiring a roofing professional should be a simple job. Follow your gut instinct as you interview different people, however. If something doesn’t feel right in your mind, there’s probably an issue. Hire the professional who goes above and beyond your needs. The results will show on your rooftop as the property gains value.