How to Choose the Right Roofing Contractor?
The roof is probably the most important part of your home.
It protects the structural integrity of the house making sure it lasts longer. It is also crucial for your health; by preventing excess humidity, it protects you and your family from various diseases.
Unfortunately, people tend to be stingy when it comes to their roof. They would choose the cheapest material such as asphalt shingles and would hire the cheapest company to perform the installation. Needless to say, this is a very poor decision making as a roof should last for more than 20 years before you replace it.
Choosing a roofing contractor is one of the biggest struggles for any homeowner.
There are two common mistakes that people make: they are either too hasty or they choose the cheapest option. While price is not always a measure of quality, it can be very indicative. Companies with lots of clients and a good reputation tend to raise their prices due to excess of work. On the other hand, it is not a decision you should make quickly.
To make your life easier, we have compiled a detailed list of 15 tips and tricks that will help you choose the right company for your roof.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Always choose a local roofing contractor
This is one of the necessary, precautionary measures. Make sure that the contractor works in your area. Ask for as many referrals as possible. Who knows; perhaps he performed repairs for your neighbors? You can even go and check these homes and see whether they’re owners are satisfied with the work. By doing this, you’ll make sure that the roofer can be trusted.
2. Check several roofing companies
Like with every big decision in life, you shouldn’t rush things. Try contacting several companies before making choosing the right one. Ask them for their price ranges and if they’re willing to pay you a visit in order to asses the status of your roof. Don’t be in a hurry! Roofs are a big investment and you should always go for the best possible roofing contractor for the job.
3. Check their registration
You have to ensure that this person (or company) is legitimate. There are lots of roofers who don’t even have a registered company but instead work as freelancers. While this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker nor does it say anything about a person’s skill set, it is definitely suspicious. Make sure that the company you choose has a valid tax identification number, business address, email, phone number, and a working website.
4. Check their license
Always ask for a worker’s license prior to working with them. Make sure to check if they have been trained to work safely and have taken the Working at Heights training or other fall protection training. We strongly suggest reading these crucial tips for hiring a roofer.
5. Confirm that they have a high score with BBB
Better Business Bureau or BBB is a regulatory body that literally keeps scores of all the roofing contractors working in the US, Canada, and Mexico. By visiting their site, you can check several candidates, their scores and satisfaction rates. This is a good way of filtering results and making the best decision. On the flipside, if a company is not registered on BBB, this can be a really bad sign. It’s better to skip those organizations or freelancers. Keep in mind that GAF Master Elite companies are also featured on this site. So, if one of your options has this title, they can be a sure win for you.
6. Check their insurance and other coverages
Keep in mind that if a roofing company is legit, they will pay insurance for all subcontractors and employees. If needed, they should even be able to provide an insurance certificate for validation. While these insurance policies are not required in all states, you don’t want to work with a company that doesn’t have one. In case of an injury, you will be responsible for roofer’s health bills given that the injury occurred on your property. Always remember that even if a person has a valid insurance, it might run out during the project so make sure it will last long enough for your roof to be completed. In some cases, you can also check the status of a company online. Rules are even stricter for GAF Master Elite contractors as they are required to pay a higher insurance than their peers.
7. Check roofers’ knowledge
Before committing to anything, learn more about roofs. Learn about the installation process and materials being used. Ask your top candidates a few questions (to which you know the answer) and test their knowledge. Even if these questions are a bit advanced the roofers shouldn’t have problems answering them. Otherwise, it can be a bad sign.
8. See if a contractor has performed any training
There are several important pieces of training that roofing contractors can perform; the one held by the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (or CARE) is the most important one. This training is performed on a national level by hundreds of thousands of roofers. It is a very good way to teach a company some safety basics. The training is necessary but if you have a choice it’s better to choose an expert who completed it.
9. Can they work with a particular material?
There are various materials you can use for a roof. In fact, depending on the material being used, the installation process can be different. This is why you need to work with roofing contractors who know their stuff. Ask them if they were approved by a manufacturer to work with the chosen material. If they were, this is a clear sign they can handle a particular item and that they know all the specifics.
10. Check supervision process
The number of people working on a project can vary. No matter how many of them are working on your roof, you want a certain discipline. You don’t want them to walk around unsupervised. This is why you need to ask the potential contractors how they handle the supervision process.
11. How long will it last?
If a company has lots of experience with roofs, and a particular material, they should be able to give you a proper assessment of the time required for the project. If a project lasts more than expected, this is a potential indication that something has gone wrong. Also, you don’t want to hire a roofing contractor who is going to stretch the work. Your time is precious so make sure that the whole project is finished on time. However, don’t try to rush it either. In order to please you, a contractor may give you an unrealistic schedule while forcing himself to work faster than possible. Needless to say, this may lead to errors and further complications that you don’t need.
12. Get a good warranty
Roofs are intended to last for a long time. In fact, a properly installed roof should last for at least 20 years. But what happens if some damage occurs after 3 or 4 years? You have to rely on a warranty for damage coverage! Ensure that the roofing contractor provides a good, long warranty. Also, make sure to read all the exceptions as you don’t want to get yourself into a situation where your roof is damaged but you can’t get financial coverage for some reason.
13. Don’t forget to pay your deductible
According to the law, an insured person is required to pay their tax deductibles. If a roofing contractor starts persuading you that you don’t have to pay for those, this is regarded as an insurance fraud. He needs to include the deductible in the costs without excluding any of them.
14. Consider insurance claim as well
When a roofing contractor offers to handle your insurance claim, it is also regarded as fraudulent behavior and is punishable by the law. In most states, the contractor cannot handle the claim for homeowners so make sure to stay away from anyone who says otherwise.
15. Create a proper contract
When everything is said and done, and you’ve decided to go with a specific contractor, it’s time to create a contract. It should specify all the small details such as:
- length of the project
- start and end date
- payment terms
- material used
- safety procedures
- control, etc.
Keep in mind that the contract is meant to protect both you and the roofing contractor. If a company tries to avoid signing it, this can be a very bad sign and can indicate they’re not able to uphold their verbal agreement.
As you can see, there are lots of important things to be considered when hiring a roofing company.
Unfortunately, there are lots of frauds out there so it pays off to be vigilant. Make sure that the company has all the needed documentation and that you can track their previous work. Try to do everything by the book and avoid anything that seems suspicious to you.
In the end, you’re the one who has to live in that house!