Storms, natural wear and tear, and other elements that cause roof damage can lead to hiring a roofing contractor. Roofers can make repairs or replace your entire roof if needed.
There are few things more troubling for homeowners than a damaged roof. Not only does your home’s roof protect you, your family, and your possessions from the elements, but a well-constructed roof is a major component of a structurally sound home.
The contractor you choose should have experience, references and be able to give you an estimate. Here’s how to find a reputable roof contractor.
Choose a Reliable Roof Contractor
Most roofing jobs come from storm damage that leaves homeowners needing emergency repairs.
Rather than hiring the first company you find, take these steps to find a reliable roofing contractor:
Contact friends and family members who’ve had their roofs replaced. They will be able to provide first-hand information about the contractors they chose. Consider hiring contractors that provided quality, fast service to the people you know. If your friends or family members weren’t satisfied, avoid the contractors they used.
Contact your local Better Business Bureau. The BBB will have documentation about any complaints filed against roofing contractors. They can also provide a list of contractors to whom they give their highest rating.
Look for reviews. You can check online reviews but beware. It’s possible for contractors who provide poor service to have friends and family members give them good reviews. Since these reviews are rarely verified, the information can be incorrect.
Vetting Potential Roofing Contractors
Once you’ve chosen a few potential roofing contractors, you can begin the vetting process. Start by asking for written estimates. You can also visit each company’s website. If their websites are not professional looking, consider moving them to the bottom of your list.
When talking to these potential contractors, ask these specific questions:
- How long have they been in the roofing business?
- What is their estimate for the job that you need performed?
- How much experience do they have with roofing jobs like yours?
- Can they provide a list of references?
- Can they provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance and liability insurance?
That last question is the most important. If you choose a company that doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be financially responsible for any accidents on your property. If they don’t have liability insurance, you will be responsible for any damage they cause to your property.
If a contractor can’t provide proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance, remove them from your list.
Meeting With Your Top Choices
Before a roofing contractor takes on a job, they will visit your home to look at the roof. An in-person meeting gives you a chance to get a better feel for what type of business they operate.
During your meeting, ask who will be responsible for managing the details of your new roof’s warranty. Also, be sure the contractor can provide a written contract for services, which will keep both parties honest. The contract should include timelines, costs, and your payment schedule.
Watch Out for the Warning Signs
In many areas, roofing contractors don’t have to undergo a licensing process – allowing anyone to claim to be a roofer.
If you live in an area that’s suffered widespread storm damage, it may attract unscrupulous contractors looking to make a quick buck. These contractors often advertise services, take money from homeowners, and then skip town.
Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- Does the contractor want the entire cost of the job upfront?
- Does the contractor require a higher down payment than the other contractors you’ve talked to?
- Is the estimate provided significantly lower than all the other estimates you’ve received?
- Is the contractor pressuring you to sign a contract immediately?
If you say yes to any of those questions, it’s a good indicator that the contractor isn’t operating the right way.
Preparing for the Final Meeting
Once you’ve eliminated the contractors you don’t want to work with, you’ll set up a final meeting with the remaining companies. When you meet with the contractor for the final time, you should be prepared to:
- Confirm the initial price quote
- Set up a payment plan
- Ask for copies of the contract, project plans, order changes, invoices, contact info, and insurance
Then, your roofing contractor can prepare to start the job.
Choosing the right contractor is the most important part of installing a new roof. Finding a reputable, licensed contractor can ensure your home is protected and you don’t suffer any undue financial stress.
Start your search with recommendations from friends and family. Contractors who’ve provided quick and quality service in the past should make the top of your list. If the cost of your roof is covered by the homeowner’s insurance company, you can also contact your insurance agent for recommendations.