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Home | Our Blog | HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ROOFING CONTRACTOR

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ROOFING CONTRACTOR

posted on Apr 28,2019

 

Needing a new roof can be a frustrating time. You have to find a good roofer contractor, pay thousands of dollars, possibly take out a loan, and just a bunch of things you don’t want to deal with. Now, imagine doing that twice in a short timespan! Exactly, the thought is completely unbearable. That’s why it is VITAL to make all the right decisions the first time so you’re not faced with a contracting nightmare. Replacing your roof is usually something you’ll only have to do once within the lifetime of owning your home. There are hundreds of horror stories about hiring the wrong roofing contractor, and you don’t want to be one of them. Finding a contractor may be a little intimidating when you hear about the neighbor who gave a down payment of thousands of dollars and then the contractor was never to be heard from again. That’s why we put together a few tips and questions to ask when you’re in search of a contractor. Taking precautions and paying attention to the details is the only way you can find a reputable roofing contractor for your next project.

 

Put the mouse aside and pick up the phone

 

When we’re researching for practically anything these days, our first place to go is of course..the internet. This may be a good way to get a general idea of who is local and what they do, but searching for a good roofing contractor online can quickly turn into information overload. Hundreds of search results pop up making it hard to determine whose reputable and whose not.  Calling is a much better way to go. Doing a phone pre-screening will allow you to ask questions and rule out the noncredible roofers. This process saves you time, money, and energy! By following the tips and asking the right questions you’ll be able to:

 

  • Determine the roofer’s credibility
  • Find out about the roofer’s ethics

 

Determining Credibility

 

Before you even think to ask about price, you have to figure out whether or not the roofer is credible. There are a lot of people out there without the best intentions and you don’t want to be the next target for these scammers.  During the first part of your phone screening, you’ll want to do is:

 

Ask the business name

 

It sounds simple but this one question can open your eyes to a lot. Getting the contractor’s legal business name is important because it’s so easy these days to falsely represent yourself on the internet. Doing some investigation can go a long way when you’re trying to choose the right roofing contractor. When asking for the legal name, never accept unclear answers. This is probably the easiest way to get scammed. If you’re feeling doubtful about their answer, just ask for proof. No credible company should have an issue with emailing you the information you need. The only answers you should accept are the exact name they’re marketing themselves as, a legal name that is “doing business as” (DBA) another name, or if they’re marketing under one name and the legal business name is another. Regardless, if you don’t feel comfortable. Ask for proof. The next step in determining credibility is to ask:

 

What level of roofing insurance the contractor has

This question is very important and will quickly let you know if the company is a certified roofer or not. Many states require different levels of insurance depending on what type of contractor you are. Before asking the contractor outright, you’ll want to get back on the internet and do a little searching. To find out the level of insurance needed in your state, search “your state” roofing insurance requirements. Choose a result from your states official website, like something that ends in .gov rather than .com. Only accept answers that match the amount exactly or exceeds the minimum requirements. Also to be sure, ask for the company’s liability policy to be sent to you via email after the phone call. This is the perfect time to obtain valid paperwork and check a roofer’s license.  Once again, just as with the name, never accept indecisive or hesitant answers. If the answer doesn’t match local state and federal requirements, they are not a good roofing contractor for you.

 

Who manages the job site?

The 3rd step in determining credibility is asking who will be on the job site during your project. More than likely the company owner won’t be on your installation site if it’s a busy company. You may be worried, but there’s no reason to fret if the owner won’t be on the job site. Many large roofing companies have project managers whose sole purpose is to make sure your roof is being installed in accordance with all local laws and manufacturer guidelines. During your phone screen ask the name of the company’s owner or manager and also if there is a project manager trained by the organization. Never accept a reply with someone stating their roofers are highly trained and do not require supervision. Although it is necessary to have experienced roofers, it’s also just as important to have an industry expert in overseeing them during the installation process.

If these three questions are asked to establish credibility, it will help you quickly rule out which contractor you shouldn’t choose. Although you may feel more comfortable now that some credibility has been established, you’ll still want to take a few more steps to find out how to hire a good roofing contractor.

 

Make an ethical pick

Everyone’s perception of ethics varies on what they think is right and wrong. One person can think something is ok while another can be completely against it. Whatever your exact ethical views are, you want to make sure that when you choose a roofing contractor, they have your best interests at heart. Here are a few tips to help you understand contractors ethical values.

 

Free estimates only

Select a roofing company that offers a free estimate. Most reputable companies are usually willing to asses your roofs damage at no cost. Also, make sure the estimate is done in person and that a consultant comes out to your home. If a contractor agrees to just drop off the estimate or to just leave it in your mailbox, then you’ll want to move on to the next company. It may seem easy at first to use an estimate that was dropped off to quickly compare prices but this usually ends up backfiring. When a consultant comes out, this gives you a chance to ask questions about the company, products, and installation practices and whether or not they offer a warranty. You want to know your contractor is capable and willing to complete the job. Also, allow the consultant to come in and inspect your attic. If a contractor doesn’t check the ins and outs of your roofing system, they won’t be aware of any preexisting or hidden damage which may cause a new installation to not hold up.

 

Ask a trick question

One quick test to determine whether or not you’re dealing with an ethical roofer is to ask a trick question such as “Will you do a layover instead of a roof replacement?” This is a trick question because of a layover is bad for any roof. A roofing layover is when instead of removing old damaged shingles, new ones are nailed directly to the top of them. Covering up your roof’s existing problems with a layer of shingles won’t protect anything and will actually cause more damage in the long run. This will also cause your roof to be weighted down any may even cause structural damage to your home.

If a roofing contractor answers “yes, we can do a roofing layover.” Then this is a sign they are just trying to take your money and that they have no concern for your roof’s health and the safety of your home. The price may seem nice, and the job may even come out nice. But just because you can’t see the damage anymore, doesn’t mean it’s not there. The only answer you should accept to this question is NO. Any roofer technically could do a roofing layover, but it does not mean that they should. This is a huge red flag of a nonethical roofer so if they answer yes, run the other way.

Now that you are prepped with what to ask your contractors, you’ll be less likely to fall for a scammer that’s out to take your money. Watch out for the following type of contractors, and you will be even more guaranteed not to become the main character of yet another roof replacement horror story.

 

Storm chasers

 

You know those charmers who knock on the door and exclaim how they were just working on a home in your neighborhood? Most likely they weren’t and they are just selling. While reputable companies do sell by canvassing, make sure that you see signs and also that the company has referrals. Many of these companies that are not reputable will try to use forceful tactics like saying you have storm damage and you have to sign an intent letter. Make sure not to sign anything and wait to see the companies contracts and information. Don’t forget to look up the company under the Better Business Bureau(BBB) and make sure they have a good score. If they are not existent on the BBB’s website, it’s best to stay away.

 

Ghosters

You, like every other homeowner, will have hundreds of questions before making a concrete decision and giving a company your hard earned money. Is the contractor you chose answering and returning your calls? Did they ever send the information you requested? Are they following up? If you answered any of these questions with “no”, voice your concern to the company and then move on. Communication is key for any business client relationship. If you feel left in the dark, confused, or ignored, then imagine how you’ll feel once you have committed to them.

 

One Stop Shops

 

Think about your specific needs and ask contractors if they specialize in those services. Roofers who claim to do it all, usually don’t. Roofing contractors that are reputable will be honest about this. Do you need a roof repair? Shingle replacement? Make sure to find a contractor who specializes in specific areas so you can be sure that they will have the experience needed to handle your roofing issue.

Posted on Apr 28,2019 in Roof

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