16 Tips To Help Homeowners Choose The Best Roofing Contractor
After several years of use or a devastating storm, you may see the need to repair your roof. Leaks here and there, a water spot, or a leaking roof highlights the importance of fixing your roof as soon as you can. You need a roofing contractor to either repair the damaged roof or install a new one completely.
The first challenge is choosing the right professional roofing contractor. You don’t want to spend money and still end up with a roof that wasn’t fixed the right way or leaks.
How can you ensure you are selecting the right roofing contractor for your project? This article discusses the key things to look out for in a roofing contractor.
What To Lookout For In A Roofing Contractor
Before you hire a roofing contractor to fix your roof or replace it, consider these factors:
1. Consider the Physical Address
Before you choose a roofing contractor, find out the company’s physical address. While it is true that many contractors have official websites, it is important that you know their physical location. The website may not contain all the pieces of information you need to make your decision.
You may also need to contact the company physically if there are issues. This won’t be possible if you don’t know the address.
2. Does the Company Have Insurance?
Any company working on your property should have insurance. This should include both worker’s compensation and liability insurance. This ensures you are protected in case an accident occurs during the repair.
The worker’s compensation insurance covers the company’s employees. The liability insurance covers the contractor if there is an accident or if your home is damaged. These are necessary to cover exigencies that may arise at any time.
Remember to ask the contractor if the company has insurance up front. If it does, ask for proof. If it doesn’t, don’t take a risk with the company. If you do, you might be setting yourself up for outrageous losses if something goes wrong.
3. Is the Company Licensed?
Licensing is another important factor you should consider. Rather than blindly pick a contractor, go for one that is licensed by the right body. A government-licensed roofing company must meet the basic requirements before getting a license.
There’s a chance you’ll get the best service working with a company that is licensed. This is because they were given the green light to operate. This is unlike unlicensed companies that may be a front for fraud.
4. Does the Company Have References?
A company that knows its stuff will have several satisfied customers. These customers will be willing to provide positive reviews about the company. Such reviews are a proof that they can truly be trusted to deliver a professional job.
You may also be able to get some online reviews if you search properly. While they are great, they are sometimes inaccurate or incomplete. This makes them unreliable. But, references from actual users of the company are mostly reliable. Base your decision on real-life experiences from the contractor’s former or current customers.
If the company gives you a list of its customers, call them and ask basic questions such as:
- Are they satisfied with the company?
- How responsive is their customer support?
- Will the customer consider hiring them in the future?
Make a list of other questions you need answers to and ask them. The answers to the questions will help you further decide if they are a good fit for your roofing project.
What if the company doesn’t have references, should you still go ahead with them? In that case, you need to find out if they are new in business. If they are new in business, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do a bad job. Nonetheless, it is still a huge risk working with them. Why not work with someone with past completed jobs you can verify?
5. Check their Better Business Bureau (BBM) Ratings
A company’s reputation in the industry is another important factor to consider. Prevent yourself from getting swayed by an overhyped company. Do your due diligence by researching the contractor’s BBM ratings to have an idea of what you can expect from them. Visit the BBM website to see the company’s score. If the score is high, you have a credible contractor. Otherwise, you may be dealing with a quack.
6. How Long Has the Company Been in Business?
The company’s years of experience in the business also counts. You most likely won’t feel comfortable visiting a dentist who is fresh out of school. The same applies for a surgeon who has only spent two weeks on the job. But, there is a level of trust and confidence when dealing with a veteran who has a track record of success. This same principle applies to choosing a roofing contractor, too.
It is important that the roofer has some years of experience under their sleeves. A contractor with an impressive track record of high-quality jobs will do a better job. Especially compared to a contractor who is new to the market.
Don’t choose an inexperienced roofing contractor because they are inexpensive. You might end up regretting your decision and spending more money than necessary. A company with a solid reputation and years of experience will offer you value for your money.
7. Check the Portfolio
Take a peek into the contractor’s portfolio. A look at their previous jobs will help you determine whether their skills match what you want. Ask for specific projects they have done in the past, visit a couple places and have a chat with the homeowners. Most of them will be more than happy to share their experience with you, whether positive or negative.
Some third-parties also offer an unbiased review about roofing companies. Check these sites and look at as much information as you can about the shortlisted contractors.
Visit GuildQuality to find reviews about these contractors. The website is a platform where homeowners can leave reviews based on their personal experience using a contractor.
8. Is the Contractor an Authorized Installer?
This is a very important point. Check whether the contractor is authorized by the manufacturer to install its products. If they aren’t, you are taking a big risk if you insist on hiring the roofer. You void warranties on your shingles when you use installers that are not authorized by the manufacturers.
9. Get Multiple Proposals
Don’t limit yourself to just a few contractors. Get proposals from several contractors. Doing this gives you an opportunity to compare their services and estimates. This will make the selection process easier for you.
Ensure you have the right proposals from these companies. To do this, check each proposal for the following:
- The estimated cost of the renovation.
- The scope of the project.
- Estimated duration.
- List of materials to be used.
- Payment terms.
A detailed proposal should contain these and other important things for the project. If a company is not willing to submit a detailed proposal, move on to the next contractor.
10. Consider the Repair/Installation Cost
It is always advisable that you consider price when making your decision. You may get quotes from several companies to give you a general idea of the repair cost. Don’t be too hung on the cost, focus on getting top quality service instead.
Use a manufacturer-authorized contractor. By doing so, you have the peace of mind that a trusted professional is handling your repair. You will also enjoy the warranty that comes with the shingles.
11. Is the Company Certified?
Certified companies are usually more professional than regular ones. They must have met industry standards before they are deemed eligible for certification. Such roofers must also be at the top of their game to maintain their certification.
Contractors affiliated with professional associations are expected to work according to specific regulations. The association makes it mandatory for them to deliver quality roofing services. They must maintain a high standard if they hope to keep their certification.
Hiring a certified company gives you a level of confidence, you can expect them to deliver a decent job.
12. Choose a Local Contractor
Choosing a roofing contractor from your neighborhood has immense benefits. Such a roofer is already familiar with some of the challenges you are facing. They’ll be familiar with the weather and other possible problems in the neighborhood. This knowledge will help the company use the most suitable materials for your area.
More so, a local contractor will attend to you without delay. You don’t have to wait a week or more before your roof is fixed.
If the company is within your area, you may get references from customers who live close by. The company will also want to offer you the best services. This is because they wouldn’t want to ruin their reputation in the community.
13. Watch Out for Storm Chasers
After severe weather, you may be approached by people who claim to be professional roofing contractors. Slow down and be careful as they may be scammers.
They usually offer low prices to make their offers attractive. Many unwary homeowners have fallen victims. They’ve lost their hard-earned money to these mindless thieves.
How can you identify these unscrupulous storm chasers?
Besides showing up after bad weather, the Better Business Bureau offers some practical tips that will help you identify them.
- Does the company have their business name and phone number written on their vehicle?
- They usually don’t have offices.
- They don’t carry insurance.
- No proper roofing license.
- Demand up-front payment.
- Aggressive marketing technique.
- No references.
When you see traces of these features in a roofing company, you are probably dealing with a storm chaser.
14. Do they Provide Emergency Services
In times of emergencies, can you easily reach the company? Will they attend to your needs after business hours? Or do you have to wait until it is convenient for the company to attend to you?
It is important that any roofing company you choose is reachable and ready to help when needed.
15. Does the Contractor Offer Warranty?
A reputable roofing company should offer you a warranty on a renovation. This should start from the materials they intend to use and the actual installation. Ask the company whether they offer installation warranty or not.
If there’s a warranty, how comprehensive is it? Does it cover the entire installation or only part?
If the warrant is not comprehensive enough, you may end up paying more. Especially if the renovation or repair doesn’t serve you well.
16. Effective Communication is a Must
Communication is one of the key factors that should influence your final selection process. Consider how the contractor attends to your inquiries. Take a look at how long it takes its support team to respond to your messages. From this, you can deduce how effective their communication is.
You don’t want a contractor that will keep your messages unopened or unattended to. A roofer that won’t pick up calls or communicate with you when necessary is the last person you want on your job.