Hiring the right roofing contractors can be a challenging task. Your roof is a large investment, so if you’ve never worked with a roofer before, it’s normal to be inquisitive about the hiring process. Here are some tips that will hopefully help in the process.
When contacting a roofing company, the first step is to ask if they have worker’s compensation and liability insurance. This may save you from being financially responsible if there is some sort of accident during the job. If possible, ask to see the policy and actually call the carrier to ensure that everything is in order.
Try to Find a Local, Established Contractor
It’s important to hire a local contractor that has been in business for at least several years. Get their business cards and the location of their headquarters to validate that they are actually an established business. An established, local contractor should come with plenty of recommendations in the area, so ask for and check references. You might even take a look at a recent job and a roof that has been completed for a few years to see how their work holds up. You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau to get a reliability report on the companies you are considering.
Warranties can also be affected down the road a few years if the roofing contractors end up going out of business. Your warranty is no longer valid if the company no longer exists.
Price Is Not Paramount
While pricing should definitely be a concern, it should not be the primary concern. Many of the companies that offer the lowest bids are able to do so because they have very low overhead. These roofing contractors usually take on roofing projects on the side or they work out of their own pickup truck. A lower upfront installation price may turn out to be the poorer investment if you end up spending more money on repairs further down the line.
Be Cautious of “Storm Chasers”
“Storm chasers” refers to roofing contractors that go door to door after a storm to try to solicit business for roof repair or replacement. Some of these storm chasers are legitimate but this is also an easy and common way to get scammed. If you do encounter a storm chaser, make sure they are from your tri-state region or within at least 4-5 hours of your home. Storm chasers should also provide you with references and referrals if they are on the up and up.
Scammers use aggressive selling techniques to get contracts. They will usually knock on your door, tell you that you have storm damage on your roof, and then use high-pressure sales techniques to convince you to sign a letter of intent. They have shoddy workmanship that usually needs replacing in a few years. The best way to avoid being conned by a storm chaser is to focus on finding established companies with references and reviews. In fact, reputable companies will never ask you to sign a letter of intent. The only document you will have to sign will be the contract once you’ve negotiated its terms.
Get Everything In Writing
Gather bids from three roofing contractors and compare them. Make sure each bid is for the same work and materials to make your comparison easier. Never sign anything until you are ready to hire and only pay by check or credit card.
It is very important to get all of the details of the project in writing. Every detail, such as payment, due date, materials used, and extra features should be written down.
You should never pay for the job up front but some companies may request a deposit. If you do pay a deposit, it should never be more than one-half of the total contract price.
Pay Attention to the Contractor’s Communication Style
Communication is very important. Take notice whether the roofing contractors return your calls and follow through with what they tell you. If they don’t, there might be some problems later on. Make sure that the company you choose sends all the documentation you request and that they maintain a decent line of communication with you.
With the exception of an emergency, make sure you take your time and do your homework before hiring any roofing contractors. A little due diligence in the beginning may save you a lot of money and headache in the long run.