How to Choose a Roofer
A new roof system is quite an investment. Before deciding to hire a contractor, make sure you have evaluated all your options. Certainly, only a professional roofing contractor should be considered. The goal is to install a roof system that is high-quality yet reasonably priced.
Take note that not all roofers are the same, so take time to pre-quality candidates based on the following guidelines:
Nowadays, it’s so easy to advertise oneself as a professional roofer with an expertly designed website, so you need to check for a brick-and-mortar business address and landline phone number, and also business information such as their tax identfication number and whether or not they even have a license (where applicable). Nowadays, anyone can put up a professional-looking website and claim to be a professional roofing contractor, so don’t let your guards down.
You don’t have to hesitate to ask a candidate contractor whether or not they are insured. If he’s a true professional, he should know this is part of your job as a consumer. Ask to see copies of their liability and workers’ compensation coverage, and make sure they will stay valid beyond the duration of your project. So many building and home owners have been dragged into litigation involving uninsured roofers and/or taken responsibility for accidents that happened inside their properties.
In some states, there are specific licensing requirements, so you obviously have to check. In any case, you’re always safer dealing with a licensed contractor.
A professional roofer will give you their current financial information on request, so if someone is coming up with excuses or just seems hesitant, run.
Don’t settle for any roofer that cannot give you a proven track record via client references. Very importantly, spend time calling these references and have them tell you about their experience with the contractor. See if they would still work with the same person or company for a future need. Don’t take a contractor seriously if they can’t give you a written and detailed proposal, which should come complete with descriptions and specifications, including a project timeline and payment schedule.
A contractor that is a member of industry associations, whether local or national, demonstrates commitment to their business, especially their clients.
Check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if the contractor has any significant customer issues involving the roofer you’re considering.
Go through any roofing warranties offered and look for provisions that would invalidate them.
Lastly, keep a healthy suspicion when reviewing the cheapest offer. If reason tells you the offer’s too good to be true, take your business elsewhere. Roofers who bid below market rates are often inexperienced and incompetent, and have no insurance. Take note that price is but a single factor to be considered when choosing a contractor. Good workmanship, experience and professionalism should weight more heavily in your decision.
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