How to find the right roofing contractor?

How to find the right roofing contractor

Re-roofing is a process you may not be familiar with – but most people will encounter this at least once in their lifetime. There is a lot to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual roofing needs. It is vital to know that you can rely on a reputable roofing contractor to give you good advice about those products and procedures that may be new to you. The key is to find the right roofing contractor for your job.

Working with a roofing contractor that you trust is extremely important. We suggest that you ask these 7 simple questions to help you determine if they are the right roofing contractor for the job:

Seven Questions to Ask Your Roofer

  1. What is the full name and address of the company? Getting the complete address of the company can be an important factor in determining a company’s time in business. If a post office box is given, ask for a full street address as well. Try to hire a contractor that has an office nearby. The likelihood of better service and quicker response time is greater if the company is based near your home.
  2. Does the company carry insurance? A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance* to protect you in the event of a roofing accident. This can be verified by asking to see the contractor’s certificates of insurance (workers’ compensation and general liability). Let the contractor know you want current certificates sent to you by the insurer before the job is started. Contractors may also carry other kinds of insurance including health, life and auto insurance. Bland assurances of insurance coverage may refer to these.  Ask for proof of general liability and workers’ compensation coverage for roofing projects. Roofers who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper to hire as they do not have the large insurance premiums to pay. Workers’ compensation premiums can increase wage costs from about 20% to as much as 100%, depending on the state. There are a variety of reasons why full insurance may not be carried by a contractor, such as:
  • Not a full-time contractor.
  • Operates as a partnership or self-employed without employees.
  • New in the business.
  • Can’t afford insurance premiums.
  • Doesn’t stand behind work.

It is up to you to determine if it is worth the risk to hire a contractor who does not carry insurance.

  1. Is the company a licensed or credentialed contractor? When you pose this question, you are, in effect, asking if the contractor is licensed by your state and/or city. Not all states require contractors to be licensed. If your state does license contractors, then he might have had to pass a written examination in his specialty, although few licenses make this a requirement. A number of cities also require professional licensing. Check with your local licensing authority for details.  Homeowners can view a contractor’s credentials as another indicator of their degree of knowledge, professionalism, and dedication to the roofing trade.
  2. How long has the company been in business? Needless to say, longer is usually better. Under three years may signal an unstable business or one low on the learning curve.  References will be helpful to double check any business, and are especially important when dealing with a new business. A newer business may have a great future but it is only reasonable to be more careful when considering its referrals. The failure rate of small businesses in the first three years is very high.
  3. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs? Request a list of 10 names and phone numbers of recent customers (last 12 months). It is not necessary to check all 10, but you will be able to pick randomly from the list those you do call.
  4. What is the company’s workmanship warranty? Typically, contractor workmanship warranties are for one year or more. Longer warranties are not necessarily more valuable than shorter warranties. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the roofer to stand behind his warranty. 
  5. Check Google Reviews! Google reviews, as well as reviews on the company’s website are a great way to validate workmanship. Make sure to check the quantity and quality of reviews. Pay attention to the reviews and also how the company responds to such reviews. This will give you a good feel for other’s experiences with the company.

We hope this information will help you in selecting a professional roofer. If you have any questions or comments about this brochure, we would be happy to hear from you!