When disaster strikes in the form of a storm-damaged roof, or a small problem is about to become a big one, and even when it’s just the right time for an upgrade, every homeowner who needs to install or repair a roof faces the same problem first: how to choose the right roofing contractor. You need the job done quickly an efficiently, but done well. Here is some advice to help you choose a contractor who is knowledgeable, experienced, trustworthy, and professional.
1. Get local referrals. A local contractor will be familiar with your community’s rules and code regulations, and have a relationship with your local crews and suppliers. This can increase the chance that the job will be finished in a timely fashion with no unexpected delays or unforeseen problems. Ask friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers whom they have used in the past and whether they were satisfied with the process. Use review sites and social media for an even wider reflection of customer satisfaction once you have a few in mind.
2. Get multiple (at least 3) estimates. Before allowing anyone to come to your home, be sure to ask if there is any charge for an estimate. Treat this step the same as you would when getting an auto repair estimate. Be wary of a bid that is not in a similar range to other estimates. A bid that is too low might reflect poor quality workmanship or inferior materials, or might simply mean the contractor has access to good quality materials at a lower price. Don’t be afraid to ask if the price seems too good to be true.
3. Verify that the contractor has the roper licensing and insurance. The contractor’s insurance should cover all employees and subcontractors, and they should be able to provide a copy of their insurance certificate for validation. Most states require licensing for contractors. If this is the case in your state, make sure your contractor provides you with a copy of their license and confirm their status online.
4. Ask for a list of references, such as past clients, so you can call them and confirm that they were satisfied with their experience. You can also contact your state’s Department of Professional Regulation or a local Better Business Bureau (BBB).
5. Spend some time talking with the contractor to be sure the fit “feels” right. Use this time to ask questions about their experience, the length of time they have been in business, and any questions pertaining to your job in particular you may have. Good communication and understanding is essential to ensuring the process goes smoothly.
6. Don’t allow anyone to pressure you into a contract. If it doesn’t feel right, seek another contractor for comparison before making a final decision.
7. Ask for a written estimate and contract. Be sure it contains information regarding the length of the project, daily start and end times, materials to be used, safety procedures, the total bill and payment schedule, and clean-up methods. Be sure to read the warranty and ask any questions you may have, including any actions or exceptions that may void the warranty. Be sure the contract is clear, covers all relevant information, and signed by both parties before allowing work to begin.