When trying to a find a roofer, how can you tell if a company is reputable and viable? You avoid these 6 common mistakes.
Roofing companies are numerous, and they’re all trying to earn your business.
When it’s time to add a new roof to your home or business, or have repairs performed, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the choices and the contractors who want to bid on your project.
Common Mistakes Made When Trying to Find a Roofer
When looking to find a roofer, it can be difficult to tell who is a legitimate roofing company, and who is not.
If you’re dealing with a critical situation, you may also have the pressure of a repair that needs to be completed ASAP – and fly-by-night roofing companies who will take advantage of your situation.
Be aware of these red flags when trying to find a roofer, and don’t make any of the 6 most common mistakes.
1. Not Checking References
Roofing repairs are serious business.
You’ll want to hire a contractor that has both years of experience, along with the ability and confidence to share details of previous work. You also want to look for references from their happy customers.
Don’t just ask for them – follow up on them. When you find a roofer that is reliable, they will have a portfolio of completed work that they’ll be proud to share with you.
Online references can also tell a story. Once you’ve narrowed down the field of possible roofing contractors, hop online and search for them.
2. Believing in that “Special Deal”
It’s been drilled into our heads that; “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” When faced with a big roofing project and invoice amount, it’s tempting to go along with the nice young roofer who showed up at your home.
- It can seem perfectly logical that they’re already working in the area, and can offer you a discount on the materials.
- It sure seems like it’s a shame to waste all those shingles that were left over from their last project.
What a great deal!
Unfortunately, these savings don’t last – the unscrupulous company will claim that there have been additional damages that they didn’t see at first – or that materials have gone up unexpectedly.
It’s hard to argue with a roofer who has already started on the project.
Don’t be caught on an “elevator ride”. The customer isn’t responsible for material price increases. Reputable roofers would be advised in increases by their suppliers weeks before they occurred.
Your contract should have a section that addresses repairs and assessment, as well as one that spells out the labor costs with materials.
3. Not Getting a Written Estimate
Even when everything else seems legitimate, make sure that you get a written estimate from the company.
It should cover:
- Estimated start and finish dates
- Payment procedures
- Answer any questions you have
Warranties should be covered in advance – this is an important part of the bid. You want a warranty, and the specifics should be provided to you as part of the package.
4. Not Asking Enough Questions
It’s your roof. It’s a major expense. You are entitled to as many answers as you like.
When you find a roofer you are interested in, it’s essential to be prepared for your meetings with them.
Get your checklist ready beforehand. Be prepared to ask about the following, if the roofer doesn’t already volunteer the information:
- Do you provide a written workmanship warranty? They should. This will cover any problems that stem from improper installation – this is separate from the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Do you have a local office? Having a brick and mortar office location is the sign of a business with an actual presence in the area – not a contractor who is based out of their truck, and may never be seen again after the work is done.
- Are you licensed? Look for licensed contractors in your state. Don’t be shy about checking the license number out online to make sure that it’s current and valid.
- Do you have insurance? Make sure that the company carries valid insurance with Code 5551 coverage: this is workers compensation insurance specifically for workers who are performing roofing installations.
Ask about these important issues now – don’t just depend on the contractor to supply the information later.
5. Paying Up Front
Any contractor who asks for payment up front to purchase materials is bad news. A major red flag is a company that asks for you to sign over an insurance settlement check so that they can “buy materials”.
Imagine this worst-case scenario:
- You will find a roofer who needs a check up front
- You’ll sign over the insurance check
- That is the last time you will see them
Unfortunately, there are those who know that an insurance payout for a roof repair or replacement is likely to be substantial. They head to areas with storm damage, and are gone before the homeowner notices that they haven’t performed the repairs.
6. Not Reading the Estimate Carefully
When you get multiple estimates – and you are planning on getting multiple estimates, aren’t you? – you’ll see that the style of the paperwork will vary a lot from company to company.
No matter how it is presented, you’ll want to make sure that the following items are covered:
- Project scope – start and finish dates
- Both labor and materials costs.
- Cleanup and removal costs – a roof repair can generate a great deal of debris.
- A break-down on the type of roofing materials – whether they be tiles, shingles, or other materials, as well as the underlay and flashing details.
- Proof of the company’s roofing or contractor’s license, plus Workman’s Compensation and liability insurance.
Even if you’ve already covered these questions when trying to find a roofer, make sure that the information you’ve already been given is mirrored in the estimate.
The good news in all this is that you will be able to identify quality contractors by their willingness to provide all or much of this information without your asking.
- Are proud of their previous work
- Have references
- Have addresses of jobs that can be seen
- Are happy to share that they have the proper licenses and insurance
They’ll be able to provide detailed estimates, and have the relationships with their suppliers that allow them to give accurate material costs. Be prepared, don’t make the common mistakes, and the best roofers will become readily apparent.