Finding a good honest contractor doesn’t have to be an impossible or time-consuming quest. There are a myriad of quality contractors out there looking to help you with a number of your home projects. Your home’s roof is essential and is what protects you and your family from the elements, so finding a reliable and honest roofer is essential.
It’s crucial to make sure that you are hiring a certified professional. Getting a new roof is a major investment, typically running into the thousands so it’s worth doing a little homework beforehand. And in an easy-entry industry like roofing that requires little more than a pickup, a ladder and some basic tools, getting scammed is always a concern. Unless water is pouring in overhead, take the time to ensure that you’re hiring a true professional. A number of factors need to be taken into consideration when searching for your idea roofer. Below are 6 tips toward finding a good, honest roofer.
1. Research contractors and get recommendations- There are a number of online sites like www.goodhonestcontractor.com that are devoted to finding the right contractor for you. You can also get recommendations from a neighbor, friend or somebody at your local lumberyard or home builders association. It’s a good idea to line up several prospects.
2. Conduct a thorough prospect check-
Availability- If they’re booked for the next year don’t even waste your time.
History- Make sure that your prospective roofer has been in business for at least five years- roofers who do shoddy work usually don’t last that long.
Inspection- Do a drive-by inspection of a few recent jobs. A couple of important details to check are the spaces between individual shingle tabs line up straight as they alternate shingle rows. Make sure that the shingles are trimmed in a clean line. On roof ends, shingles should also be neatly trimmed so they align with the roof edge. Ragged lines mean inferior work. You may also want to look for neat, tar-free flashing at roof valleys and eaves.
Gather References- A professional will easily give you a list of references and volunteer this information from the beginning of the process. If certification is a requirement in your area, make sure to see their credentials. What is their tax ID number? Ask for a list of vendors and credit references. If they are unwillingly to supply any of this information it may be a red flag.
Call References- Call references directly and ask them the following questions:
- Would you use this roofer again?
- Did the roof leak? If so, did the roofer respond promptly, was he courteous and did he charge you for any additional work?
- Did the job come in on budget? If not, by how much did he exceed budget? Were the extra charges justified?
- Did the roofer damage any bushes or flowers, and did he leave nails in the driveway? Flat tires are a common complaint during and after a roofing project. Good roofers pick up any dropped nails with large rolling magnets throughout the job.
- Was a designated foreman available to address your concerns during both the tear-off and the installation of the new roof? (These jobs are sometimes done by different crews.) You want a point person for questions and concerns you have throughout the job.
Check with the BBB- Search the Better Business Bureau website at "http://www.bbb.org" to locate your local bureau. Enter the company’s name on the website to see if they are BBB accredited and if they have any complaints against them.
3. Verify that the roofer has necessary insurance- If you like what you see up to this point it’s time to ensure that the roofer carries workers’ compensation coverage and at least $1 million of liability insurance. Get the roofer’s agent’s name and proof-of-insurance certificates.
4. Get an estimate and determine payment schedule- Make sure that you get an estimate, which should be free. Break up the total due into two payments: one-third up front for materials, and the remainder when roofing and clean up are done to your satisfaction. It’s important to not pay the full amount up-front.
5. Warranty- You may also want to insist on a warranty that covers leaks, flashing failure and other labor-related defects. A one-year warranty is the minimum, but two or three year warranties are best. Make sure to get all warranty and proof of purchase paperwork in order to pursue any problems down the road.
6. Get it all in writing- When creating the contract make sure that all stipulations are included such as warranty information and what type of shingles/materials being used. Get all details written down and don’t sign a contract until you fully understand what you are getting into.
7. Communication and control- It’s imperative to find a roofer that you can effectively communicate with. If you’re able to bounce ideas off of your roofer and feel like you get constructive feedback in return then you are more likely to ultimately get the roof of your dreams. Your home is your biggest asset, so you should maintain ultimate control over any home improvement projects that you or a contractor tackles.