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Choosing A Reputable Roofer

Roofing is a process you may not be familiar with until it becomes time to replace the roof on your own home. And even then, there is a lot to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual roofing needs. Therefore, it is vital to know that you can rely on the roofing contractor you choose to give 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. That is why we, at Preferred Exterior corp., have developed this guide to selecting a roofing contractor. The Questions contained in this brochure, are designed to help you determine the reliability, reputation and experience of a contractor, as well as his dedication to providing you with the best roof possible.

A top-notch, professional roofing contractor will be only too happy to supply you with the answers to these questions. And, just as it makes good business sense to get several bids on your roofing job, it also makes good sense to ask several different contractors these questions.

We have also outlined some important points to look for as you evaluate the terms of your proposed job contract.

Being confident that you have selected the right roofing contractor will help assure that you have a quality roof overhead and that your hard-earned money has been wisely spent. Just think-confidence, security, quality, and assurance can be just a few questions away.

Evaluating the Roofing Contractor

Allow your self an hour, more or less, to sit down with each contractor. You might be speaking with a salesperson or even the owner. Both of you need time to ask questions and explore the possibilities. You will be surprised at how many options you have.

Good contractors take pride in their work, and so should the sales person representing the company.

Seven Questions to Ask Your Roofer

It is certain that you will want a contractor who employs capable mechanics to install shingles. It is also clear that you will need to look closely at the proposal offered, the products selected and the price/value relationship of the entire package.

But what criteria can you use to decide if the contractor is a true professional who will stand behind his work? While there is not a single, clear-cut answer, there are a number of indicators that you can look for when going through the evaluation process.


  1. What is the full name and address of the company?
    Getting the complete address of the company can be an important fact in determining a company's time in business. If a P.O. Box is given, ask for a full street address as well.
     
    Try to hire a contractor that has an office nearby. The likelihood of quicker service is greater if the company is based near your home.
     
  2. Does the company carry insurance?
    A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance to protect you in the event of a roofing accident. This can be verified by asking to see his certificate of insurance - if he can't show it, he isn't insured.
     
    Contractors may also carry additional kinds of insurance including workman's compensation.
     
    NOTE: Roofers who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper to hire as they do not have the large insurance premium to incur. There are a variety of reason why full insurance may not be carried by a contractor, such as:
     
    • Not a full-time contractor
    • New in the business
    • Can't afford insurance fees
    • Can't get insurance
    • 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.
     
  3. Is the company a licensed 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 has had to pass a written examination in his specialty. A number of cities also require professional licensing. Check with your local licensing authority for details.
     
    A contractor may also answer this question by telling you he has a business license.
     
    However, a business license is a tax requirement only and is not relevant with regards to reputability.
     
  4. How long has the company been in business?
    Needless to say, longer is better than shorter. Under three years can mean an unstable business.
     
    On the other hand, everybody has to start sometime. References will be helpful to double check any business and are specially important when dealing with a new business. A younger business may have a great future, but it is only reasonable to be more careful about the referrals. The failure rate of small business the first three years is very high.
     
  5. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?
    • Ask for several job site locations in your are that you might visit.
    • Ask for photos of completed work, if available. Keep in mind, however, that many roofers will not have photos.
    • Request a list of names and phone numbers of recent customers. However, realize that the roofer can legitimately refuse to give a long list - many customers may not want their names released.
       
  6. What is the company's performance guarantee?
    • Typically, contractor guarantees are for one year or more. The length of the guarantee less important than the intent and ability of the roofer to stand behind his guarantee.
    • The roofer will guarantee his workmanship. The manufacturer guarantees the roofing material against defects in manufacturing.
    However, most problems of either workmanship or material show up very quickly. Thus, the near-term warranty given by the contractor or manufacturer is more important than the long-term warranty.
     
    Even if problems of workmanship arise beyond the terms of the guarantee, a reliable contractor will stand behind his work.
     
  7. What is your track record for solving customers complaints?
    • Try to find out how you contractor handles problems when they do arise. Request a referral from a job that involved a complaint.
    • Ask if the has ever lost a job-related court case.
    • Ask if his contractor's license has ever been suspended and why.
       
    Also, in talking to the appropriate authorities, such as the Better Business bureau and licensing departments, find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractors whom you have interviewed.