Questions to Ask Any Roofing Contractor
If you’re starting you’re first roofing project, you should have a number of questions for your prospective contractor. A new roof is a huge investment, and as the homeowner, you’ll want to ensure you’re only getting the best product and workmanship for your money.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find a great contractor. Almost anyone with a truck and the right equipment can claim to be a roofer, but rarely can they offer more than a long lasting roof and a taillight warranty.
On the flip side, signing a contract with a roofer before knowing all the fine details can lead you to a number of costly problems down the road.
The best secret is to ask the right questions and interview your contractor. We will show you the right questions to eliminate potential issues.
As with sports and applying it to contracting, “Choose your team first, then choose your equipment.” Almost anyone with a truck and tools can claim to be a roofer, but that doesn’t mean that they will do a good job. A trustworthy and reliable roofer may take longer to find, but hiring a team that prides itself on quality work will always pay off in the long run.
- Before getting into the fine details of your roofing project, the first step is to get to know your contractor and to start interviewing your contractor.
What is your full company name, phone number, physical address and website?
As with any project, buyers need to take every precaution to ensure they’ll be able to hold the contractor accountable for the finished product. Knowing the contractor’s basic information is an essential part of securing your home against poor craftsmanship and even fraud.
Consider these possibilities:
- Installed incorrectly – What leg do i have to stand on?
- Roof is unfinished – What do i do, I already paid?
- Roof leaks or is damaged before the warranty expires
If something goes wrong, you need to know the company will be available to fix it. Even if the project goes perfect, having all legitimate contact information will allow you to contact with the company. Good contractors will make themselves easily available to ease your mind and respond to all of your questions, comments, concerns and even service calls.
It’s also vital to get the contractor’s address. Any reputable roofing business will be more than happy to have you come in to meet with a representative and see examples of past work. Beyond being a good sign that the company is legitimate, a physical address will also give you the option of showing up and speaking with someone in person if no one is answering the phone. (This is also part of the reason why it’s always better to find a local contractor.)
If the roofer uses a P.O. as their mailing address, make sure you get the address of the company itself. And if the roofer won’t provide you with a physical address or if their physical address is listed as their personal home, or doesn’t have one, it’s time to look elsewhere immediately.
- How long has your roofing company been in business?
After getting all the necessary contact information, find out more about the business itself and its history. Find out how many years the company has been in business and ask the representative to tell you about some of the projects they’ve completed in the past.
Longevity is a good sign but just because it may be a newer company doesn’t mean it will have substandard service by any means, but a company that has been in business for twenty years or more wouldn’t have been able to survive that long without providing work and creating lasting relationships with its customers, but even a long lived company still needs investigated and a solid track record.
- Can you provide past project references?
While hearing about the company’s history in their own words is an important part of familiarizing yourself with your contractor, it’s equally important to see things from a client’s perspective. A trustworthy contractor should have no problem providing you with references of past customers; after all, if they did a great job, why not get some free endorsement?
Ask your contractor for local job sites you can visit to see examples of their previous work in person. If possible, follow up with the homeowners directly and ask them about their experience working with the roofer.
Any business will naturally want to portray itself in the best light and will likely recommend only their best and most-satisfied customers. While this certainly does not invalidate their input, hearing only from the happiest clients may not give you the full picture. Consider asking for some of their most recent clients as well in order to get a better idea of what you can expect from the company if you were to hire them today.
Likewise, you might also try asking for references from a few older clients that the roofers served three or more years ago. In addition to giving you a better overall perspective, these clients will help you gauge how well the contractor creates roofs that are built to last.
LICENSING, INSURANCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
Getting to know your contractor is part of the battle, but it does not stop there. Before signing any documents, you’ll also want to find out the companies qualifications, including how the company is insured and what licenses the contractor holds. This is very important in verifying that you have found a legitimate contractor.
A contractor may answer yes to all of these questions, but can they provide the documents in person? Protect yourself from an unqualified and unlicensed contractor.
- Does your company have valid and current contractor license?
Many cities and counties will require a contractor to get a license in order to work in the area, so be sure to ask your prospective contractor if he or she qualifies. Contractor licenses help safeguard homes by ensuring that only tested and certified roofers are allowed to operate on them. If you’re unsure of what regulations are in place where you live, or to confirm that the contractor’s license is up to date and legitimate, check with your local licensing office.
- Are you certified by the manufacture to install the materials?
This is one of the most important questions to ask and one of the biggest question that most contractors cannot produce on the spot. To receive most manufacture warranties, you must be a certified installer with the manufacture.
- Does your company have workers compensation?
Yes you should ask this question. No matter the years of service, accidents do happen! A contractor without workers comp leaves you the homeowner liable for medical bills and expenses and some homeowners policies will not cover those leaving you to pay for these damages out of pocket.
If your prospective contractor does NOT have workers comp, keep searching.
- Does your company carry general liability insurance?
General liability insurance should also be addressed. While worker’s compensation will cover your contractor’s employees in the case of an accident, general liability insurance will help cover damage to your home.
Ask to see your contractor’s insurance certificate. If you’re still not convinced, don’t be afraid to ask for a copy of the contractor’s policy, call their insurance company directly, and ask to see the credentials. Remember, you can’t be too careful.
Estimates and Scope of Work
You may feel like you have found a great prospective contractor, but here is the last few things to watch out for to make sure you are getting what you pay for. Just because a contractor appears to be legitimate doesn’t mean they will give you the best roof with the proper components.
- How does the estimate appear?
If the contractor provides you with a paper hand written estimate and is not broken down with specific line items and brands, you may be getting grade b, left over materials that may not qualify for the manufacture roofing warranty. This is important and this will stand out on the cheapest estimate you receive. Remember if someone can do it cheaper by thousands of dollars, How? Where are the shortcuts being taken?
- What is the scope of work?
The scope of work is important, this will tell you if they are removing the old roofing components in their entirety, how they are disposing of the debris, if they are installing new drip edge, if they are installing ice and water shield as required by code, the type of felt they are using, if all old flashings are being replaced, if new ventilation is being installed, and if specific hip and ridge shingles are being used. The scope of work will inform you the nature of the work in full detail to make sure you are not getting taken for your money .
THE RIGHT QUESTIONS WILL PAY OFF IN THE LONG RUN
Finding the right contractor may not be easy, but asking the right questions with the right research will save you in the long run. Thoroughbred Construction Group wants to be your local contractor providing you will the right answers with Honesty, Integrity and Dependability.