If you need a roof estimate, one of the first places some people look is in the phone book. But if you want a GOOD roofer, that's not the best place to find him.
Sure, he probably has a small listing there if he's been in business for longer than a year or so. That's just part of being professional, so prospects and customers can find you. But unlike the companies that depend on big, expensive ads to make the phone ring, he gets most of his business from referrals.
His name is on the hearts and minds of his happy clients and raving fans. His business card is in their wallets and purses or hung on their refrigerator. He has earned their trust and they would not call anyone else.
So where can you find this guy for your roof estimate? Actually, it is not all that difficult. If you do not know him, you probably know someone who does. Heck, they say everyone on earth is connected by just six degrees of separation. Joe Girard (The World's Greatest Car Salesman) figures the average person knows about 250 people. If each of them know 250, that is a pool of 62,500 people right there. Everyone but the homeless have a roof overhead and they were all installed by somebody.
Here are five places to look for a good roofer for your project.
1. Ask your friends, family and coworkers if they can recommend someone for a roof estimate. This is one of your very best sources because these are the people you know and trust. They will probably give you the WHOLE truth about roofing contractors they know. Even if they can not recommend someone, they might tell you who to avoid!
2. Ask your neighbors. Find out who they used and if they would use them again. Some homeown associations even keep a list of reliable contractors.
Pay attention to roofing work going on in your neighborhood. Look for yard signs and company names on the vehicles. What's the condition of their trucks? If they do not care about their own equipment, how much do you think they will care about your roof? What about the roofing crews? Do they go about their work in a quiet professional manner … or does the jobsite resemble a wild roof party, complete with beer and music blasting from a boom box? Do they keep the jobsite clean … or are shingle wrappers and debris blowing all over the neighborhood? If you get the chance, talk to the homeowner after a hard rain. Is he a happy camper?
3. Call the roofing suppliers in your area or drop by for some product literature. Talk to the manager, tell him you need a roof estimate and ask for the names of a few good roofers. The suppliers deal with all the roofing contractors in town on a daily basis. They are plugged into the grape vine and have a pretty good idea who has a good reputation and who does not.
4. Call the building inspector for your municipality and speak to a roofing inspector. Ask about the permission and inspection requirements for your project. While you have him on the phone, tell him you need a roof estimate and ask for a few names of good roofers in your area. It's his job to check roofing work, so he should know better than anyone who does it right and who does not. He probably can not make an official endorsement, but he might give you a few names to check out.
5. Finally, check out your prospective roofers online. The internet has made advertising cheap and easy, but it has also made it more difficult for the bad guys to hide. Google the names of the roofing companies you are considering and see what comes up.
It's also a good idea to check the names of the owners of these companies. A common practice when roofing companies get in trouble is to shut down and then open back up under another name.
See what Angies List ( www.angieslist.com ) and the Better Business Bureau ( www.bbb.org ) have on them. Check their status with the local and state licensing boards.
By now you should have several companies to choose from for your roof estimate. Select the three with the strongest reputation and give them a call. Be sure to tell them where you got their name. Us roofers who depend on "word of mouth" advertising know how important referrals are and we will try especially hard not to disappoint you!