There are about as many roofing contractors to choose from as there are doctors, and I suggest you take the same care in choosing your roofing contractor as you would your doctor. While it's clear that you are going to want a roofing contractor that employees capable installers, and it's clear you will need to evaluate each proposal you receive and decide on the best price / value relationship for you. How then can you decide which roofing contractors are really the professional roofing contractors you should do business with.
Interview them. Whether you are talking to a salesperson or the owner themselves they should show pride and enthusiasm in discussing other jobs. If they do not it may indicate its amount of involvement in the actual work.
When meeting with each roofing contractor use the following seven questions to guide you through their interview.
1. What is the full name and address of the company?
Having a company that is nearby increases the likelihood of better and fast service. If you are provided a PO Box ask for a street address also.
2. Does the company carry insurance?
Workers compensation and liability insurance to be specific. If a worker is hurt and the roofing contractor does not have insurance the home owner is liable. Ask to have current certificates sent to you. Do not accept the roofing contractor at their word. They may carry health, life, and auto insurance. Bland assurances of insurance coverage may refer to these. 3. Is the company a licensed or credentialed roofing contractor?
Many state and local governments require roofing contractors to be licensed or credentialed. Contact your city and county clerk's office and find out if there are any requirements for roofing contractors in your area. Even if there is not still ask your contractor. The truly professional roofing contractors will most likely have proof of license or credential from other entities. Like a manufactures' installation training certificate. 4. How long has the company been in business?
Longer is usually better. More than three years, but everyone had to start somewhere. A new business should not be disqualified from your decision making process, but if everything else is equal. Longer is usually better. 5. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?
Ask for a list of ten names and phone numbers of recent customers, within the last twelve months. It is not necessary to call all ten, but choose two or three randomly and call. Ask the referrals at minimum four questions. First, did he perform his work on a timely basis? Second, was he responsive when asked for information and changes? Third, did he act as if he cared about the customers interests? Finally, would you call the roofing contractor trustworthy? 6. What is the company's workmanship warranty?
Some warranties are for one year, some are longer. The length of a roofing contractors warranty is not really as important as customer referrals. Most workmanship errors will be found within the first year, probably the first good storm. The reason this question is important and most roofing contractors will warranty the workmanship, and the manufacture will warranty the product as long as it is installed correctly. Make sure you understand both warranties and ask for a copy of each. 7. What is the company's track record for resolving customer complaints?
Try to find out how your roofing contractor handles problems when they do arise. Request a referral from a job that involved a complaint. Ask the contractor if he 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. Many contractors in business for any length of time have been involved in a dispute. Ask how the dispute was resolved, to test your roofing contractor's reputation.