Why does it feel impossible to find a reliable roofing company that will follow through with the job?
Wherever you turn, it feels like someone has a story about how they had a terrible encounter with a particular roofer.
Now, before you become cynical, let me assure you there are a ton of good roofing contractors out there.
Here are a few tips to help you find them.
Choose A Local Contractor
The ideal situation is to get a company which not only operates locally but one that has established their business and reputation in the community.
By hiring a local company, you are likely to get referrals and testimonials from close friends and neighbors who’ve previously worked with that particular contractor.
So, let’s say you live in Austin, Texas, which is an amazing city to live in, by the way, then you can easily find an Austin roofing company that can handle the work for you.
Additionally, with a local company, you can better ascertain the reputation and longevity of the company.
It is less likely that an established local company will disappear after installing or repairing your roof.
All too often, I have seen homeowners complain that their roofer moved or vanished after they tried contacting the company within the warranty period.
So, make sure the company you are dealing with has a physical address and a lengthy history in the community.
It would also help to check their rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Establish Their Credibility
A credible roofing contractor will engage in ethical business practices. Such practices include being licensed and having insurance coverage.
Being licensed in the state proves that the roofer is experienced and knowledgeable in the roofing business.
At the same time, if your roofer is licensed, then this means that you have legal grounds to sue, should they fail to hold up their end of the contact.
Adequate insurance coverage is another thing to look out for.
The roofer’s insurance should include personal liability, property damage coverage, and workers’ compensation coverage.
When it comes to insurance, don’t just take the roofer’s word for it. Ask to see certificates and even call the insurance company for confirmation.
Besides being licensed and having adequate insurance, you might also want to look into whether the roofing contractor is a member of local organizations, say, the Chamber of Commerce, for instance.
Interview At Least Three Roofing Companies
The last thing you’d want to do while looking for a roofer is to make a rushed decision.
You might want to repair your roof as soon as possible, and that’s understandable, especially after an event that caused severe damage, but avoid being hasty.
Perform phone interviews, meet face to face for estimates, and get bids from several roofing companies.
The right contractor should be able to put you at ease by satisfactorily answering all your questions.
Compare the bids based on expenses such as labor, cost of materials, profit margins, etc.
Generally, expect materials to cover about 40% of the total costs, while the typical profit margin is about 15%-20%.
While reviewing bids, be on the lookout for low prices that are just too good to be true. Such a contractor may be cutting corners, maybe desperate for work, or might have inadequate insurance.
Draw Up A Contract
To avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings, make sure every detail of the job is put down in writing.
What’s the scope of the job?
When are the start date and projected completion date?
What size crew will the contractor have?
What’s the payment schedule?
Which are the specific products and materials to be used?
Will the roofer clean up once they are finished? How?
Is there a requirement that the contractor obtains lien releases from the suppliers and subcontractors?
Having a clear contract has nothing to do with mistrust. Instead, it is a guide ensuring everyone knows what’s required of them so that the project can go on smoothly and successfully.
Set Up A Payment Schedule
Some roofers may want a percentage of the payment upfront. Others may request that you make the full payment within 10-30 days after completion of the project.
Often, you will find that a payment schedule speaks of the contractor’s financial status and work ethic, so it is always better to set up a payment schedule ahead before the work begins.
A roofer that wants a huge chunk of the payment upfront may have financial problems, or they may be afraid that you won’t pay up the rest, once you’ve seen the completed job.
This Old House suggests an ideal payment schedule when working on a large project.
This involves 10% paid at contract signing, three payments of 25% spread evenly throughout the project, and the final 15% is paid off when every item on the punch list has been completed.