Moving forward with a roofing project is no small investment, nor is hiring a roofing contractor to do the job. A high-quality installation depends upon working with a professional and reputable contractor. Before you sign a contract, take some time to vet your choice using the following questions.
☐ Are you a local business?
You’ll want to work with a business that has a physical presence in your area. They should have a local address and phone number, which means they’ll be easy to contact if you have any questions or concerns. This will also help you avoid any “fly-by-night” operations that are here one day, gone the next, and hard to track down if you experience problems.
☐ Will you share references for your last three clients?
Knowing what projects the company has completed in your area will help you understand the quality of their work and give you a chance to gather feedback from other clients. It’s important to get references from recent clients, as it will more accurately reflect what you can expect with your upcoming project. You might also ask for references for work that was completed a year or two ago. Browsing the company’s online reviews will also give you a good perspective.
☐ How long have you been in business?
Everyone has to start somewhere, but when it comes to your home’s exterior, you definitely don’t want to be a guinea pig. Word spreads quickly in this industry when it comes to low-quality work, and contractors who aren’t up to snuff won’t last long. Years of roofing experience means the company knows how to handle any possible situation, and can do the job well. A positive rating with the Better Business Bureau, and other professional affiliations or manufacturer certifications, can also speak to the company’s credibility.
☐ Can you provide proof of insurance?
The company should have workers’ compensation and liability insurance, which means you will be protected from any responsibility in the event of an accident or damage caused by the roofers. If the company uses subcontractors, they should also be insured.
☐ How will payment be handled?
A deposit protects you the homeowner, as well as the roofing company. You should not make a final payment until the job is completed according to the contract. (As an example of what to expect, at West Michigan Roofing, we ask for a 50% down payment, and for the project to be paid in full upon completion. This is a standard payment structure across the industry.)
☐ Can you explain the types of warranties you offer?
Many manufacturers will offer warranties on their products, and the roofing company might also have warranties for their work. Make sure you understand what you will be entitled to by signing the contract, and also ask for a copy of any warranties.
☐ Will you provide a written estimate?
Be sure to get a detailed estimate before signing a contract. The estimate should include the cost of removing the existing roof, adding the new roof, and any other work or expense that could come up in the process, such as needing to replace rotten plywood decking. The estimate should include a detailed outline of the scope of the project, a breakdown of labor and materials used, approximate start and completion dates, and how payment will be handled.
☐ Will someone be on-site as a supervisor and point of contact?
Make sure someone will be supervising on the job site to ensure safety and that the work is progressing as planned. Ask who you will be able to discuss your project with once it has begun.
☐ What can I expect from the process?
The roofer should be able to explain what you can expect during your project, and be willing to answer any other questions you might have before, during, and after the job is done. Some details you might want to know include:
- Do I need to get a permit?
- How will you protect my yard?
- Will you clean up after each work day?
- Will you dispose of the waste upon completion?
- Get estimates from multiple roofers to help you make an informed decision.
- Only accept an official estimate after the contractor has visited your property and discussed the project in detail with you.
- Don’t choose your contractor based on price alone. Many factors go into the cost of a roofing project, and if you receive an estimate that’s significantly lower than others for the same amount of work, it may be too good to be true. With an investment of this scope, you really will get what you pay for.
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