There is a lot of misinformation out there on what you should consider when looking for a roofing contractor and when you need one. In the past, checking out a contractor and being sure you know who you were hiring was a gamble. Tracking down references and contacting various companies and government agencies to verify legitimacy was a long and arduous process.
Now we have the internet and getting actual reviews from previous customers is no more than a few clicks away. With websites such as Angie’s List, Kudzu, Google and others posting real reviews outside of the company’s control, you can expect to find more than enough real information to tell you how a contractor will perform. Outside of consumer reviews, agencies such as the Better Business Bureau and National Roofing Contractors Association have searchable websites where you can check on ratings and qualifications quickly and easily and some even have customer submitted reviews of their own!
Even with all the information that’s available, there is still a few misconceptions that should be cleared up:
1) Length of time in business is the best indicator of a roof contractors trustworthiness.
This is not necessarily true, there are plenty of terrible contractors, sub-contractors, and individuals representing themselves as having 10, 15, even 20 years or more experience or in business and while experience is extremely important, it isn’t a good way to decide if a contractor is going to do a satisfactory job in and of itself.
Many roofing contractors that have been in business for years stay profitable by hiring cheap, inexperienced labor. This saves money and allows the contractor to undercut their competitors estimates but in doing so, almost always results in sub-par results that ends up costing the homeowner much more in the long run.
Do your homework! Research the contractor before hiring them. The best indicator of how a company runs their roofing crews (and their workmanship) is reflected in a combination of 3rd party customer review websites (such as Kudzu, Google, Yellow Pages, etc) and formal ratings by consumer websites such as Angie’s List, Best Pick Reports and The Better Business Bureau.
2) If a contractor has no complaints with the BBB, they can generally be trusted.
For companies that have been registered with the BBB for many years or decades with high ratings, this is generally true, but this is not always the case. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a for profit company and not a governmental agency. As such they aren’t required to keep track of every single company. There are many new and unknown roofing contractors out there and unless a customer specifically fills out a complaint, it can take months before it shows up on the BBB website, if at all. If the company cannot be found on the BBB, or they have no rating, be wary, they may be a “fly by night” or just lucky no one has specifically reported them by the time you look. When researching a company and checking their BBB rating, factor in the time they are in business, when they registered with the BBB and what their overall rating is. Just because they have no BBB record, doesn’t mean they aren’t reputable, it just means they haven’t joined or have had someone the BBB assist with a complaint.
3) Roofing doesn’t look that hard, if the guy that came to the door looks like he knows what’s he’s doing, or my brother in law Bill, who’s quite the handyman, repairs it, what could go wrong?
Roofing, as with any construction project, requires knowledge and experience to make sure it is done right. There are many individuals who will get a roofing job, work it for a year or so, then try to go out on their own and start a company. These are the types that end up in the news because they couldn’t finish their jobs or the jobs were done so shoddily they are being sued or investigated. If someone comes and is knocking on your door and soliciting your business, be wary, and do your homework before you sign anything, it’s these door to door guys that always end up in the news as roofing scams.
In addition, while it may seem like a good idea to have someone cheap repair an obvious roof problem, you should be sure you know the true extent of the damage. Many times repairing a leak isn’t as simple as just plugging a hole. Having the knowledge and experience to truly see a problem and repair it completely is why roofing contractors exist. You wouldn’t want your plumber fixing your car, and having someone who doesn’t know roofs fix your roof is just a bad idea.
Scams and shoddy work aren’t always nefarious, sometimes it’s plain, old, incompetence that gets these guys into trouble.
4) As long as there are no leaks, water spots, or anything obvious, the roof is probably fine.
Most of the time, this is true, as long as you are having regular inspections at least once or twice a year. If you are not, you could be missing some problems that could cost you thousands down the road. Most roofing contractors, including Atlanta Roofing Specialists offer free roofing inspections and estimates, take advantage of these, you’ll be glad you did.
5) All roofs and roofing companies are pretty much the same, it’s all comes down to price in the end.
While everyone loves saving money, the cheapest route isn’t always the best. In fact, much of the time it’s closer to the worst. Especially when it comes to major investment like your roof. When scouting out a roofing contractor, take not only cost into account, but their reviews, ratings, awards, experience and other indicators of what kind of quality they offer. In this business, you get what you pay for, and by trying to saving yourself a few hundred bucks, you may end up with a roof that lasts only a couple of years and costs you double or more later on. In this business, most of the time, the cheapest option is the most expensive option in the end and doing it right the first time is what counts!
Know your facts, call us with any questions or comments at 770-419-2222!