The most frequent complaints to the Better Business Bureau are are concerning roofing contractors. Homeowners lose most of their money to roofing scams, uneducated or inexperienced “roofers”, unscrupulous contractors and fly-by-night’s who appear in newspapers and go door to door after storms or other events more often than any other type of home repair disaster. This is why it is important to know the essential qualities to look for when it is time to hire a roofing contractor to work on your home.
You don’t need to be in the business or an expert in roofing to make an educated decision, much like you don’t need to be a mechanic to know common sense things to look out for when shopping for a car. Shopping for a quality roof contractor can take time and effort but in the end you’ll end up with a great product and a company that does a great job at a price you can afford that you can rely on for years to come.
Here are 6 things to look out for when hiring a roofing contractor.
1. Does the roofer have references or online reviews easy available?
An established, reliable, roofing company will frequently ask customers to provide a reference or review after a job is complete. These references and reviews, build up over time, providing valuable insight into a company’s work ethic and quality of service.
Review a decent number of references (at least 8-10) and reviews, roofing contractors who have been in business for a while should have these readily available. Contact two or three randomly to inquire about the contractors work. This is a sensible way to help you get a better picture of the company you are considering hiring.
2. Is the roofer bonded and insured?
Too many times, people will assume the roofer they are hiring is covered under insurance and their employees are bonded without actually checking to see if this is true. What happens if the roofer isn’t covered and an accident happens, who is responsible? The short answer is YOU. Should the roofer not carry insurance, this can prove quite costly to the homeowner.
A legitimate roofer will have no problem producing the necessary paperwork to prove that they have the necessary coverage and that the coverage is up to date. If for any reason this cannot be produced, look elsewhere, it is common for reputable companies to carry insurance, if they don’t or can’t produce the paperwork, something is fishy and you have to ask yourself “Is it worth the risk?”.
3. Does the roofer offer a warranty?
Defective roofing materials or craftsmanship may not be apparent immediately after the job is complete. It could be a year or longer before problems related to the materials or quality of the work can show up.
Look for roofers who not only have been in business long enough to execute a warranty but one that offers both materials and workmanship warranties. At minimum, accept the one who offer multi-year warranties, if possible, but at minimum a one year warranty should be available.
4. Does the roofer have the necessary permits?
You can’t simply hire a roofer and they begin work immediately. In most cases, a permit is required to show that the contractor has the right to work on your roof. The roofer should obtain all the permits (at substantial cost) and pay for the permits themselves. This should also include the removal of old roofing materials.
5. Does the roofer have a permanent place of business?
The fly-by-night roofers that descend upon homeowners after storms or other events rarely have an office or other location that shows their intention of being in business for years to come. Your roofing contractor should be able to produce a verifiable physical address as well as a land-line phone number, preferably local. Anything less and you will not have the piece of mind knowing they will be around to honor warranties should a problem occur.
6. Reputation: How Is Their Reputation With Third Party Consumer Companies?
These days there are a decent number of third party companies that research, review, and scrutinize companies and contractors on behalf of consumers. Companies like Ebsco Research/Home Reports, Angie’s List, The Better Business Bureau, and Red Beacon have strict guidelines as to how they think companies should perform and handle their customers. The companies who exceed these guidelines and have consistently high reviews from actual customers and verified quality service are awarded with certificates and awards that allow consumers to quickly identify those who stand out from the rest.
Look for awards such as the “Angie’s List Super Service Award, Home Reports/Ebsco Research “Best Pick” Award, or any other awards on their website, these are easily verifiable and can save you hours of research especially if the award is current. Aside from awards, check their BBB rating, as although not as strict as other consumer websites, is a good indicator of how a company handles disputes and complaints. Anything less than an A should give you pause.
For more information on hiring a reputable contractor please see our consumer advice page “Do Your Homework!”. For any questions or for a free estimate on your home chat, email, or call Atlanta Roofing Specialists at 770-419-2222!