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. No more, these days, with the internet, getting real, honest 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 qualification 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) A Roofing Contractor that has been in the business for several years can generally be trusted to do a decent job regardless of ratings or reviews especially if they are cheaper, they’re still in business right?
This is not necessarily true, there are plenty of terrrible contractors, sub-contractors, and individuals representing themselves as having 10, 15, even 20 years or more experience or in business and while experience does help in many ways it isn’t a good way to decide if a contractor is going to do a satisfactory job by itself. A good many of these companies employ less than desirable workers at the cheapest price, with a lot of them having zero experience or very limited knowledge in roofing. So while you may be paying the people with experience, the ones doing the work may not do such a great job. Do your homework! Research the contractor before hiring them. The best indicator of how a company runs their roofing crews is reflected in 3rd party customer review websites (such as Kudzu, Google, Yellow Pages, etc) and formal ratings by consumer websites such as Angies List and Home Reports.
2) If a contractor has no complaints with the BBB, they can generally be trusted.
Although for companies that have been registered with the BBB for many years 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 are reputable, it just means they haven’t joined or have had someone the BBB assist with a complaint.
3) Almost anyone can do roofing, even if it’s one guy in a pickup going door to door, or my brother in law Bill, who’s quite the handyman, 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 one 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 fix an obvious roof problem, you should be sure you know the true extent of the damage. Many times fixing a leak isn’t as simple as just fixing the leak. Having the knowledge and experience to truly see a problem and repair it 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 aren’t alway 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 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 best to find the cheapest possible.
While everyone loves saving money, the cheapest route isn’t always the best. 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, 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 couple of thousand, 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.
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