Finding the Right Contractor
Sometimes it makes sense to hire a pro rather than take on a job yourself. But choosing the wrong contractor can lead to delays, subpar work, and even legal problems. These guidelines will help you choose a professional contractor and ensure a good working relationship.
Free written estimates
Does the contractor provide written estimates on a company letterhead or form?
Insurance is a must
Make sure that your contractor has worker’s compensation and liability insurance. This keeps all bids on a level playing field, knowing that part of the cost of the roof and the service being provided to you is protected with the security of coverage.
Make sure that the company that you choose is local. This means that they are not just operating locally now, but have an established business and reputation in the community. It is very easy to provide a piece of paper, but the warranty is only as good as the longevity and reputation of the roofing company.
Price isn’t everything
Never choose a company based on price. Cheap bids drive down the market and anyone with overhead and proper insurance has to establish pricing to cover such costs.
Those that do work on the side or are just working out of a pick-up truck can always do the work cheaper. But in the long run, you get what you pay for. Customers that are sold on price as their sole criteria ultimately end up spending more money to fix problems, and many of these problems would have been covered under a workmanship guarantee by a reputable established company.
Avoid storm chasers
Steer clear of the knock-on-the-door, “We were in your neighborhood”. This is just canvassing and selling. Pick from a referral or a sign in your area that has a satisfied client on the other end. Don’t give into sales pressure. If a contractor shows up to your door offering services, ask to take their business card or flyer.
Better business bureau
Check to see if the contractor is registered with the Better Business Bureau and see what their rating is and if they have any complaints against them.
How long has the contractor been in business, look for someone who has been in business for at least 5 years with the same company name. Make sure they provide you with a business address.
A warning signal should sound in your head if you encounter any of the following:
- A contractor who makes unsolicited phone calls or visits. Be especially wary of people who offer a bargain price, claiming that they're doing a job in the neighborhood and have leftover materials.
- A contractor whose address can't be verified, who uses only a post office box, or who has only an answering service.
- A contractor who isn't affiliated with any recognized trade association.
- License or insurance information you can't verify.
- A contractor who can't (or won't) provide references for similar jobs in your area.
- The promise of a hefty discount—but no mention of the total cost of the job.
- The promise of a deep discount if the contractor uses your home as a "demo".
- High-pressure sales tactics or threats to rescind a special price if you don't sign on the spot.
- A contractor who tries to scare you into signing a contract by claiming that your house puts you at peril.