Ask the Right Questions, Get the Answers You Need
Whether you’re buying a car or looking for a new home, it’s always wise to shop around. Similarly, when it comes to home repairs like fixing a damaged roof, don’t just pick the first roofing contractor you see online. Ask around, do your research, and find an experienced local roofer who can get the job done for you. You may even save some money in the process. However, it can be an overwhelming process. We have compiled our top ten questions to ask when meeting with estimators. With this article, you will be able to avoid common mistakes, determine who is qualified, and learn what questions to ask before signing any contracts.
1. Are they properly licensed and insured?
Your roofing contractor should have a valid, up-to-date license as per the licensing requirements of your state. A contractor needs to have both liability and workman’s comp insurance. Liability insurance will cover your property in the unlikely event something unfortunate happens. Workman’s comp covers a contractor who gets insured on your property. If the roofing company does not offer this insurance to their employers, the homeowner could find themselves responsible in the event of an injury during the course of their job.
2. What additional certifications or guarantees do they offer?
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a consumer-driven website with varying levels of the score for businesses. You can research the history of customer reviews and complaints, along with contact information, services, and business history. The purpose of the BBB is to build trust between consumers and businesses, and a high rating means you can trust the company to complete reliable work.
Google offers The Google Guarantee. Contractors with the Google Guarantee badge have passed the screening and qualification process by Google. If a contractor is backed by the Google Guarantee, customers that come through Google are insured up to $2,000 in the event they aren’t satisfied with the work of the contractor.
Discussing the partnerships and relationships that a potential contractor has, such as ones with BBB and Google, can be another great way to get a feel for their commitment to their customers and their industry as a whole.
3. How long have they been in business?
The age of the company says a lot about their longevity and their staying power. If your contractor has been in business for ten, fifteen, or more years, the odds are in your favor that you can count on them being around if an issue arises with your warranty.
4. How many roofing projects have been completed to date?
Along with the age of the actual company, it’s important to ask how many projects the company completes annually or has completed to date. If other people are trusting them with their roofs, it’s a pretty safe bet you can trust them with yours as well.
5. Are they truly local? Do they understand the roofing needs of homeowners in your area?
Depending on where you live, you may experience weather-related events such as hailstorms, tornadoes, or hurricanes that can severely damage or destroy your roof. Take Florida for example. From hurricanes and hailstorms to heatwaves and downpours, homes in Florida are subjected to severe weather and overwhelming elements on an annual basis.
A local roofing company will have the tools and experience to help you weather any condition that could threaten your residence. With such an intimate knowledge of your local climate, local roofers will also be knowledgeable about the roof designs popular in your locale and can recommend attractive colors and designs for your home. These design recommendations, while being aesthetic, can also help to reinforce your roof, keep you dry, and protect your home from the worst Mother Nature has to offer.
Finally, local roofing companies are familiar with local manufacturers. This works in your favor as they are likely to have the right materials on hand to quickly repair your home in case of severe weather events.
6. What is their policy regarding the safety of their roofers?
Safety should be a priority for any roofing contractor. In addition to having worker’s compensation insurance to protect both you and your roofers, a reputable contractor will ensure their roofers are wearing hard hats and using harnesses that are tied off. Ladders should be set up and tied off properly as well. When meeting with potential contractors, it’s important to discuss their safety policies and procedures.
7. What financing and warranty options do they offer?
Your roofing company should have partnerships with companies that can help you finance your new roof. Reliable roofing companies also understand government programs and navigating insurance claims to help you find the most affordable way to pay for your roof. While not every situation is a fit for every homeowner, your contractor should have information on a multitude of options. (You can learn more about financing on our FAQ page).
While discussing financing options, another important question should be about the type of warranty your manufacturer and your contractor is going to provide you. You should discuss the difference between manufacturer product warranties and contractor workmanship warranties with your estimator. (Visit our recent blog post to learn more about the different types of warranties and what they mean for you the homeowner).
8. What is their approach to roofing?
When you meet with a potential roofing contractor, getting the financial estimate is actually a very small portion of the process. It is important to understand how they plan to approach your project. Your contractor should be prepared to provide you a full scope of work and outline what you should expect when getting a new roof. Here are a few examples of questions to consider:
- Do they install drip edge or edge metal when they install the new roof? They certainly should. Reputable contractors know they absolutely cannot skip this part, as it can lead to water damage. Drip edge or edge metal is installed under the shingle to prevent water from getting trapped behind it and protect the wood and fascia on your roof.
- Do they clean up when the project is over? You do not want to be responsible for the large amount of refuse that collects during a roofing project. The company you choose should bring a container to store the refuse during the job. Make sure to ask where the contractors plan to store the refuse as well, as it can get pretty heavy. It is likely to be heavy enough to cause damage to your driveway if the container is stored there. A reputable contractor should be able to account for how they will handle the heavy container on your driveway.
- What is their plan for a rainy day? For Florida residents, inclement weather is always the wild card when planning a roofing project. Many contractors will not take off your old roof if the threat of rain or severe weather is too high. More so, they will have a plan in place if it does rain as they are completing your project.
9. Do they have relationships with any local new construction home builders?
While this may seem to be redundant from the “are you local” question, it really isn’t. There are a lot of roofers that do not work with new construction builders. While it could be that new construction is simply a business model some companies choose not to pursue, for others, it’s because they do not produce at the level a builder expects for their community. If a new construction builder hires a contractor for their communities, your home should be in good hands as well.
10. What makes them different from other roofers in the area?
If you have made it to this point, chances are, you have felt comfortable with the answers you’ve heard so far. You’ve verified that they are an experienced, local, licensed and insured contractor that works with new home builders and are committed to safety. They offer an extensive resume of completed projects. You’ve discussed the financing and warranty options available for your project. You understand their approach to roofing and know what to expect from the time you sign the contract till the job is complete. But now, it’s time to ask, what should be, the simplest question of all what sets them apart from the competition. A right answer to this question may actually give you more insight than the other nine questions combined.
Understanding what to look for in a roofing contractor
Every roof is different. Every homeowner is different. What matters to you may or not matter to your neighbor. Ultimately though, being a responsible consumer and asking the right questions may make the difference between working with a reputable roofing contractor or becoming a potential victim of an illegitimate roofer. Storm chases appear out of nowhere, rarely complete the promised work, collect your money, and run. Selecting a reputable, local contractor by asking the right questions is the best way to protect yourself – and your roof.
More so, by asking such detailed questions, price isn’t the deciding factor. After all, as we all know, you get what you pay for. Price should not be the deciding factor in terms of selecting a roofing company. Cheaper does not equate to better. Contractors who work out of their pick-up truck can easily give a lower quote because they don’t worry about overhead and proper insurance requirements. Contractors who work as part of a reputable company will almost always have higher quotes for roofing projects. Homeowners who choose contractors based on lowball quotes typically end up paying significantly higher prices in the end to fix problems that would have been covered in a workmanship guarantee by an established roofing company. By doing your due diligence in the beginning, the best roofing company for your home will provide you with a roof you and your family can enjoy for years to come.
Want to know Roof Commander’s answers to these questions?
Roof Commander has been a trusted roofing contractor and resource since 2010.
If you need a roof repair or replacement services,
contact us today at 352-459-7599 (or complete the form below) to schedule your expert in-home consultation.