When you’re thinking about replacing your roof, it’s especially important to find a highly qualified and trustworthy roofing contractor who you can rely on to protect the structural integrity and the contents of your home from Mother Nature’s whims.
Whether you’re looking for someone who can quickly repair your roof after sustaining storm damage or you’ve read the writing on the ceiling and have decided that it’s time for a new roof, it’s worth taking the time do so some due diligence.
Tip #1: Take Your Time
It may seem completely counterintuitive, especially if your home is critically damaged as a result of severe weather, but it’s probably not the wisest move to hire the first roofer who comes knocking. In fact, this is the last thing you should do. In the event of storm damage, be sure to contact your insurance company first to get your claim started, ask for recommendations, and make an informed decision.
Tip #2: Get Recommendations
It pays to know thy neighbor, because you can learn from their successes and failures. While you’re at it, find out not only who they ultimately used for the work and why they chose that roofing contractor, but also who else they considered for the project. You never know, their runner-up may well be a better fit for you and your project. (Or, alternatively, you may save yourself a lot of time and trouble by eliminating all of the horror story candidates.)
To take things a step further, we encourage you to keep an updated list of general contractors, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and roofing professionals on hand at all times. That way, when your roof blows off or your AC calls it quits in August, you’re one step ahead of the game.
Tip #3: Do Your Research
Once you have your list of 3-5 potential roofing contractors (we’re focusing on roofers here, but these tips apply to any home improvement contractor), fire up your computer and see what Google has to say about them. Be sure to check out sites like your local Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List and look for companies with A+ ratings or 5-star rankings. Find out how long the company has been in business and check for qualifications like licensing, factory certifications, and insurance.
Tip #4: Meet Your Roofer (and Ask Lots of Questions)
After gathering recommendations and completing your online due diligence, rank your potential roofing contractors. Then, give them a call or fire off a few emails to schedule a time for them to meet with you and survey the scope of your roofing repair or re-roofing needs. If, like many homeowners, you have decided on a new metal roof, make sure that your candidates have ample experience installing metal roofing systems.
Be sure to ask about factory certifications, metal roofing installation methods, and find out what they do to ensure a watertight fit. A contractor should be able to communicate easily and clearly, articulate his or her ideas for the project and give examples of work they’ve done on similar projects. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and share your ideas. Ask if they work with subcontractors or with an in-house team, ask about permitting, zoning, and historical overlays, and finally, don’t forget to ask for references!
Tip #5: Get Bids
Once you have your short list of roofing contractors, ask your finalists to break down the cost of materials, labor, and other expenses. Compare bids carefully, knowing that they probably won’t all line up perfectly. It’s likely that you’ll have questions about your bids after receiving them, so don’t be bashful; ask questions and look for clarification. Weigh the pros and cons of each estimate, double-check recommendations, and then schedule your work. If you live in an area that’s booming or suffering from the effects of storm damage, don’t be surprised or dismayed when your top picks can’t start immediately! It just means they’re busy and doing good, professional work.
Tip #6: Cheapest isn’t Always the Best
This is a tough one, because the inclination to go with the least expensive bid is a strong one. Do yourself a favor, if one of the bids is significantly lower than the other, toss it: there’s gotta’ be a catch. It’s likely that the roofers are cutting corners and overlooking something that your other home roofing contractors didn’t. At this point, you can assume the finalists come well-recommended, are licensed, and their references are glowing. So when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, select the roofer with whom you feel most comfortable who communicates on your level.
Tip #7: Check Your Warranty
Not all contractors offer a warranty on work. It may take months, or even years, for roofing installation errors to make themselves known. Make sure that your roofing contractor offers an extended workmanship warranty so that you’re well-covered.
Tip #8: Get it in Writing
A handshake is nice, but a contract is better. A good contract from a reputable roofer will include the scope of work, a clear notice provision, duration of job, total cost, product and material list, permits, warranties, payment arrangements, license number, and named parties.
Tip #9: Understand Your Payment Options
Make sure that the payment schedule is clear and that your payment options are agreed upon. Payment schedules can also give you some insight into the contractor’s financial status (if they ask for a large payment upfront, beware!) On a typical re-roofing or repair, expect to pay an initial deposit, a second payment when the roofing materials are delivered, then a final payment upon job completion and final inspection.
Contact us for Trained and Authorized Metal Roofing Installers you can trust. Our StealthBond® is backed by Gibraltar Industries.