After gathering a list of possible roofers from the yellow pages and referrals from relatives and friends, the next logical step is to evaluate them. Most people choose roofers based on price alone. But cost of repair should not be the sole basis of selecting a contractor for your roof. Since at stake are your roof, house, and peace of mind, better ask the contractors the following questions before signing the contract:
1. Are you a member of any roofing organization? Reliable roofing contractors associate themselves with organizations that can contribute to their reputation. In turn, the organization is bound by strict guidelines and standards, which the members should strictly adhere. The contractor can contribute to the positive feedback about the organization by doing well on their roofing job or can ruin its reputation by doing poorly. Therefore, there is pressure involved to do well on every project for the roofing organization to be able to showcase its roofing contractors association.
2. How long have you been in the business? A good roofing contractor knows the ins and outs of roof jobs. He can easily spot roof problems and take care of them. If you are not ready for repair yet, he can recommend alternative roof covering products. You will know if the person you are talking to is a competent roofer if he can give you great advice on the available products to repair your roof and can explain to you in detail the procedure of roof repair. Usually, those who are more than three years in the business can provide you a comprehensive information on roofing.
3. Do you have a license and insurance? A reputable roofing contractor knows how to take care of his crew and his job. If a contractor offers you a very low bid for the project, there might be some loopholes somewhere. Ask him about worker’s compensation and liability insurance. What will he do if your roof leaks again after only a few months of completing his job? If he says he will repair it free, it must be in writing. If a worker is hurt while on your roof, is he liable for this? Ask for copies of these certificates for your own protection. Also, secure copies of their licenses or credentials. You may contact your city or county clerk’s office to find out the requirements for roofing contractors in your locale.
4. Do you specialize in this type of roofing? If yes, you may ask for photos or names of previous repairs similar to yours. If not, you may ask for possible names of roofing contractors that you can call.
5. What type of products do you use in roofing? As mentioned, competent roofers can provide answers to queries like this and explain to you, in layman’s terms, the things that you need to know.
6. How soon can you complete the work? Timeframe should be established in the beginning, not towards the end of the project. If the work is not finished as schedule, does the contractor gives a discount?
7. What time do you usually begin working? Like the estimated date of project completion, you must also be very clear with the working hours. If you do not want to be awakened at 6 am by the sound of pounding on your roof, communicate it with the contractor.
8. How much is the cost of replacing the roof? A good contractor does not just provide you with the cost of repair; rather he should present you a detailed description of the products and cost of each, and manpower cost. He should clearly break down the details, provide you with product samples, and literature from the specific product samples.
9. Can I ask for references from previous jobs? Feedback is very important when choosing a contractor. You may want to ask for a list of ten names with phone numbers of recent customers, possibly within the last 12 months. You do not need to call each, just randomly pick three to four names. When you call them, ask about the contractor’s job performance, responsiveness to information asked, quality of work, and related questions that can help in your decision. Be sure to limit your questions to at most five when you call the referrals.
10. How long is the company’s workmanship warranty? Some warranties are for a year, some are longer. Make sure to have a copy of the said warranty.
11. How do you handle problems and complaints? You may want to ask for a specific situation and have the contractor explain how he handled it. You may want to request a referral from a job that involved a complaint. You can research in your local licensing departments if the said contractor had disputes, suspended license, and other related issues. If you found out something from that research, ask to the contractor how he was able to resolve it.
If you are satisfied with the contractor’s answers, then that is the only time when you can sign the contract.