Here are some important consumer tips to help you avoid mistakes when hiring a roofer.
Use a prescreening service. Don’t request a roofing bid from just anyone listed in the phonebook. Anyone can be listed in the phonebook if they pay for it. Before inviting contractors into your home to give you an estimate you ought to seek a recommendation or referral from a trusted source such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or a contractor’s association in your area. Better yet, consider using one of the popular services that prescreens contractors and schedules free roofing estimates for you. Typically contractor prescreening services evaluate contractors located in your area for State contractor’s license, proof of insurance, and customer references. They do this at no cost to you with absolutely no obligation. These free services have become very popular because they take the headache out of the process and make it very simple for the homeowner.
Ask for proof of insurance and contractor’s license. Even if you use a prescreening service give yourself that extra piece of mind by double checking their credentials. Ask the contractor to see their contractor’s license (not just a business license). Ask for documentation showing that they have general liability insurance which will cover any damage to your property that might happen while they are working on your property. And make sure the amount of coverage is sufficient in relation to the size of the project and the value of your home. If they are going to use employees to do some or all of the work then make sure that they also have worker’s compensation insurance.
It is also a good idea to review your home owner’s insurance policy to see if it covers injuries or damages that may occur during the roofing work.
Put everything in a written contract before hiring. Don’t accept verbal promises by the contractor unless they are written into the contract. A written contract is the best way to prevent a lot of grief down the road if something should go wrong with the roofing project. Make sure the written contract contains:
• the contractor’s name, address, phone number, and contractor license number;
• the estimated start and finish dates;
• a list of all materials to be used including product brand and model;
• a statement that the contractor is responsible for obtaining all required permits before work begins.
Also make sure the contract contains a statement specifying all warranties covering labor and materials. The warranty section needs to include contact information for the contractors and manufacturers who are standing behind their warranties.
Follow these tips should help you avoid headaches and protect you and your home from problems down the road.