Buying a new roof or replacing an older one is one of the most important investments you can make. Your roof protects your home and family and you should take as much care in selecting your roofing contractor as you would with any other important decision.
A Guide for Consumers
From the NRCA
The NRCA offers this guide to consumers on how to choose a roofing contractor. Read it before you buy and hire a professional when you do. Pre-qualify your roofing contractor and you can expect the best results.
How to Make the Right Choice
First, make sure you check for a permanent place of business, telephone number, tax identification number and a business license. You also shouldn't hesitate to ask the contractor for proof of insurance. In fact, insist on seeing copies of his liability coverage and workers' compensation certificates. Make sure the coverages are in effect through the duration of the job. Many building and home owners have been dragged into litigation involving uninsured roofing contractors. Also, if a contractor is not properly insured, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property.
Also, be sure to see if the roofing contractor is properly licensed or bonded. Some states have specific licensing requirements, and others do not. Your state's Department of Professional Regulation or Licensing Board will have this information. You should also make sure the contractor is financially stable. A professional roofing contractor can provide current financial information about his company. You need to look for a company with a proven track record that offers client references and a list of completed projects. Call these clients to find out whether they were satisfied.
Don't Be Afraid to Insist on What You Need
Insist on a detailed, written proposal and examine it for complete descriptions of the work and specifications, including approximate starting and completion dates and payment procedures. Also, have the contractor list the roofing manufacturers with which his firm is a licensed or approved applicator. Most roof systems require special application expertise to achieve lasting quality. You should also have the contractor explain his project supervision and quality-control procedures. Request the name of the person who will be in charge of your project, how many workers will be required and estimated completion time.
Check to see if the contractor is a member of any regional or national industry associations, such as NRCA. Being a member of industry associations demonstrates a commitment to professionalism. You should also call your local Better Business Bureau or Department of Professional Regulation to check for possible complaints filed against the contractor as well as carefully read and understand any roofing warranties offered, and watch for provisions that would void it.
Ask, Ask and Ask Again
Choose a company committed to worker safety and education and ask the contractor what type of safety training he provides for his workers and what industry education programs they have attended. The best roofing contractor is only as good as the workers who install the roof system. Be sure to keep a healthy skepticism about the lowest bid. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many fly-by-night contractors' below-cost bids seem attractive, but these contractors often are uninsured and perform substandard work. Remember, price is only one of the criteria for selecting a roofing contractor. Professionalism, experience and quality workmanship also should weigh heavily in your decision.