Roofing Contractors: Tips for Choosing Qualified Roofers
Professional roofing contractors may have large or small businesses. They may have been in business 100 years (some of our members have been!), or just a few. But they all have some traits in common. For instance, qualified roofers are:
The contractor will have a permanent place of business, a telephone number, a tax identification number and where appropriate, a business license.
Experienced and knowledgeable
Roof installation professionals should be experienced problem-solvers, with a thorough understanding of the industry. Roofing skills cannot be learned overnight. There are accepted methods for roofing around pipes, vents, chimneys and rooftop equipment. Oftentimes, roofing materials are incompatible and can cause problems if applied by an amateur.
Committed to education
The industry offers a variety of educational programs that a professional roofing contractor will have attended. More important, the best roofing company is only as good as the workers who actually install your roof. Insist on having trained, experienced professionals, instead of laborers employed for one or two interim jobs.
Insured and committed to safety
Roofing and gutter installation is a dangerous business. A sloppy operation can endanger the workers and bystanders and cause property damage. Don’t be shy about asking the contractor for proof of the insurance he/she carries.
Beware: the low bidder who is cheap has inexpensive prices because he/she doesn’t have complete insurance, including worker compensation coverage. Too many unsuspecting home and building owners have been dragged into litigation cases involving uninsured contractors.
Many states require that roofing contractors be licensed. Some are able to obtain bonding from surety companies, and others are not. Some states have specific licensing requirements. Check to see if the contractor whom you intend to do business with is licensed.
Professional roofing contractors also:
Use quality materials
In today’s market, you can buy dozens of different types of roofs. A professional will help you make the best decision for your building and for your budget, using quality materials produced by reputable manufacturers.
Stand behind their work
A new roof is a big investment, and for optimum performance, it should be regularly inspected and maintained.
A professional roofing company is interested in more than simply getting the job done and moving on. He/she will offer service after the sale and application. Ask for a fair guarantee, written in language you can understand.
What can I do to make sure I’m working with a roofing professional?
- Be sure you’re comfortable with the contractor and the roof system suggested. A pro is going to be happy to answer your questions.
- Check customer reviews and references. Ask for the names of several customers with roofs similar to yours. Call them. Be sure the contractor has performed as promised.
- Check financial information. A professional roofing contractor will give you the names of creditors and banking references. Make sure he or she is a responsible business person.
- Call the Better Business Bureau. You’ll find out quickly if there have been a lot of complaints about the contractor, or if any complaints have not been satisfactorily resolved.
- Insist on a written proposal. Examine it to make sure you think it is complete and fair.