You’re a homeowner and determined your home’s roof needs fixing or needs to be improved with a replacement roof. You’re all set to get moving. What’s the optimal way to get a high quality roofer who will accomplish a good job? What could you look for in a roof contractor or contractor to obtain this work? Carr
When homeowners choose to repair a roof or replace that roof with asphalt during the cold winter months, they’re often plagued by worries that their family will freeze before the job is completed. In the same vein, those starting a roofing job in the sweltering summer months worry that they’ll be facing heat stroke. These concerns are perfectly normal and common among many homeowners looking for roofing fixes or roof replacement contractors.
CarrEvery year, civic agencies across the country process thousands of complaints against housing contractors, and roofing contractors consistently rank among the top businesses being complained about. So be very careful when selecting someone to work on your house! Your roof is an important part of your home. You shouldn't trust it to just anyone. Getting honest estimates from roofing contractors can be confusing. Some have really high prices, and some are priced so low that you can't understand what's included and what's not, or if you're getting good value for your money. Some less-than-scrupulous roofing contractors play games with pricing, only to jack the costs up later during the job with unexpected surprises. That's why it's important to use care when selecting a contractor, and be sure you're dealing with someone honest. You want your roof taken care of quickly and cheaply as possible, but it pays to take the time to select a roofing contractor that will do a good job for a fair price. It's better to do it right the first time, instead of using the cheapest contractor available and later discovering you've made a painful mistake. Hiring a roofing contractor is more than just finding the cheapest quote. For the best results, you need to find a legitimate roofing professional. Consider the contractor's experience and qualifications, the duration of the project, quality of materials, and other factors. For example, GAF Master Elite Contractors, who by virtue of their excellent workmanship are granted special status and offer enhanced warranties. Get recommendations from your neighbors and friends - they're your best resource. After all, if they were happy with the work you will be too.One of most important things to find out before hiring a roofing contractor is that they are fully licensed and insured. Roofing is a dangerous occupation. Don't leave yourself open to a devastating liability by hiring an unlicensed roofer. Protect yourself!Make sure that your contractor is an actual roofing contractor, and not just a general contractor. Ask how long he's been in business and where his place of business is located. Take a look at his truck and if there is a magnetic sign on it, there is a strong possibility that he works as a subcontractor for multiple companies. Is he going to be in the roofing business for the full warranty on your new roof? And exactly what is the warranty, and what does it cover? Does he offer warranties for both Material and Craftsmanship? Make sure both materials and labor coverages are specified. If you get multiple estimates, get them in writing from each roofing contractor, and ensure that they're based on the same roofing project specification. Never, ever, rely on verbal promises. Insist on getting all guarantees, promises and warranties in writing. Including warranties from all the various manufacturers whose products will be used. And investigate their previous work; any reputable roofing contractor should have job sites for you to visit to see completed work.As the proposal moves along, ask yourself; are you comfortable with the roofing contractor? When reviewing the contract, does it spell out the scope of work in clear and understandable terms? Your contractor must obtain all required building, roofing or re-roofing permits, and he schedules the proper inspections. Make sure all project expectations are in writing and only sign the contract if you completely understand the terms.Larger contractors won't require a deposit, but if they do, never pay more than 10% down or $1,000. Never pay in cash. And if you make ongoing payments as the work progresses, don't let payments get ahead of the work. Keep a job file of everything relating to your project, including all payments. Don't make the final payment until you're satisfied with the job.Additional points to consider when deciding between roofing contractors: Was the contractor on time for your estimate appointment? If not, or if he failed to show at all, calling you later with some excuse, drop him from consideration immediately. If he's not on time when he most needs to impress you (before he has been given the job), then he surely cannot be relied upon after he gets the contract. Does he have an actual office, and a showroom for you to go visit? If not, does he at least have a secretary or paging service for emergencies? Trust your instincts. Do you feel comfortable with him working on your home? Remember, the person you meet with could just be a convincing salesman, and become totally different once the actual work starts. Call your city's building department, and ask if they are familiar with the contractor you plan to use, and see if they have anything negative to say about the company. And ask lots of questions. Don't let the contractor confuse you with strange words and industry jargon. Ask him to explain everything to you in detail. Remember, you're the boss! They work for you. The bottom line is, trust your feelings; you must feel comfortable. Ask about the process that the crew will follow when installing your roof. It's the roofing contractor's responsibility to see that the roof is waterproof at the end of the day, and if necessary, there should be enough tarps to completely cover the roof in case of rain! Take pictures as the work progresses, to document anything the workers do to cause damage to your property. And when the job is done, it's nice to offer the contractor copies of your photos, and give a nice testimonial for a job well-done.All this may seem like a lot of information to get from the roofing contractors giving you an estimate, but these are certainly issues that their clients already ask them about. All reputable, honest roofing contractors will already be prepared to provide this.
Choosing a Roofer - How to Find the Right OneIf you need a roof estimate, one of the first places some people look is in the phone book. But if you want a GOOD roofer, that's not the best place to find him.Sure, he probably has a small listing there if he's been in business for longer than a year or so. That's just part of being professional, so prospects and customers can find you. But unlike the companies that depend on big, expensive ads to make the phone ring, he gets most of his business from referrals.His name is on the hearts and minds of his happy clients and raving fans. His business card is in their wallets and purses or hung on their refrigerator. He has earned their trust and they wouldn't call anybody else.So where can YOU find this guy for your roof estimate? Actually, it isn't all that difficult. If you don't know him, you probably know somebody who does. Heck, they say everybody on earth is connected by just six degrees of separation. Joe Girard (The World's Greatest Car Salesman) figures the average person knows about 250 people. If each of them know 250, that is a pool of 62,500 people right there. Everybody but the homeless have a roof overhead and they were all installed by somebody. Here are five places to look for a good roofer for your project.1. Ask your friends, family and coworkers if they can recommend someone for a roof estimate. This is one of your very best sources because these are the people you know and trust. They will probably give you the WHOLE truth about roofing contractors they know. Even if they can't recommend someone, they might tell you who to avoid!2. Ask your neighbors. Find out who they used and if they would use them again. Some homeowner associations even keep a list of reliable contractors.Pay attention to roofing work going on in your neighborhood. Look for yard signs and company names on the vehicles. What's the condition of their trucks? If they don't care about their own equipment, how much do you think they will care about your roof? What about the roofing crews? Do they go about their work in a quiet professional manner... or does the jobsite resemble a wild roof party, complete with beer and music blasting from a boom box? Do they keep the jobsite clean... or are shingle wrappers and debris blowing all over the neighborhood? If you get the chance, talk to the homeowner after a hard rain. Is he a happy camper?3. Call the roofing suppliers in your area or drop by for some product literature. Talk to the manager, tell him you need a roof estimate and ask for the names of a few good roofers. The suppliers deal with all the roofing contractors in town on a daily basis. They are plugged into the grave vine and have a pretty good idea who has a good reputation and who doesn't.4. Call the building inspector for your municipality and speak to a roofing inspector. Ask about the permit and inspection requirements for your project. While you have him on the phone, tell him you need a roof estimate and ask for a few names of good roofers in your area. It's his job to check roofing work, so he should know better than anyone who does it right and who doesn't. He probably can't make an official endorsement, but he might give you a few names to check out. 5. Finally, check out your prospective roofers online. The internet has made advertising cheap and easy, but it has also made it more difficult for the bad guys to hide. Google the names of the roofing companies you are considering and see what comes up.It's also a good idea to check the names of the owners of these companies. A common practice when roofing companies get in trouble is to shut down and then open back up under another name.See what Angies List (www.angieslist.com) and the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) have on them. Check their status with the local and state licensing boards.By now you should have several companies to choose from for your roof estimate. Select the three with the strongest reputation and give them a call. Be sure to tell them where you got their name. Us roofers who depend on "word of mouth" advertising know how important referrals are and we will try especially hard not to disappoint you!