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.