It’s time to replace that roof. Joe just did down the street and it looks great. It has been on for about a month and now I want to get mine done. What should I do? Should I use Joe’s guy? It is a lot of money. Should I go with the cheapest quote I can get? After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
Depending on what choices you make at this step will determine if you have a great new roof or a possible disaster on your hands. Since there are so many things to consider when getting a new roof, let’s start with the very first step.
- Start your search for a roofing contractor locally. Getting bids from local roofing companies means that you are more likely to get a better deal then if the contractor is from out of the area. After all, the less the materials and workers have to drive to your site, the less they will charge. Going local also helps because local roofing organizations will have a better grasp on the local building codes and and accepted practices.
- References, references, references. This is your next step. Find out the background of all your contractors before you accept any bids. Ask for multiple references. Ask for local references, recent references and at least one year old references. If you can’t find at least 3 favorable referrals for that contractor, then that contractor is probably not the best guy for the job. References can also come from friends and neighbors like Joe, who have worked with previous roofing contractors in the past and have enjoyed their work.
- Check on credentials and insurance coverage. You need to know if your contractor is up to date with state or provincial or municipal licencing and codes. Usually a quick call to your local building department can tell you if your prospective roofing contractor is licensed and insured to work in your area. Be sure to confirm Worker’s Compensation coverage for all employees that will be working on your site. When you get proof of insurance, it should come from the insurance company as well.
- Do not take the first bid. Always, always get multiple bids. Large differences in the price can be a great warning sign that maybe the cheapest bid is forgetting an important step in the project. Get a cost breakdown of labor and materials so you can easily compare bids to ensure that you are getting exactly what you pay for.
- Always get any warranty or guarantee in writing and signed by both you and the roofing contractor. A warranty or a guarantee on materials and labor can help to ensure your roofing systems lifespan will be as long as the contractor claimed.
These may seem like small things, but doing them will alleviate much and many of the problems that homeowners have with their contractors. There is a reason that roofing contractors are one of the top five industries that get the most complaints with reporting services. Take these simple steps and you can be assured that you won’t fall into one of those that has complaints for not getting what you paid for.
If anyone has a roofing horror story, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will collect a number of them and run a series on how to avoid those situations. Love to hear if anyone has anymore suggestions to add as well.