Hiring a Roofer? Do the Research!

Installing a new roof is a major investment, and to make sure the job gets done right you need to find a quality contractor. Just because a contractor claims they can do the work quickly and cheaply doesn’t mean they’re the best choice. When looking for the right roofing contractor, a few questions and a little investigation will go a long way. Here are a few important questions you should ask before signing on the dotted line.

  1. Is this contractor established?

While you shouldn’t write off a roofing contractor just because they’re new to the business, knowing that a roofer has been in business for a number of decades is usually a good indicator that they are trusted by their clients.

  1. Seek references!

If you just ask the contractor for a list of references, you may get a cherry-picked list of their most satisfied customers. Instead, ask for the contact information of the contractor’s last three clients. The experiences of their recent clients will be a good indicator of what you can expect. Also, you should ask to speak to clients who had their roofs replaced three or more years prior, this will tell you about the long term quality of the work.

  1. Are they insured?

A good contractor should have commercial liability insurance to protect their customers from any unexpected events during construction. Ask the contractor to include a certificate of insurance when they submit their proposal and contact the insurance company to make sure the policy is still in force.

  1. What is their scope of work?

What’s the contractor’s scope of work? It’s in your best interest to find a roofing contractor that can offer a variety of roof options. If a contractor has experience with a verity of different roof types, you can be confident that they will suggest the best roof for your home, not just the roof they know how to build.

  1. Do they offer a warranty?

Does the roofing contractor offer an additional warranty? If so, how long does the warranty apply, and what does it cover? Remember that most reputable contractors offer workmanship guarantees that will cover issues caused by improper installation.

  1. Do they have a maintenance program?

Does the roofing company offer a preventative maintenance program? Regular inspection will extend the life of your roof by allowing you to fix potential issues before they require major renovations.

  1. Will subcontractors be hired?

While some roofing companies will handle the entire project, many depend on subcontractors to perform specific jobs. If the company does use subcontractors, ask for their contact information, certifications, and proof of insurance.

  1. Are the workers experienced?

Ask what kind of training the workers go through before they are allowed to work.  Are the workers trained in OSHA safety procedures? Do the workers have experience in installing the style of roof you want? You only want skilled and experienced workers on your roof, not just to ensure quality work, but for safety and liability reasons as well.

  1. Is the contractor a safety liability?

Request a copy of the contractor’s safety records. A reputable contractor will not have a problem with providing you a copy of their EMR rating as well as recent OSHA logs. A contractor with a history of safety issues is a serious liability and should be avoided.

  1. Inspecting for Quality

Your roof will need to pass a number of regional safety codes, and it is likely that compliance inspectors will examine the project at various stages. You need to know that your contractor will have an expert on hand to ensure that all construction is up to code in order to avoid any costly changes.

9 replies
  1. Andy Harrison says:

    Before you hire anyone, you should always do research. With roofer, it is very important. You don’t want to just hire anyone to come and install your roof. You’d want to be sure that they are insured, offer some kind of warranty, and perform quality work. To check their quality, simply ask them for their past clients and they should be happy to share them.

  2. Nash Rich says:

    I agree that researching and asking around for a good roofer is a really good idea. My dad got his roof redone last summer and he spent quite a bit of time finding the right company. They did a fantastic job, so I say his time investment was worth it. Great stuff to keep in mind here. Thanks!

  3. greg kitchen says:

    To expand a bit further on the check references i not only check the work done previously from past clients but would ask for any current roofing jobs being done. Look for how well they clean up, ask the owner of the home being roofed about communication, how long the job took, did the company show up on schedule, did they deliver what was expected,etc. Great blog, thanks for taking the time to write it.

  4. Steve says:

    Asking for references is a must for any service-based company you are considering hiring. I especially like the point you made about asking for the most recent customers, not just who they want you to talk with. Thanks for all of the advice!

  5. Olivia Nelson says:

    I like your tip on checking if a roofer will handle the entire project or hire subcontractors. I would imagine that if they will hire more people you would want to know their certifications and other things about them as well. My husband and I want some roofing work done on our home so we’ll have to check with a contractor to see if he hires other subcontractors to help.

  6. John Mahoney says:

    My favorite part of this article is when you talked about choosing a roofing company that can offer proper warranties. It makes sense that planning ahead and comparing several companies can help you take care of your roof and make sure it serves its full life. I can see how anyone looking into this would want to consult with the BBB in order to find a roofer you can trust.

  7. Harper Campbell says:

    I like how you pointed out that when it comes to hiring a roofing company, that one thing that needs to be asked if whether or not subcontractors will be hired. This will really help me know for sure who is up working on my roof, especially if the original contractor is able to provide the contact information for the help they are getting. I will remember to ask this as we begin our search for someone to come in and replace our current roof.

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