Replacing a roof is a big investment, and you want to be sure that you get what you pay for. When you’re looking for a roofing contractor, ask other homeowners in your neighborhood for recommendations. Narrow it down to three or four contractors, but before you make a final decision, ask them the following questions.
First, ask how they would go about the job. This will give you some insight into the process of this particular contractor. Different firms may work differently, and one isn’t necessarily better or worse than another. However, one method might fit better with your own line of thought. Find out how long the project is expected to take, and how soon they would be able to start.
Find out how long they’ve been in business. An established firm naturally has more experience and has built its reputation. Similarly, ask how much of their business comes from referrals and repeat clients. Ask if all workmen are employees, or if they use subcontractors. If both, find out which jobs are contracted out.
Make sure that all required licenses, bonding, and worker’s compensation and liability insurance are in place. Follow up by checking the license and registration numbers you are given with your local regulating body. Some contractors may have additional certification. These can be an indicator of a higher level of professionalism and experience, but aren’t a necessity.
Also ask what permits will be required. If you already know the answer to this question, use that knowledge to check against the answer you are given. It is important that all required permits be in place before work is begun, and you don’t want to find yourself in the position of having to face a zoning violation.
Obtain a list of three or more references which includes projects similar to yours. A responsible firm will be happy to give you such a list. You might also ask for references from suppliers or subcontractors as well, which will give you an idea of the contractor’s business practices.
It’s a good idea to have a roof inspection, or at least to look at it critically on your own, both before and after work is done. You’ll want to see that the completed work has used new quality materials and that the flashing and sealant are flush and have no gaps.
Take the hiring of a roofing contractor seriously. The best firms will be open and forthcoming with answers to your questions. Avoid any firm which seems reluctant to share any information with you.