4 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Roofing Contractor

When it’s time to call your roof repair guy, it’s essential that you call the right guy. A new roof is one of the most important investments you’ll make in your home. Good choices can result in big savings down the road. Bad choices often result in additional expenses that go far beyond just the roof. With that in mind, here are the four most essential questions you need to ask a roofing contractor before you sign on the dotted line.

1. What is your company name and address?

One of the biggest risks consumers face when hiring roofing contractors is fly-by-night operations. With a full company name, you can vet the contractor with the Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce. A physical address, even if it’s the roofer’s home, demonstrates permanency. If they provide a PO Box, request a physical location. An inability to provide a physical location is a warning sign you should heed. With a valid name and address, you’re also able to use that information to vet the company on social media and websites that specialize in consumer reviews of contractors. How satisfied are previous customers and how does the company interact with people online?

2. Do you have insurance?

This crucial question is often overlooked by homeowners. If a roofer doesn’t have insurance and someone gets hurt, the homeowner is often on the hook. Your home insurance will likely cover the bill, but that will almost certainly result in a rate increase. If your home insurance doesn’t extend to such claims, you can be sued and have to pay for it out of pocket. Don’t just ask about insurance; ask to see proof. Contractors should have liability insurance as well as workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance protects the homeowner in the scenario described above. It covers medical bills, disability and more. Liability insurance, on the other hand, protects you from any damage the roofer may cause to your home either by accident or due to negligence. If the roofer improperly installed shingles, which led to framing damage due to moisture, liability insurance could cover the reconstruction expense.

3. Are you licensed and certified?

There are a number of different licenses a roofer may hold. There’s a business license, of course. There may also be a contractor’s license. Be mindful that states have different rules and regulations for roofers and other contractors. One state may only require a business license; another may require a general contractor license; and a third may require a roofing-specific license. You may be able to find the information pertaining to your state online. If not, contact your local Chamber of Commerce. It can either provide you that information or direct you to the local resource that can. Certifications are a bit different since they’re usually awarded by trade organizations and manufacturers. Certifications can indicate a roofer’s training and dedication as well as whether he meets the warranty requirements of a particular roofing material.

4. Do you provide a labor warranty?

Most roofing materials, such as shingles and flashing, come with a warranty, but that protection only extends to the material itself; it doesn’t cover workmanship. A labor warranty protects you from such mistakes. If the roofer doesn’t provide a warranty, then you should probably look elsewhere. If he does, then you should demand that contract in writing as a prerequisite to you hiring the company. If a roofer doesn’t have a warranty, then you must depend solely on goodwill if something goes wrong. If the company refuses, then your only recourse is to sue. A labor warranty certainly doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have to sue, but it will make your position in court even stronger.

Final Thoughts

Although these are the most important questions you should ask, they’re not the only questions. When you think of a question, jot it down in order to remember it later. If you interview multiple potential contractors, try to ask all of them the same questions. Getting three or more estimates provides you a great deal of context for the answers as well as the price quotes you receive.

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