Hiring a roofing contractor to replace or repair your roof is tough. Hiring the wrong contractor to do the job can end up in lots of headaches and wasted money both during and after the job is done. Finding an excellent contractor will ensure your roof job goes as smoothly as possible with no surprises. Plus they will help you out in the future if any defects or problems spring up.
When you’re first starting the process of hiring, what should you look for?
I recommend taking every contractor through a process to find the best one to give you a proposal to compare to the others you get. It’s important to be proactive from the beginning and weed out contractors from the start who aren’t worth your time. If you wait to vet them out of the running, you’ll end up wasting time and could end up hiring someone that should have been booted out of the process at the start.
After you take the first steps of finding a few contractors through various sources, the next step is to see how they hold up to the reviews they’ve gotten. Sometimes even companies with good reviews can give poor service – maybe they’ve restaffed some positions for the worse, they’ve fallen on hard times and have changed the way they do things, or new ownership has come in and shuffled things around. Whatever it may be, using reviews is a good way to screen initially, but now it’s your turn to take it the rest of the way.
The fastest way to vet contractors out at this point is to call them up and see how they handle your potential business. They should be kind and helpful through the whole process. The last thing you want is to hire a contractor that does good work but is abrasive and a pain to work with.
REMEMBER: Just like in a dating relationship, a contractor is on their best behavior before the sale. After you give them money and signed a deal they have you locked in and some think they can act however they want after that point. Which may mean putting your cares about your home last on their priority list.
This is what you look for:
- Do they answer the phone the first time you call?
- If they didn’t answer your call did they call back in a reasonable time frame? (1-2 hours or at least that day if it’s a business day)
- When you talk to them are they interested, courteous, and willing to listen? (If a contractor won’t listen to your concerns at this point, good luck getting him to listen when your roof is torn off)
- Do they give satisfactory answers to these questions:
- Are you licensed to work in my zip code?
- Are you bonded according to state laws?
- How much are you insured for? ($1,000,000 minimum)
- Do you carry workman’s compensation insurance on your workers?
- Can you provide proof of all this at our first meeting?
- Can you bring a list of references with the phone number of the last 10 jobs you’ve done? (Get the most recent, not the ones cherry-picked by the company)
After the phone call:
- Did they show up on time (or preferably 5 min early)?
- Did he bring the documents you asked for? (from above)
- If he had to come into the home did he wear boot covers to avoid tracking dirt on your carpets? (This will show you how much he cares about your property)
- Did he check in your attic to determine the sheathing type? (to avoid extra costs after the roof project starts)
- Did he provide any pictures to show you what’s going on up on your roof? (to prove what he’s saying is true)
An excellent contractor will do each of these things to the T, if just 1 is missed (and there’s a good reason) there’s still a chance he is a good one. But the closer a contractor can stick to these guidelines the better. Remember this is just part of the process, if you take each contractor through each step you’ll be sure to hire a legitimate, competent contractor that will do a great job on your roof.