How to Know You’ve Chosen the Best Roofing Contractor for Your Home


Hiring a contractor for major home repairs can be a nerve-wracking experience. If you’re not well versed in their line of business, it can be difficult to assess the quality of their work and know if you’re truly getting a fair price. If it’s time for roof repairs, or especially a roof overhaul, your best bet is to ask trusted family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even your insurance adjuster who they recommend for the job. A quality track record—including being in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and Home Builders Association—is usually a strong indicator that your home is in good hands. However, if you don’t have a network of advisors to lean on, here are some additional tips to help you choose a great contractor to take care of your roof.


Check Their Credentials

A legitimate roofing company should be able to provide you with their business license number, proof of workers compensation and general liability insurance, and written manufacturer warranties. If you have any trouble securing this information, that’s definitely a red flag. Not having proper insurance, for instance, could lead to a  legal battle between you and your contractor if one of their employees is injured on your property.

You’ll also want to check to make sure that the contractor has a satisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau, with no significant complaints, lawsuits, or judgments against them. If you can’t find a contractor on the Better Business Bureau’s website, it may be an indicator that they are a “fly by night” operation. Unscrupulous contractors will often come to your door after a storm, promising that your insurance will reimburse you for any repairs. If you think you might be getting scammed, check their professional credentials and get verification of storm activity (hailstorms, etc.) in your neighborhood from the National Weather Service.

You can also ask your prospective contractor if they have received any manufacturer designations. These designations are essentially an industry badge of honor that demonstrate a contractor has met certain requirements. For instance, GAF—North America’s largest manufacturer of residential and commercial roofing—only recognizes 2% of roofing contractors per market to be recognized as Master Elite® Contractors. While these designations are certainly impressive, be mindful that they can also be related to the amount of materials a contractor purchases annually from a manufacturer and not necessarily the best indication of the quality of their work.


Ask For and Seek Out Testimonials

Most roofing contractors will have no problem providing you with a list of satisfied customers who are willing to talk to you about their personal experiences working with your prospective contractor. You may even be able to drive by their homes to see what the contractor’s work product looks like firsthand. Of course, contractors are only going to connect you with their most enthusiastic satisfied customers, so do a little digging on the web, too. If your contractor has an online presence, maybe on Instagram or Facebook, take a look at more examples of their work and read the comments to see if you find more happy customers. Also check out review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List. Just be advised that the reviews left on these sites are not always verified, so if you see one bad review, ask your contractor about it. If you see one hundred bad reviews, maybe pass on this contractor!


Don’t Get Bamboozled During the Contract Process

Major purchases are very stressful, especially when you don’t feel 100% knowledgable or confident about the process. Don’t let a contractor rush you into signing a contract. Make sure that you first get a written estimate (and confirm that the estimate will be free) that includes any assurances that the contractor has verbally made to you. If you’re getting estimates from multiple contractors, ask for them to explain any price variations to you. Finally, make sure you have a signed copy of the contract before any work on your home begins.

It is rare (and usually another red flag) for a contractor to ask you to pay for the entire job up-front. Typically you should expect to pay 30-50% at the start of the job and the rest upon completion. Only pay with check or a credit card, never cash, to ensure that the job is finished to your satisfaction.


Finally, Look Beyond the Lowest Bid

All things being equal in terms of credentials, you may be inclined to go with the lowest bid. Still, for such a significant home improvement, you may want to consider other factors. For instance, does your roofing contractor have long-term employees or do they use day-laborers? This is important not just because you want to know who is at your home day after day, but also because it speaks to the skill and experience level of the team.

Additionally, if you’re looking to do something totally new—like installing a ceramic tile roof or adding solar panels—expect to pay a premium for your contractor’s (and their team’s) expertise in that particular area. When you move beyond standard shingles, it pays to hire a contractor who has a wealth of experience installing the type of roof that you are interested in and who can easily and affordably troubleshoot any issues that may arise. It may sting to dole out extra money, but your peace of mind is priceless.


About the Author:

Danielle Hegedus is an Atlanta based writer. She is a regular contributor to the roofing leads experts at Modernize, as well as a variety of green lifestyle and home design websites.

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