Let’s face it, roof replacements and repairs are not cheap. What makes this worse is roofs are arguably the most important piece to your home, ensuring you are covered from the weather day in and day out. This means that roof work is a necessary evil for every homeowner at least once in their lifetimes. With this being such a large financial decision, steps must be taken to ensure you are getting a quality job for a fair price. Not every roofing contractor is good, and not every good roofer is inexpensive. However, there are plenty of best practices to find quality roofing companies. But ultimately, homeowners must find a happy medium so that they are happy with their decision year after year. As a result, we worked with many industry experts and compiled a list of suggestions for hiring a good roofing contractor from people of all walks of life. This is important because it allows you to see suggestions from all over the place, allowing you to whittle down a process that works for your family.
How Important are Inspections and Licenses Anyway?
DIY and home improvement blog, The House Wire has many fantastic suggestions to aid in your decision making:
“Good contractors don’t charge for inspections. If someone tries to charge you for an inspection, they’re trying to get you to spend enough to feel locked into a deal with them. Unfortunately, it works on a lot of people, but you can’t let that work on you.
Before you set up an inspection, ask the representative you’re talking to if they offer free inspections. If not, let them know that another company in your town does do free inspections. They’re more likely to give you a freebie, and if they don’t, you should look elsewhere.”
“If a contractor is as good as they claim, they’ll be willing to put their money on the line. That means they’ll offer a satisfaction guarantee.”
“Old-school contractors make sure to inspect every job their team performs. They take pride in their work, and they ensure quality by checking every job before calling it done. That’s how they maintain a good reputation.”
Andrina Valdes of Cornerstone Home Lending LLC has seen it all when it comes to contractors as a leader in the real estate space. She provides are step by step process for choosing good roofers. Some highlights include looking for references and how will a new roof affect home value. This is a comprehensive list that should put you on a good path:
- “Always look for licensing and certifications right out of the gate. This might be a contractor’s license number printed on the side of a roofing company’s vehicle, or you can check your state’s website to find out what exactly is required and if a contractor meets this standard.
- Request referrals from family and friends. If that’s not an option, conduct a Google search or search on a site like Angie’s List, and make sure to get a minimum of three competitive bids before making a final decision.
- Last but not least, look for red flags. You want to see a professional website, email address, and voice message or answering service. Also, check for a fair number of Google reviews — hopefully, positive! — to show experience.
To dig deeper, I also suggest asking these critical questions:
- What is your level of experience? Meaning, has a contractor done this type of roofing work before and for how many years?
- Do you have any testimonials or references? If possible, request references that you can crosscheck, i.e., contact, or see if the testimonials match up to what is posted on Google or social media.
- Which permits are needed to complete this project? You need to know from the get-go what you or the contractor will be responsible for, including processing required permits.
Once you feel good about your choice in a roofing contractor, know that:
- A new roof can help to significantly improve the value of your property, when done right.
- While a new roof may not have as much of a return on investment as a minor kitchen remodel, for example, it can have up to a 65% ROI.
Not only that, but if you’re thinking of selling your house, buying a home “as-is” with a roof in need of repairs can be a dealbreaker for many homebuyers.”
– Andrina Valdes, Cornerstone Home Lending LLC
Don’t be afraid to man the phones when looking for a roofing contractor. This means reaching out to as many contacts as possible:
“If you don’t know anyone who’s recently hired a roofing contractor, look for reviews online and make some phone calls to confirm if they are legit.”
Leverage Local and Online Referrals
Decking Perth, a leader in Australian decking, has many insights on how their customers have chosen their service over the years. They have provided several that has been resounding among their customers:“One of the best ways is to search by local reference. The chances of scam or mismanagement are less when you know someone at the company. Also, it gives you confidence if you have a reference. This is the most traditional tip that is being followed for ages, but it is still efficient.
Nowadays, everything has gone online and people are searching for any kind of service. If you know a good online company that provides roofing/contractors, then there is nothing bad in opting for it. The beneifit of choosing a company online is that you will have proof of each and everything. In case there are disputes, you will have all the evidence.
It is important to check the licenses and insurance of the company. The contractor should have insurance for all the employees and proper licensing for the company.
– Decking Perth, @Decking Perth
Cindy Sosa Sanchez has used roofers throughout the years for her many real estate projects. Her suggestions echo those regarding check for referrals; however hers are a little different:
“The best way to find a roofer is through a recommendation from a friend or family member because these individuals can tell you about their personal experience with the roofer.
If family or friends are unable to refer a roofer you can go to a local roofing supply store and ask for recommendations there. They deal with roofers every day and will be able to give you a few suggestions.
Lastly, you can join a local Facebook group and ask for roofer recommendations there. People who have had a positive experience with a roofer will refer.”
– Cindy Sosa Sanchez , www.webuyhousescashdmv.com
Hand Over Your License
Licensed contractors are often the safest choice for your project. Jacki Tamez from Huuso services suggest ensuring that you look for licensing when hiring a good roofer.
“When looking for a roofing contractor, the most important thing to look for is an licenses. Each state varies on what is required but make sure they have what is needed. Additionally, you can look up their license number to make sure the information matches.”
– Jacki Tamez, Huuso Services
Just because a contractor can provide a license number does not mean anything to the customer. If you want to be sure that a license is legitimate, check it online:
“Most states require that roofing contractors have a license. Ask to see a copy and go online to verify its authenticity. Search “verify contractor” along with your state to find the appropriate website.”
Don’t Settle on One Choice
It can be easy to get complacent and hire the first contractor you get a good feeling about. Always look into several contractors to get a feel for potential fits:
“Interview multiple contracts! Also, I would recommend looking up their online reviews and be sure to ask for a few references. Do your due diligence and make sure you choose a contractor who is licensed and insured. Ask the references if the contractor completed the work on time and at the cost they initially proposed.”
– Tyler Forte, Felix Homes
Multiple choices allow you to create a price range between organizations. This will help in identifying if the organizations you are examining are high or right on with their pricing:
“The best way to find a quality roofing contractor is by calling several local companies that you find on Google (choose companies with 4-star ratings and higher. Get them to come bid on your roof. Compare the prices of the bids and the lengths of their no-leak warranties that they offer.
Choose the company that has the median price. Cheap companies use cheap materials and cut corners. The expensive companies usually have high overheads which force them to charge high prices. The companies that have middle-range prices do good work at a fair price.”
“Before you sign a contract look at the company´s Better Business Burea profile and check out their reputation. Also, Google their contractor license number. This will help you avoid the “fly by night” companies.”
– Caleb Riutta, Veritas Homebuyers
Social media is becoming king for research these days. Social media allows everyone to have an outspoken voice for just about anything. You are likely to get the information you need regarding your contractor choice:
“It’s a good idea to seek social proof in cases like this. If you have friends or coworkers who’ve worked with a specific contractor, ask them what they thought. If not, look online. Almost every roofing company will have reviews, many of which can be collected on aggregate sites like ours. Browse through them carefully and get a general feeling for the contractors you’re considering, then schedule a consultation and see how you personally feel about it before committing.”
– Courtney Keene, MyRoofingPal
Another key tip for guaranteeing a quality choice is to stay local in your search. Often local companies take pride in the communities in which they live:
“When you are looking for a quality roofing contractor, there are two things that we strongly recommend. First, make sure to check for reviews and testimonials. You want to make sure they have a track record of quality work and happy customers. Second, try to work with a local company, someone who is familiar with your climate and regional uniqueness.”
Getting social doesn’t have to stop at just browsing social media. There are many avenues available for reviews and referrals that most would never think of. Roofing supply stores in your area should be familiar with all good roofing contractors around. While they might not exactly know of the finished product, they can give you an idea of the character of certain companies as well as how busy they are:
“…start by visiting the roofing/building supply businesses in the area. The best roofers are often the busiest ones and their local supply house can give you a recommendation on who they deal with regularly.”
“… reach out to family and friends who have had roofing work done a few years ago to see if they would still recommend the contractor they used today (ideally they would have gotten the work done a while ago and can attest to the quality by having no issues years later)”
Leverage all referrals that you possibly can. Lean on friends and family during this time, as it can be assumed that some if not most of them have had roofing jobs completed in their lifetimes. If they can give you positive suggestions years after their project was completed, that means that the roofer completed a quality project:
“When looking for a roofing contractor, ask for recommendations from people you know, and go through the BBB website to find the most ideal contractor for the job.”
– William Taylor, VelvetJobs
Know What needs to be done
When beginning your journey of hiring a good roofing contractor, ensure you know, or at least have an idea of what you need to have done. This will ultimately save you from paying for unnecessary items, and allow you to weed out money grabbing conctractors:
“… educate yourself a bit about what you need to have done before you go searching for contractors. You don’t need to be an expert, but you should have a general idea of the scope and work involved in the roofing project. This will give you an advantage when choosing a contractor for your roofing needs as you’ll be able to sift through people who know what they’re talking about apart from those you don’t have the chops or communication skills to get it done properly.”
– Christine Wang, The Ski Girl
Jody Costello from ContractorsFromHell.com has a five step process for vetting good roofing contractors. After a long legal battle against shoddy contractors, Jody has long been an advocate for justice in terms of quality work. She brings some fresh and new tips that the average homeowner might not think of when beginning the search for a good roofing company. Our favorite, and one that is not often thought of, is to check lien history. This small step shows organizations that might be lacking in their ability to finish work to a satisfactory degree:
“1. Thoroughly vet the contractor by doing a deep dive into their business ethics, going beyond a license check and referrals. Example: google their name, check on complaints on review sites like Yelp, RipOff Reports, BBB etc. Licene checks and referrals alone simply do not completely reveal potential problems.
2. Check out their Lien history with the County Recorders’ office in your area. Someone who has a habit of filing Mechanics Liens against former clients is a red flag that indicates either money problems, shoddy work, and disagreements about the work. It could also be attempts to extort money from homeowners who may have been hit with “surprise extra work” invoices that were not part of the original contract price.
3. Check with their material suppliers regarding their credit standing. Are they good or “cash and carry” due to previous problems paying their bills.
4. Make sure down payment requirements and payment schedules are in line with your state’s contractors laws. Someone asking for large sums of money upfront is again a red flag and a common tactic used by dishonest contractors.
5. Always insist, in writing, on Lien Releases required upon each payment made to the contractor, which an honest contractor will honor, and protects the homeowner.
Finally, be sure to get the warranty they offer in writing. 5 years at the minimum, longer is better.”
– Jody Costello, ContractorsFromHell.com
Create Your Own Process To Hire A Good Roofing Contractor
A good roofing contractor will ensure quality from start to finish, you should look for organizations that offer satisfaction guarantees, as well as ones that will personally review every job that they complete. This shows that the contractor takes pride in their work and wants to ensure every customer is happy with the job that they pay for. Following these suggestions, you should still whittle down different approaches to best suit your search. Not all of these suggestions will work for you or the good roofing contractor that you are looking for; however, make sure you implement a fair majority during your process.