Roofs are exposed to harsh elements such as heavy rains, cold snowstorms, and intense sunlight. Because of this, your roof, sadly, cannot last forever. A damaged roof can lead to a lot of structural issues if not addressed immediately, and this can compromise the safety of the people inside a home or commercial building.
Getting roofing repairs done is the responsibility of every building owner. However, doing the job yourself may only lead to accidents and injuries if you don’t know how it is done. You will need a professional roofing contractor to help you get your roof back to its good working condition.
Understandably, you may have second thoughts about having a complete stranger work on your home or commercial building. So for your peace of mind, here are some tips on vetting roofing contractors.
#1: Verify that the contractors’ licenses are valid
For home renovations such as a roof repair or replacement, most states require that the job be done by a licensed contractor. While you can still work with unlicensed contractors, there’s no assurance as to the quality of the work they will provide. In addition, you will be considered as the general contractor of the project and will be responsible for defective work and injuries that may happen in the project.
So to save yourself from any potential headache, ask the contractors on your list about their license number. Most states have their own website where you can input a contractor’s license number and verify the status of their license. A valid license is a good sign that the roofing contractor you are hiring is credible and knowledgeable.
#2: Ask for proof of insurance
Accidents can happen in any home renovation project but even more so in roofing renovation and repairs. So to protect yourself from any potential liability, you need to ask the roofing contractors for proof of insurance.
Your chosen roofing contractor should have two types of insurance—workers’ compensation insurance and general liability insurance. Workers' compensation provides wage replacement and medical insurance for workers injured on the job. General liability insurance covers damage to your property and those of third parties.
#3: Look at the contractors’ past work
There is no stronger proof of a roofing contractor’s ability than their work with previous clients. Ask the contractors for a list of previous clients for whom they did similar roofing projects. If you can have their contact details, talk to these customers and discuss their experience with the contractor. Some of the questions that you need to ask are the following:
- Did the contractor provide an accurate estimate?
- Was the project finished on time and within budget?
- Were you satisfied with the work done?
- Were there mistakes? How did the contractor address them?
- Do you recommend the contractor?
#4: Ask if part of the work will be done by a subcontractor
Don’t be afraid to ask about the details of the project, including the people who will work on your property. There are cases when a contractor will hire a subcontractor to do part of a roofing job. This is doubly important as you may be included in a dispute should a payment issue arises between your roofing contractor and their subcontractor. If your contractor fails to pay the subcontractor, the latter will have the right to file a mechanics lien against your property to resolve the payment issue.
#5: Ask for a detailed quote in writing
In general, it’s important to have everything in writing when dealing with a roofing contractor, including quotes and estimates. While it is easy for you to agree verbally on what the contractor says the total cost is, it is always a good practice to put everything in writing. Verbal contracts are difficult to prove in court. In addition, a detailed quote is a testament to a contractor’s expertise. It may be impossible to get a perfect estimate, but a detailed quote can help you prepare your budget and protect you from hidden charges and fees.
Choosing the right contractor for your roofing job is a daunting task. We hope that our tips on vetting contractors will set you on the right track to a roofing project that is free from any hassle and trouble. Good luck!
About the Author
Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.