When you know it is time to repair or replace your roof, that means it is also time to find a roofing contractor. Many homeowners find it difficult to select a contractor to do work on their homes. We have all heard terrible stories about contractors not completing work or doing a less-than-stellar job. Many of us want to avoid that from happening to us. We have questions to ask a roofing company before you hire to help you feel confident in your selection. Before you contact your first roofing specialist, consider this list of nine questions to ask.
#1 Do You Have the Proper License?
One of the most critical questions to ask a roofing company before you hire is whether they are licensed. When a contractor has a proper license, you have an assurance that they are a legitimate business. This means they are registered with the state as a business; they have a tax identification number, business phone number, business address, and, hopefully, a website. In addition, roofing specialists with a license show they are serious about their business and remain current with changing requirements and regulations. It is important to note that not all states require roofers to have a license, but you should select one that does.
With a licensed roofer, you are hiring a contractor that understands all there is to know about roofing, including installation, maintenance, repairs, and permits. You will have everything you need in one person without having multiple contractors. Most importantly, when you select a licensed roofer, you gain peace of mind that you have a reliable and knowledgeable contractor.
#2 Are You Covered by Insurance?
The second on the list of questions to ask a roofing company before you hire do they have insurance. It is critical that they are not only licensed but also insured. There are two types of insurance you want any roofer to have. Those are liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. Worker’s compensation protects anyone that is working on your roof if they are injured while on the job. If your contractor does not have worker’s compensation insurance, then you could be responsible for paying medical bills for someone that is injured. Also, if someone dies from a fall off your roof, you could be responsible for funeral expenses.
Liability insurance covers any damage that occurs while the contractor is working on your roof. If any mistakes are made, the liability insurance covers it instead of you paying out of your own pocket. Imagine there is hail damage roofers are repairing, and during the course of that, they break some bricks on your chimney. Their liability insurance would cover it, so you do not have to pay for the chimney repair.
#3 How Much Experience Do You Have?
Surely one of the top questions to ask a roofing company before you hire is how much experience they have. You also want to know how long they have been operating their business. Typically, when you are looking at a roof replacement, you don’t want to hire someone that has been in business for a short time. Instead, you want to look for a company that has a strong track record and a good reputation for high-quality work. You have heard at least one story of a contractor who either didn’t finish the job or caused a significant amount of damage while working.
If you have several contractors, you may want to organize them by the number of years of experience they have. Generally, you can expect those with the most experience to complete the job successfully. You should also look for someone that has experience with your roof situation, especially if you have a unique roof. The longer a company is in business shows, the are better able to maintain happy customers as well as run a business. They tend to be dependable, scheduled, and organized.
#4 Are You Local to the Area?
When deciding what questions to ask a roofing company before you hire, you should consider where the roofer is located. Whenever possible, you want to find local roofing services. It is beneficial to have a local roofer for many reasons. First, if there is a problem with the roof or the work that was completed, a local contractor can get to you quickly to assess the damage and provide any necessary repairs. A local roofer has a sense of community. This is especially true when the roofer lives in the same area where they are operating. They have a tendency to think of their customers more like family than a company that has no ties to the community. They are also more likely to take additional steps.
A local contractor has a better understanding of the climate and total area. If there are particular permits and approvals needed, your contractor is aware of them and can help you navigate the process. They also know the local installation codes and are more likely to follow all state requirements. This protects you from having to pay fines when the process is not followed. It is helpful when you sell the house because the proper steps are taken. This is also helpful if you ever have to file a claim with your insurance company.
#5 What Roofing Services Do You Offer?
You may not realize it, but gaining an understanding of other services offered is one of the important questions to ask a roofing company before you hire. One of the aspects that makes a company dependable is its ability to provide all the services you need when you need them. For example, if you are interested in roof repair, you don’t want to select a contractor that focuses on replacements only. You may think all you need is a repair, but the company may push a replacement because that is their only service. Some roofers only do replacements because they think repair jobs are a waste of their time. It is cheaper and easier for a contractor to order bulk material. The process of replacing a roof is much easier than repairing one.
When you are looking for a contractor, you want one that can meet your needs, not convince you to do something else. If you have sustained storm damage, you may need a contractor that specializes in repairs. It is important for you to realize that not all storm damage is the same. You could have wind damage that occurs when strong, fast winds lift up shingles. You might be surprised at how quickly shingles can lift straight off the roof. You may suffer debris damage which occurs when flying debris hits your roof and damages it. Or you could have water damage from the storm. What may start as a small leak can quickly grow, making it essential to get repairs done quickly.
#6 Do You Offer Free Estimates?
While it may seem like everyone is providing free estimates today, it is still one of the top questions to ask a roofing company before you hire. When you are able to get a free estimate, it gives you the freedom to contact several contractors for quotes. It also gives you a clear idea of the type of damage sustained by your roof and the steps necessary to repair it. You can also make plans for how much you need to invest in the repairs for your roof. Most people in the roofing business will include recommendations for maintaining your roof after the work is complete. A free estimate allows you to prioritize all the needs you have in your home based on your budget.
Having an estimate is a critical piece in determining which roofing contractor to select. However, it should not be the only factor. Sometimes, it shouldn’t even be the most important factor. Your budget is always important but should not be more so than experience and quality work.
#7 Can I See a Portfolio of Past Projects?
Another one of the important questions to ask a roofing company before you hire is references and pictures of previous jobs. When you are hiring someone to do a roof install, you want to have an idea of the work they’ve done. All businesses that offer any type of service relies on reputation and word of mouth. These are some of their best marketing tools. There are many review sites online that should have information about your potential contractor. These reviews have not been paid for by the company and should be reliable.
You should ask any potential contractor for the names and contact information of previous customers. If they don’t have any or are unwilling to provide you with that information, it should be a red flag for you. It’s also a strong indicator you should look for another contractor. Keep in mind your friends and family are great resources. If you know someone that had a roof replaced in the past several years, ask them about their experience and their opinion of their contractor. You can ask them questions about the contractor, including whether did they do what they said they would? Were they reliable? Are you happy with the quality of the work?
#8 What Roof Materials Do You Install?
You may not realize that one of the questions to ask a roofing company before you hire pertains to materials. You may think that you can trust the contractor to use high-quality material, but you should always verify. Often when a contractor chooses to use fewer quality materials, they are focused on making money and not providing quality work. You want a contractor that uses the same material they would use on their own house. You also want to know that they have faith in and stand by the products they are using.
No matter if you are looking for asphalt or metal roofer companies, you want a product that you can rely on to protect your house and family. You should ask the metal roof contractor about the warranty that comes with the products and if they provide a guarantee of their work. If possible, you want to find a contractor that is a certified installer for the product line. Certified installers typically have classes provided by the manufacturer on the best installation of their products. In some cases, the manufacturer will not honor the warranty if the materials aren’t installed by a certified company.
#9 How Long Will the Project Take?
One of the questions to ask a roofing company before you hire is how long will the project take to complete. A reputable roofing company should be able to give you timeframes as to when they can schedule your project. They should be able to give a definite idea of how long it will take. You should have some expectations that weather may cause delays that the contractor cannot control. However, they should communicate with you if there is any change in the schedule.
Every roofing company, just like all contractors, is experiencing delays in materials and products. This is a known concern, and they should have a plan for a delay in materials. You should ask if they have all the needed material on hand or do they have to order it. You want to know what they do in emergency situations, such as several employees getting sick.
This information guides you in all the questions you should ask a potential roofer before hiring that company. If they can satisfactorily answer all of your questions and you feel comfortable, they may be the right person for your job. If something doesn’t feel right, you should consider moving on to another contractor. Don’t hire someone when you do not feel completely comfortable with that person.