How To Choose A Roofing Contractor
Top Tips To Rectify Your Storm Damaged Home
Anytime a region of the country is hit with a natural disaster it is not uncommon for the homeowners to be bombarded with contractors looking for work. It is also common to hear a salesmen from a less reputable company offer a “Free Roof” or some other incentive in order to get a homeowner to sign a commitment to work with their company. Below we have provided some very important information. This information will help you:
- Understand some of the legalities of the roofing process
- Understand the what to look for in the roofing process
- And ultimately, understand how to wisely choose a roofing contractor that will meet you needs
1. The first big Red Flag is if any contractor ever offers to pay for your deductable
Even though some states are still a little relaxed on prosecuting on this practice, paying for the homeowners’ deductible is Insurance Fraud cut and clear and it is against the law. Any contractor offering to pay for a deductible or offering the opportunity for you to get a “Free Roof” should be turned away.
2. Is the contractor a “storm chaser”?
Many companies these days track storms across the country and prey on homeowners who have recently been hit with a natural disaster. Often, once an agreement is signed they skip town with the homeowners’ insurance check. Even if the contractor completes the job, since they are not a locally owned company there is no way to retain their services if the job is not done correctly and usually any warranty is worthless after they leave town. It is a good practice to use a locally owned company in good standing with the community.
3. Checking the reputation of a contractor through the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
The Better Business Bureau is an excellent resource to cross reference what a contractor may be offering and what their track record may be. The Gold Star Award is given to any company who has had a three-year period without any complaints and that is an excellent accomplishment but should not be expected either as with any large business you can never make every customer happy no matter how hard you try. Any company with an “A” rating or better with the BBB should be considered a good choice.
4. Checking a reference list of customers in the area
Checking with customers who have had work completed in the recent past is also an excellent resource to use when choosing a contractor. Whether you elect to contact the reference or just do a drive by to see some of the companies past workmanship, this is a great way to make sure the company you are talking with is honest and has a good track record in your area.
5. Having a personal project manager assigned to your project from the company is very important
A project manager will help with the entire process and should be expected. Prior to signing any agreement with a company, having a good feeling about the person who is representing the company can make all the difference. Making sure that the person is a strong communicator and is well trained in what they are selling is very important. Having a project manager from start to finish to, help walk the homeowner through the entire process is an important aspect of the job and again should be expected.
6. Being very clear as to exactly what the contractor is going to offer the homeowner from start to finish
Getting this information in writing is also very important. Especially the product (grade and brand of shingle) that is going to be used to replace the existing roof along with any additional add-ons such as soft metals including flashing, vents etc. is very important and is an area that a reputable company can stand out above the crowd by offering a superior product over a company that will try and cut corners on your house to make a little more money at the homeowners’ expense. Additionally, knowing what the contractor’s standard warranty on the work completed is can be a deciding factor as well.
7. How far out is the project date?
Although many contractors are hungry for new business, once they receive a signed agreement it is not uncommon for some contractors to take up to 3 – 4 months to complete the project. In most cases a reputable contractor with a reliable crew can complete a standard residential roof in a single day from start to finish; a contractor who knows how to manage their business should have no problem getting your job on the calendar within 2 – 6 weeks. This is a question that should be addressed up front as well.
8. Reviewing the contract agreement in detail is very important
Included in the contract should be a 3-day grace period to cancel the agreement from the date of signing. In addition to that, some contractors expect a down payment up front. This is very important- DO NOT give a contractor any money until the materials are in the driveway and the crew is ready to work. At the time a down payment is due. The final balance should be expected after the insurance company releases the remaining balance after the contractor sends in the final invoice that the work is complete.
9. Once the contract agreement is signed
the company you are working with should follow through with the commitments they offered up front. One of which should be representing the damage they claim to have found in the presence of the insurance adjuster the day of the inspection. In return the homeowner is also obligated to stand behind their commitment to follow through with the company they signed the agreement with and have them complete the project as discussed.
In conclusion, having damage from a recent hail or wind storm to a roof can be a very complicated and overwhelming process. It can however become a very simple and easy process if a reputable and ethical contractor is hired that can take over the process from start to finish. Thus, it is an important choice to pick a contractor that has a solid reputation and that has the homeowners best interest in mind throughout the entire project. To recap several important points in choosing a contractor:
- Pick A Local Company
- Pick a Company with A Good Reputation with The BBB And With Past Local References
- Pick A Contractor that Is Ethical and Does Not Offer Anything Illegal
- Pick A Contractor that You Feel Good Working With