Given the time and resources that go into roofing, it’s natural for a homeowner to want to make sure that they make the most of their investment. And because who your roofer is largely determines how your roofing project will turn out, it pays to ensure you’re hiring the right one. This Q&A will help you do just that, answering top roofing questions with information you should expect to help you make the best decision.
- Do you have the necessary licenses and permits to operate in this area?
- Yes, here are copies of our licenses and permits.
States and cities typically issue their own requirements when it comes to contractor licenses and permits. Before you hire a roofer, make sure that you’re familiar with what those that apply to your area so you’ll know what to ask for. Take it as a red flag if a candidate can’t provide you with proof of necessary licenses and permits.
- Are you insured?
- Yes, we have general liability and workman’s compensation insurance. Here’s a copy of our certificates.
Working with a reputable roofer gives you peace of mind knowing your roof will be in good hands. However, sometimes, unforeseen circumstances have a way of creeping up. Making sure that your roofer is insured is important as that protects you from liability should any damage or injury occur during the course of the roofing job.
- Are you accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
- Yes, here’s a copy of our accreditation certificate.
A business that intends to fulfill their commitments to their clients will ensure that they have a BBB accreditation. This not only helps them obtain new clients but also boosts their reputation in the industry.
- Will you explain what needs to be done and how you intend to achieve this?
- Yes, after inspecting your roof’s current condition, we’ll identify the problems and explain how we intend to fix them.
It’s important that you know how exactly a roofer intends to address your concerns. If they can’t give you a straight answer, this could be an indication of inexperience or that they might cut corners to save on costs and gain more profit.
- Will you provide a written estimate and contract?
- Yes, everything that needs to be done will be included in the contract.
SIGNED AND SEALED. A good roofer is one that provides a written and detailed estimate and contract.
Always make sure that there’s a contract for the roofing job before any work begins and that it’s as detailed as possible. Do not sign anything, however, if you have questions or concerns about the contract terms.
- Will you protect the existing landscaping?
- Yes, we’ll do our best to ensure that your landscaping isn’t damaged.
Roofers that intend to do their jobs well will take the time to ensure that they don’t unnecessarily damage any other part of the property, including your landscaping.
- Will you keep me constantly updated with the project?
- Yes, you will receive regular updates on the progress of the project. If you have any questions or concerns during the project, we’ll have someone on-site who can address them.
It’s important stay updated with the progress of your roofing project so you’ll know if everything is on schedule or if there are issues that will require workarounds. However, this is not a reason to hover. If you hired a reputable roofer, trust that they know what they are doing.
- Will you take care of cleanup after the job?
- Yes, we’ll arrange for debris removal during and after the job.
Reputable roofers will respect your property and ensure that it is kept tidy at all times. In fact, they’ll ensure that they leave the property as clean as when they arrived once the job is complete.
- Can you carry out roofing jobs regardless of the weather?
- No, we can’t. Ideal installation conditions exist for roofing materials and we want to make sure we have those as much as possible for your roofing project.
Good contractors will keep tabs on weather forecasts and advise you whether it’s a good idea or not to proceed with the roofing job as scheduled. Working in bad weather, after all, not only potentially exposes your home’s interior to the elements and reduces your roof’s chances at performing its best but also puts workers at risk of injury. Roofers can carry out emergency repairs but even then they will wait for the weather to clear up a bit. In the event of clear weather, roofing contractors should still be prepared for unexpected rains by having appropriate covers on hand.
- Can you provide references?
- Yes, here’s a list of our past projects and our previous clients’ contact numbers.
ONE CALL AWAY. Verify your roofer’s reputation by taking the time to call references and previous customers.
The best way to ensure that the roofer is reputable is to actually contact a couple of their references and previous clients. Different properties have different requirements but the more satisfied past clients are, the more you can trust that your roofing job will be satisfactory as well.
- Will you remove the old roof?
- Yes, definitely! And here’s why we need to do so…
If the contractor claims that keeping the old roof would make the new roof stronger, then there’s a good chance that they won’t be doing a good job. There is absolutely no sense in keeping a damaged roof intact and installing a new one over it, although there are instances when a tear-off may not be necessary. Whatever the case, your roofing contractor should properly explain to you why your old roof has to go or not.
- Do you offer warranties and guarantees?
- Yes, we offer warranties for products and parts and a workmanship guarantee for a certain amount of years.
Always make sure that you are getting product warranties and workmanship guarantees. The two are usually offered separately but should both be present to give you peace of mind. Ideally, you should receive coverage for about 10 years.
- Do you intend to sub-contract the work?
- No, we’ll be using our own people.
Roofing companies that want to ensure they perform highly satisfactory will make sure that they use people they’ve trained in-house as this helps them ensure quality, with jobs carried out according to their practices and industry standards.
- Is there a possibility of additional costs?
- There may be areas that we won’t be able to inspect when we provide an estimate. We will explain what those are and how they can affect the cost of the project as we go along.
Highly experienced roofers know that it is possible for additional work to come up during the project, which could increase costs. They should be able to explain what those are and how they’ll affect costing.
- How will I be paying for the project?
- We can begin with a down payment and divide the rest of the balance depending on milestones in the project.
PAYMENT MATTERS. A good contractor will not ask for full payment upfront, but a down payment of no more than 10% is acceptable.
Keep in mind that down payments should never be more than 10% of the total contract cost. Additionally, the contractor should outline milestones that have to be reached before a certain percentage of the contract price is billed and you should not have to complete payment unless you are satisfied with your roofing job.
The whole purpose of asking a potential roofing contractor questions is to get to know how they do business. An interview may not be the best gauge of skill but you do learn a lot from what and how a roofer answers your questions. If a roofer dodges your questions or won’t give you direct answers, don’t hesitate to take your business elsewhere.
Terry Klara is the president and operations manager of DryTech Roofing & Home Solutions. Backed by more than 25 years of experience in the construction and building industry, he’s gained a reputation for being a problem solver and an expert at managing numerous construction projects at a time. Client-focused, professional, and highly organized, he is admired by both colleagues and customers. To get updates from Terry, check out the company blog!