The question is, “How?” There are so many things to consider that it can give you a migraine!
But choosing a roofing contractor can be simplified if you follow these 3 steps:
- Take a shortcut by looking for “must haves”
- Ask all the right questions
- Examine the details of multiple (free) estimates
We’ll elaborate on these steps in this article.
Step 1: Take a shortcut by looking for “must haves”
You don’t have time to call every roofing company under the sun, right?
You can weed out several potential contractors at once by looking for roofing contractor “must haves” on the each company’s website. (These are usually found in the “About Us” section).
These roofing contractor “must haves” include mentioning that they are:
- Licensed (confirm the license number with Arizona Registrar of Contractors)
…and also have a:
- High BBB Rating.
- Permanent place of business, telephone number, tax ID number, and a business license.
- Membership with any regional or national industry associations, such as ARCA, TRI and NRCA.
- Have a history in the community, so you know they will be there to back up warranties.
Learn about the costly consequences of ignoring some of these “must haves” in our article “5 Dangers of Hiring an Unlicensed Roofing Contractor.”
OK, now after finding a few contractors that have all the “must haves” you should contact them and…
Step 2: Ask all the right questions
Obviously, the questions you ask will vary depending on the roofing project, but here are a few common ones you should always ask.
- Can you provide a list of recent customers as references? Ask for references for customers that they had a problem with and how the company responded to the problem. This will prevent getting handpicked “optimal” references. Review their reputation online on referral networks like Rosie on the House, Angie’s List, etc.
- Do I pay in full only when you finish the job? Run away from contractors that require you to pay the entire job upfront. Paying a deposit of one-third of the total price is standard procedure.
- Is paying with a credit card or check OK? Never pay cash. If the contractor requires it, move on. Better yet, do they offer financing?
- Will you give me a guarantee and manufacturer’s warranty? Remember, the manufacturer only warranties the materials, not the workmanship. In fact, poor workmanship can void the manufacturer’s warranty. WHO puts on the roof is every bit as important as the materials being installed.
- How long has your roofing company been in business? Longer is better. Be wary of those that are only 1-3 years old. Most workmanship warranties are 10 years. Will that company be here in 10 years to back up their warranty?
- Will you be using sub-contractors? Are they insured? Do they have a contractual obligation to the contractor to perform per the standards of the contractor you have chosen?
- Who will haul away the old roofing materials and/or project waste (e.g. extra materials, packaging, etc.)? Is there an extra charge for this service? This should be stated somewhere in the written estimate.
Speaking of written estimates…
Step 3: Examine the details of multiple (free) estimates
Now that you’ve got your shortlist of contractors, ask each of them for a detailed (preferably free) estimate in writing.
Here’s what to look for in the written estimate:
- Is the “Scope of Work” proposed apples to apples? Review each estimate to see if the work being proposed is the same across all proposals. This will help you avoid extra expenses and change orders during the roofing project. Example: Does the proposal include the lifting of your HVAC unit? What are they tearing off, one or two layers of roofing? Or none? Are they reusing parts of your existing roof?
- Are the materials they propose to use apples to apples? This is important for the roof components you don’t see. What you don’t see on a roof is what keeps it waterproof. Ensure that the functional components of your roof are what you are expecting. Example: How many layers of underlayment are being installed and what type. How many inches of foam are being installed and how many gallons of coating to protect it.
- What are the terms and conditions of the contract? Are you able to cancel your contract? How long is the warranty? Will the company be around to honor that warranty? What are their payment terms? What are the proposed start (and finish) dates of the project?
- Are the promises in writing? Verbal agreements won’t carry you far. Get it in writing!
Take detailed notes and write down questions as you review each estimate. Contact contractors about any questions you have so you fully understand each estimate’s offer.
Other helpful tips
Here are a few tips that can help you at various parts of the 3-step process.
- Call your local Better Business Bureau to see if anyone has filed any complaints against a roofing company you’re considering.
- Ask your friends and relatives for a roofing contractor they recommend.
- Go with your gut. Choose those you want to do business with and then partner with that contractor to assure the transaction to be a win-win.
Want a Free Estimate?
Want to start your search for a roofing contractor? Contact us if you have any questions or want a free estimate for your Phoenix or Tucson area home.