So, you just had a storm tear through your neighborhood, and now your roof is all out of whack and you need some repairs. Or, maybe your roof is just old, and a replacement is required. Whatever the reason is, finding a contractor can be tough. Not all contractors are alike. Some are expensive. Some are cheap. Some do a great job on roofs, others not so much.
For this reason, there are some critical actions that homeowners should take when looking for roofing contractors. Here are 9 of the most important. We highly advise that you look over this list thoroughly and follow as many of these steps as possible. Getting a new roof isn’t cheap, so you want to make sure that the job is done well the first time. By following these tips, you can
rest assured that whoever is working on your roof will do a terrific job.
Decide What Service You Need
Do you need a roof repair for storm damage? Do you need a full teardown of your current roof and a complete replacement? By defining what exactly needs to be done to your roof, you can narrow your search greatly. This is because the best storm damage repair contractor may not be the best new roof installer, and vice versa. So, when you start your search, make sure you narrow it down based on the specific service your roof requires.
Hit Up Google
Google is an excellent way to start gathering a shortlist of the top roofing contractors in your area. By merely searching, “roofing contractors near me,” you’ll get an extensive list of the closest contractors. Of course, you’ll still need to dwindle that list down further, but it’s a good starting point.
Look at Reviews
To further narrow down your list of roofing contractors, make sure to look at the reviews they have. The most important reviews to look at are their Google reviews because they can’t be cherry-picked, unlike reviews that they have on their website. Finding roofers that have an average of 4+ stars on Google is a smart way to find the tried-and-true roofing experts. Even if they have one or two 1-star reviews, that doesn’t mean they should be kicked off your shortlist. Sometimes homeowners are picky or just want to try and get some of their money back by complaining. But, some of those 5-star reviews may not be genuine either. So, make sure to actually read some of the reviews. It’s usually pretty easy to tell who is being honest and who is not.
Check Out Their Website
Looking at a contractor’s website is another solid way to gauge the quality of services you can expect from them. Of course, it shouldn’t be the only thing you look at when making your decision. If they are a serious contractor, they should have a well-functioning, good-looking website to illustrate their commitment to good work. Does their website offer insight as to their experience? Who is their team? What do they love about their job? While these may seem like minor details, they can tell you a lot about the contractor and whether they’re a good fit for you and your roofing needs.
Look at Past Work
While it can be hard to tell just how good a roofing project has been by just looking at photos, it’s still smart to look at a contractor’s past work. If they have a gallery, perfect! Otherwise, reach out to them and ask if they have any examples of work they’ve done over the years. Be wary of a contractor who doesn’t have any examples of completed work. First, it may mean that they have little experience and therefore have no work to show off. Or, it may be a sign that they simply haven’t completed any projects well enough to take photos of and are hiding their work. If they have no pictures to prove it, see if they can at least tell you where some of the homes are they’ve worked on so you can see for yourself.
Seek Out Referrals
Asking neighbors, friends, and family if they have had any success with a specific contractor is one of the best ways to know whether or not a roofer is legit. By seeking out referrals, you can eliminate potentially troublesome contractors and further narrow down your list. In addition, you might hear about some roofers that didn’t pop up on Google but that a friend speaks very highly of. Post on Facebook or ask some coworkers to try and find more referrals. Anything to try and get some first-hand recommendations.
Find Some Trusted Directories
Perhaps the best way to find the best of the best when it comes to roofing contractors is by finding a legit directory that actually has criteria for which contractors they include on their list. For example, the Roofing Insights Directory vets each and every roofer that makes the list. Just a few of the criteria they need to meet include having the reviews that prove they do good work and being fully licensed.
Speak with Several Contractors Before Making Your Choice
While sometimes the first contractor you see ends up being the one you go with, that isn’t always the case. In fact, unless you’re in dire need of a roof repair due to severe storm damage, you should always take your time looking for the right contractor. Don’t be afraid to actually meet with them in person, if possible. Getting to know them by speaking with them directly will give you a better idea of how they work and whether or not they are a good fit.
Review Their Credentials
Always, always review a contractor’s credentials to ensure that they are up to the task of completing your roofing project in a professional manner. Because each state is different, you can use tools like this article from Next Insurance to help determine whether or not a contractor has everything they need to be a certified roofer in your area.
Red Flags to Avoid With Contractors
Here are some warning signs that you should look for that will tell you if a contractor might not be the right person for the job.
A Price That is Too Good to Be True
With roofing, you often get what you pay for. That’s why it’s important to avoid working with contractors who have prices that are outrageously cheap compared to their competitors. Instead of being qualified, quality contractors, these people are usually scammers who are going to do a poor job on your roof. So, don’t take a huge discount on your roof unless you are absolutely sure that the contractors will do a good job (i.e., they have great reviews, you’ve been referred by them, or perhaps they are doing a promotional discount). If none of those characteristics apply, then it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
They Don’t Use Contracts, or the Contract is Lacking in Details
Contractors should have thorough contracts. After all, it’s in the name! To ensure that your roofing project is done correctly, you need to have a thorough contract that both parties sign. The contract should outline the total scope of the project and should not be vague in any way. Otherwise, if the contractor does a poor job and you call them out on it, they might point out that the contract doesn’t say anything about fixing mistakes on the roof. Sure, they’d have to be a pretty vile person to do that, but it has happened before. Always make sure your contractor has a thorough contract before letting them start work on your home.
They Don’t Have Insurance
Just like how they should be properly credentialed, in terms of licenses and certifications, a contractor should also have insurance. How important is insurance? Well, if someone working on your roof ends up getting injured or something else goes wrong, you might be held responsible for paying for the damage/medical fees. Yeah, that’s not fair. But, you should have made sure that the contractor had insurance before letting them work on your home.
They Request You Pay Upfront or in Cash
A payment plan should always be established with your contractor. Payments should be made continuously as the project is completed. This will help you avoid the risk of the contractor using your down payment to finance another project, or just taking your money and leaving without even doing the work. In addition, a contractor that wants to receive payments in cash is likely up to no good. A reputable business in today’s world should have no issues with accepting multiple forms of payment. Asking for cash-only transactions is a huge red flag when it comes to contractors.
Should You Ever Do a Roofing Project on Your Own?
There are plenty of homeowners out there who want to save some money and take on a roofing project on their own. However, there are several reasons why this isn’t the best idea. Unless you have extensive experience with roofing, you’re likely to make some big mistakes. Not to mention, you could easily injure yourself on the job. A roofing job should always be done by a professional who has the proper paperwork and credentials to do the job right. Whether it’s a roof replacement or a patch job, hiring an actual contractor is the safest way to do it.