How do I find a reputable contractor?
Your choice of a contractor is vital to the success of your roofing project. Select him or her
with care, as you would any other professional, like a doctor or lawyer. Get started by using
the following methods to select possible candidates:
- Referrals are the best way to find a contractor. Ask your friends, relatives, neighbors
and business associates if they know anyone that they would recommend.
- Job site signs in your neighborhood offer you the opportunity to see a contractor in
action. Talk to the homeowner about the quality of his work.
- Check with manufacturers like Certainteed, Elk, GAF, and Owens Corning. They have
"look-up" programs, on their web sites, that find factory trained and certified contractors
in your area.
Once the candidates have been selected, you should take the time to interview them and
discuss the details of your project. Be prepared to ask the questions that will help you
determine whether or not this is a reliable professional who will be easy to work with and be
able to complete the job to your satisfaction. Here are some questions you should ask in each
- Does the company carry insurance?
A contractor should carry workers' compensation insurance to protect you in the event of an
accident on your property. If a worker is injured on your property, you might be held liable for
all costs unless the employee is covered by workers' compensation insurance. Ask the
contractor to have their insurer send you current certificates of workers' compensation
Don't forget that companies who carry the proper insurance and follow the insurer's
guidelines for safety will have higher job overhead costs. These expenses could be the
cause of price variations between contractors who follow the standards and those who ignore
them. Roofers who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper to hire as they do not
have large insurance premiums to pay, but hiring them brings substantial financial risk.
- Is the company a licensed or credentialed contractor?
Check with your state and local licensing authorities to determine the requirements for a
contractor to operate in their jurisdiction. Be aware that a business license is a tax
requirement only and is not directly relevant to the contractor's competence.
Several roofing manufacturers offer a variety of programs, to the professional contractor, that
establish their credentials as a knowledgeable roofing company. Homeowners can view these
credentials as another indicator of the contractor's degree of knowledge, professionalism, and
dedication to the roofing trade.
- How long has the company been in business?
Needless to say, longer is better. Less than three years may signal an unstable business or
one low on the learning curve. On the other hand, everybody has to start sometime.
References will be helpful to double check any business, and are especially important when
dealing with a new business.
- What is the company's workmanship warranty?
A good contractor will warrant his workmanship for a period of one year or more. The length
of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the roofer to stand behind his
work. Again, this is best evaluated using customer referrals.
Ask previous customers the following questions: Was the contractor responsive when asked
for information and changes? Did the contractor act as if he cared about the customer's
interest? Would you call the company trustworthy?
- What is the company's track record for solving customer complaints?
Try to find out how your contractor handles problems when they do arise. Ask the contractor
if he has ever lost a job related court case. Ask if the contractor's license has ever been
suspended and why. You can also talk to the appropriate authorities, such as the Better
Business Bureau and licensing departments, to find out if any complaints have been filed
against the contractors you have interviewed and how those complaints were handled. Many
contractors, in business for any length of time, have been involved in a dispute. The key is
how the dispute was resolved.
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known to the State of
California to cause cancer,
birth defects, or other
reproductive harm are
created by the combustion
of propane, use of hot tar
kettles and tar products.
Our industry is required to
comply with Proposition 65
known as the California
Heath And Safety Code. We
are required to give you