There are countless horror stories on cyberspace about roofers who have been dishonest, lacked workmanship, and/or acted as scam artists. To make matters worse, roofing jobs hiring are not cheap, and even repair or replacement of shingles can easily run into hundreds of dollars, compared to a roof replacement, which can cost anywhere from $12-$25K.
Unfortunately, like all professions, some individuals have created a poor reputation for all roofers. But how is the public supposed to know a good roofer from a bad roofer? For homeowners, unless it is an absolute roofing emergency, here are some things you should consider before hiring a temporary roofer:
- Speak to others. To get a decent roofer, it helps if you speak to someone who has already had a recent roof replacement. Also, speak to your friends and family and perhaps they know of a good and honest roofer.
- Do an online search. Today, there is no excuse for not surfing cyberspace to look at the reputation of roofers. Once you find a roofer, do an online search about him/her and the company. Read the reviews and visit the Better Business Bureau website to determine if anything negative has been reported.
- Is he or she local? It is highly recommended that you seek the services of a local roofer. There have been many cases of out-of-state roofers who have done mediocre jobs all over the country and then disappeared. Plus, even if an out-of-state roofer does an excellent job, if there is a problem in the future, it is highly unlikely he or she will return to fix the issue. Then you will be stuck paying another roofer to fix the problem.
- Make a call. If you have some names of roofers, call them on the phone and determine their tone of voice, pushiness, or evasiveness. If any of them is willing to give you a quote over the phone without even checking your roof, this is someone you should cross off your list.
- Speak to several roofers. Once you have narrowed down your list, invite at least three of them to your home. Ask them about their experience, qualifications, licensing, and time of completion of the job. Further, ask if they are willing to provide a written contract and provide names and phone numbers of previous customers or other references. You must speak to these references and not rely on a paper reference produced by the roofer.
- Does he have insurance? In almost every state, roofers are supposed to carry contractor's insurance in case they damage your home or get injured while on the job. If a roofer is unable to produce an insurance certificate, then this is a red flag, and you should extend your search.
- Get a quote. Ask the roofers to assess the roof, what needs to be done, and the price. Determine how the roofer performs the assessment: Does he examine the ducts? the chimney and the entire roof? Does he go into the attic to look at the interior of the roof? By making these observations, you will have a good idea of which roofer will be best for your roofing needs.
- The clean-up. After the roof repair, you need to state in the contract that the post-repair clean-up will be the responsibility of the contractor. If he or she refuses or asks for extra money, this is another roofer that should be struck off your list. In almost all cases, the clean-up is done by the contractor at no additional cost.
- Written contract. No matter whom you select, at the end of the day, you should have it all on a written contract. The contract should state when the job will begin, what will be done, the duration of the job, liability carrier, and the cost of the job.
A statement should also be inserted about potential problems and how they will be managed after the job is done. This contract should be seen by a lawyer to make sure you have not missed anything significant. A few hundred dollars spent on a lawyer can save you thousands of dollars if the roofer is not a man of his word.
- Right to cancel. Ask the contractor if you have the right to cancel a contract within 48-72 hours and if your deposit will be refunded. In most states, homeowners are legally entitled to cancel a contract within a specified time and get their deposit fully refunded. If the roofer refuses to have such a statement in the contract, then you should continue to look.
- How much money upfront? In general, many roofers will ask for some money upfront for the supplies, but this should not be more than 30 percent of the total. If a roofer demands more or the entire payment ahead of the repair, then this is not someone you want. Always pay with a check as it can be traced. Never pay in cash.
In general, roof repairs or replacement is not necessarily an emergency and you should take your time searching for a roofer who meets your needs. By following the steps outlined above, you will hopefully have your roofing repair/replacement done smoothly and painlessly. By hiring a roofing contractor with many years of experience in your local community and checking up on the references, you will be able to get quality work performed with no hassles.