Replacing a roof can be an overwhelming process for many homeowners. There are so many contractors and material choices available and all of them claim to be the best. So how do you know who to choose or what to look for? The first step with any re-roofing process is selecting the right contractor. Below are eight tips of what to look for and what to avoid when looking to get bids.
LOCALLY OWNED & OPERATED
When looking for a contractor, always make sure they are not only locally owned and operated but have also been around for more than a few years. There are many “traveling roofing contractors” that move from state to state to work recent storms. These contractors will be out of state as fast as they came in, leaving homeowners high and dry when issues come up down the line. To avoid having this issue, avoid out of state license plates and always do your research.
Make sure your contractor is licensed and has liability and workers’ compensation insurance. This will keep you from being liable for any injuries to workers or others on your property, including damages to your personal property. Always ask that your contractor provide proof of this insurance to protect yourself and your property.
A reputable contractor will provide warranties covering both materials and workmanship. Companies that are certified with a material manufacturer can usually provide a better warranty that is also backed up by that manufacturer. A reputable contractor will also provide you with a lien waiver once a job is paid in full. Under Missouri law, a homeowner is responsible for the cost of material used to remodel or build their home. If you pay your contractor in full and they fail to pay for materials, you will be the one liable to pay for them or the supplier will file a lien on your home. A lien waiver will protect you from any outstanding debts the contractor may owe and will prevent anyone from being able to place a lien on your home.
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU ACCREDITED (BBB)
When choosing a contractor, always check to make sure they are a BBB Accredited Business. Any company can be on the BBB and have free business reviews, but that does not mean they are accredited. Being accredited means the BBB has determined that a company meets the accreditation standards, which includes a commitment to make good faith and effort to resolve any consumer complaints. According to the BBB, accredited businesses are carefully chosen and must first be: registered with Secretary of State; have any necessary licensure; free of any patterns of complaints or government actions – or unanswered/unresolved complaints with the BBB; and in operation more than one year.
Any exceptional contractor will be more than happy to provide you with several local references. Follow up on these references as well as checking online review sites. A contractor who is not able to provide you with any references or reviews usually means they haven’t been in business very long or are not a local company. Following up on references and reviews will ensure that you are choosing a contractor that is locally known to do good work.
KNOWLEDGE OF BUILDING CODES
A reputable contractor will be familiar with the local building codes in your municipality. This includes whether or not they will need a permit and what type of underlayment and ventilation your building department requires. A contractor who does not know the building codes could result in your roof having to be re-done because it was not installed up to code.
When choosing a contractor, make sure you ask what type of materials (brands & styles) they offer and what they would suggest for your home. Make a list and research those brands. Doing your research will ensure that the company is not using the cheap products on your home to save them money.
Getting a written estimate from a contractor is important because it gives you a detailed description of everything that is going into your project. Too often, many proposals name a few generic materials and nothing else. A professional contractor will always provide a written estimate that explains what they will be tearing off, what materials will be going on, what brand they will use, and how they will dispose of old materials. Having a written estimate will give you detailed description of everything being put on your home. It will also hold the contractor liable to install all of the materials in your written estimate.