Hiring an unlicensed contractor may provide a quick fix for the short term, but it could result in many serious and lasting consequences, including further damage to your property.
If you’re in the market for a new roof you probably already know what a big investment it can be. You don’t want to let just anyone handle the job. Here are some basic things to look for that will help you narrow down your selection and choose the right roofing contractor for your project.
If you’re taking bids for your roofing project, keep in mind the lowest bid is not necessarily the best bid. A low bid may be an indicator of poor quality materials or sub-standard work. At the same time a roofing contractor may be able to offer an affordable bid because he has low overhead or a source for quality materials at lower prices.
Is the roofing contractor an established business? A company with an established business is likely to be around when you need them. If you have a warranty, you want to make certain someone is around to honor it should there ever be a problem.
Make certain the roofing company is licensed and insured. In most states it is illegal for a roofing contractor to work without a license. This protects consumers from contractors that aren’t experienced in the industry. Ask about insurance, particularly liability and worker’s compensation. A roofer without insurance coverage can leave you open to all sorts of risk, from damage to your property to liability for personal injury.
Ask for references. A reputable roofing contractor will be happy to provide you with a list of previous customers.
Check with the Better Business Bureau and the County Licensing Board. This is where you’ll find those unhappy customers if there are any. Remember that any company that deals with a large volume of customers can get a few complaints. What’s important is how they handled those complaints. Also check other reputable sites like Anglie’s List and Google.
Look for a roofer that has good communication skills. You want someone that you can talk to about your project, that will readily answer all your questions and that will keep you informed every step of the way. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, a finished job you may not be happy with and unwelcome surprises on your final bill.
Make certain you hire a roofing contractor that offers a guarantee on the project. The roofing materials manufacturer will usually include a product warranty but this does not cover the installation. If there is a problem with the installation or materials, you want to have a written guarantee from the roofing contractor that he will be there to take care of the problem.
A roofing company is only as good as the workers they employ. What kind of training or skill levels do they demand of workers? Do they provide safety training programs? Workers that follow safety training procedures have been proven to have less accidents on the job.
Does the roofing company crew clean up the job site? If they need to remove old roofing materials is the clean up included in the cost?
Get a written contract. While an old fashioned handshake is nice and a sign of a courteous contractor, you still need to have everything in writing. This includes the scope of the project, the materials to be used and their specifications and agreed upon total cost.
Avoid paying cash
Avoid any contractor who requires full payment in advance. Arrange to pay after the work has been completed or in agreed upon installments.
If your contract exceeds $2,500, become familiar with the Florida Construction Lien Law. See the link below.
Most jobs require a permit.