Residential Roofing Contractor Qualifications
Good roofing contractors are:
- Experienced, how long in business?
- Licensed in your area, if any licensing exists
- Bonded (which means that a bonding company has money available to a consumer in case they need to file a claim against that company)
- Willing to provide references and contact information
- Willing to write a free estimate
- Better Business Bureau listed
- Meaningful warranties
Services a Roofer Offers
Roofing services vary from contractor to company. Ask the two or three roofers you’re interested in working with what services they offer.
Redoing a roof is a good time to check your gutters. You may find roofers who also offer gutter, siding and window services. Ask the professionals in your area if they can complete other services. Tackling roofing and gutters at the same time can save you money in the long run since the contractor will already be on-site.
How to Hire a Roofing Contractor
When you’re ready to hire a roofing contractor, there are two types to consider: independent contractors and roofing companies. There are pros and cons to both. Always compare bids for the best price and check roofer reviews, references and qualifications.
Independent roofing contractors can be helpful for quick repairs. Because they either work independently or with subcontractors, it may take longer to complete large projects, like replacing your old roof. However, they may specialize in a particular style. Hiring an individual can be a risk, but it means you’ll see and work with the same person for the duration of the project.
Roofing companies are more likely to complete large jobs more quickly, have their work covered by manufacturer warranties, offer discounts or free consultations and work with more materials. However, you may not have the same point of contact for each phase of the project.
Questions to Ask a Roofer
Interviewing contractors is an important step in hiring the right roofer. Here’s what to ask:
- What types of roofing do you install?
- Do you work with homeowner’s insurance to file claims?
- Do you have a current license to do this work in my area?
- What types of insurance do you have, and what is the coverage? Ask to see copy of coverage.
- Can you give me two or three references to check?
- Do you offer a free on-site inspection?
- Do you take photos during the inspection and after completing the project?
- Will you give me a written estimate after the inspection?
- Do you do roofing repairs? How much do they cost?
- Is your work covered by manufacturer warranty? What are their terms?
- How do you keep projects on schedule? What’s your inclement weather policy?
- Do you remove or dispose of old roofing materials? Is there a disposal charge? Do you recycle old materials?
- When and how do you bill or invoice? Do you accept credit cards? Do you offer financing?
Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor
Always get bids from a few roofing contractors before choosing the one that’s right for you. You may choose the reasonable, middle-of-the-road bid or the contractor with the lowest price and best availability. With the right budget, you might opt for the roofer with the highest estimate and 20 years of experience installing the type of roof you want.
No matter which bid you choose, make sure your roofer has the right qualifications.
If you already know what type of roofing you want, you may have fewer contractors to choose from in your area. Most roofers can install and repair asphalt shingles but fewer have experience with materials like cedar shake, clay tiles or natural slate. Unique styles like solar shingles or green roofs require specialists who may be hard to find in rural areas.
Door-to-door bids, when a roofer visits neighborhoods hard hit by storms and high winds, can be predatory. If local roofers reach out to you about repairing or replacing your roof, check their license, insurance and references before accepting their bid.