Your business’ roof is probably one of those things you don’t think too much about until it springs a leaf or needs replacing.
However, when you find yourself in the market for a roofer, it’s best not to call the first number in the phone book. Considering the cost of a quality roof, it pays to do your due diligence. You’ll want to study their reputation, learn about their materials, and get written estimates before signing any contracts.
To make the process easier, here are eight tips to help you find and hire the best roofing contractors for your roof repair needs.
1. Study their Reputation
Before you even pick up the phone, do your research. A good place to start is by word-of-mouth recommendations. Did the business down the block get a new roof recently? Walk down and ask them about their experience.
The internet will also provide a wealth of information. Check Google and Facebook for reviews of the roofer. Check the roofer’s own site — is it functional and professional? Are they based locally? Does the website offer ample contact information? How about a photo gallery of their work?
Look up the company with the Better Business Bureau. This is especially important if you’re getting roof repairs done on the heels of a severe weather event. Unfortunately, some fly-by-night companies will come into town after a severe storm and use shady sales tactics to get business. If you see any indication of this on the BBB’s site, consider it a red flag.
2. Stay Away from High-Pressure Sales Tactics
So those fly-by-night storm chasers we mentioned above? They tend to use aggressive sales tactics to seal a deal.
If a roofer comes knocking and claims that you can be pre-approved for a new roof through your insurance, chances are, they are out to make a buck and will not deliver adequate service. In fact, they might not deliver at all — they might pocket your deductible and disappear.
A reputable contractor will not do business this way. If you feel pressured into signing a contract right away, you’re not dealing with the right company. Follow your gut and keep looking.
3. Ensure they are Properly Licensed and Insured
A reputable roofer will have plenty of safety precautions and a well-trained crew, so it’s unlikely there will be an issue during the work.
However, roofing work is still inherently dangerous. Ask to see certificates of liability insurance. A good roofer will have no issue providing this documentation.
States have various licensing requirements for roofing contractors, too. Ensure the company is properly licensed to do roofing, and make sure they will pull any potential permits that are needed in advance of starting the work.
4. Get an Estimate in Writing
A good company will be happy to provide you will detailed written estimates for the work that your roof needs.
Written estimates are wise to have. They make it easier to compare quotes if you’re getting several estimates, and they also mean you’re less likely to end up sticker shock at the end of the project.
Ask the salesperson what, if any, issues might arise that would change the estimate, too. Ensure that crew or project manager will keep the lines of communication open during the work in the event that they find additional issues that weren’t apparent in the initial estimate.
5. Find Out How Long the Project Will Take
While you are getting your estimates, ask the roofing companies how soon they can start the work and how long they expect it to take.
Roofing is done outdoors, so it’s quite possible that inclement weather can cause a delay. However, the salesperson or project manager should be able to give you a fairly accurate (and realistic) timeline.
6. Find Out What Materials They Will Use
Your options might vary depending on the type of business you own, however, learn what type of materials your roofer intends to use on your property.
Ensure you like the look of the material (if the roof is visible, this can affect resale value). Find out how long it typically lasts and what type of maintenance it will need. Yes, your roof needs some maintenance to extend it’s useful life — for a good list of general maintenance tips, check out this cheat sheet from TEMA Roofing.
Many roofing material manufacturers offer designations to companies that meet specific requirements. Find out if your roofer has earned this certification for the material they intend to use.
7. Ask About the Warranty
Find out what type of warranty the roofer can offer. Some warranties cover only the materials used or only the workmanship. Ideally, you can get a comprehensive warranty that will cover both.
Improperly installed roofing might not show it’s problems immediately, so it’s a good idea to ensure you’re getting the best warranty possible. You’ll also want to ask if there is anything you’ll need to go as far as maintenance to uphold the validity of the warranty.
8. Don’t Let Price be the Only Determining Factor
Like most things in life, when it comes to roofing, you get what you pay for.
A well-installed, properly maintained roof is an investment that can last for years to come. Although it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest roofer, it’s not necessarily the wisest choice. Consider instead the value. It’s worth it to pay for quality.
Your Due Diligence Will Help You Hire the Best Roofing Contractors
Hiring the best roofing contractors isn’t as complicated as it might seem. With a little time studying and a list of the right questions to ask, you can rest assured you’re hiring the best company for the needs of your business.
Take a look at the rest of the articles in our business resource blog to find other helpful tips and information for being a savvy, smart business owner.