Roof maintenance (and replacement at some point) is necessary to your home. Finding the right roofing company for you is essential. We all have different things that are important to us, so figure out what is most important for you. Is it quality workmanship? Is it warranty? Is it price? Is it a financing option? Is it timing? Do you prefer a large company or a small company? Do you want a local business or a sole proprietor? There are no right or wrong answers, just personal preference. Some things to consider when making your decision are:
Many people are more comfortable with referrals or recommendations from friends and family who have used the services of a particular contractor so don’t hesitate to ask around. If you’re new to the area, consider checking out the local Better Business Bureau online;
Before you replace your roof, you’ll want to make sure that you have to replace it. Call in a professional or two for their opinion.
One of the most important things to remember with your roof is that you should be inspecting it and maintaining it on a regular basis. Once a year consider having a roofer inspect it. Most companies will charge a flat fee for this service.
The age of your roof will tell you a lot about its condition. For example, the average shingled roof lasts about 15-20 years in our climate so you can use that as a barometer for how long your roof should last.
Consider the environmental impact of the roofing material you choose. You’ll want to make sure you’ve pre-qualified all of the contractors prior to having them bid on your roofing job so you know that you’re comparing “apples to apples”.
‘Google’ the company or individual to see if complaints show up.
If they have a website, read about the business. How long have they been in business? What types of payment do they accept? Call their office and make an appointment to meet.
Include in the basis for your final decision the thoroughness of the quote. For example, if you have skylights, is replacement addressed? Will flashings be replaced? Has the chimney been inspected? If so, does it need to be repointed prior to reroof? What is the condition of your gutter system? What is the procedure if the decking is substandard? Are there hidden costs or is everything dealt with? Will there be a daily and final clean up of your job site? Will gardens and property be protected by the company during the job?
Expect and insist on the following:
A current business license.
A minimum of $2,000,000 liability insurance.
A WorkSafeBC ‘Clearance letter’. Just having a WorkSafeBC account number DOES NOT necessarily mean that a company is paid up and in good standing. Protect yourself. If the company IS paid up and in good standing you as the homeowner are not liable for costs associated with accidents or injuries to workers that may happen during your job.
A minimum of five letters of references showing names, dates and addresses. If you are so inclined, drive by the addresses to see the work for yourself.
Photographs of their work.
DON’T choose a contractor where you are expected to pay 50% or more up front;
DON’T go with someone who you have an uneasy feeling about;
DON’T be put off by a contractor who cannot start your job the next day. In the height of roofing season, in particular, you should expect that they can’t start right away. Solid companies with solid reputations have a job board that fills up quickly. Ask for a time frame to see if it meets with your needs and be flexible. Remember roofing is weather dependent;
DON’T be bullied into the hard sell – take your time.
You DO NOT have to sign a contract that moment. Be wary of a “Special price for today only”. Ask yourself, “Why is that?”
DON’T make your decision based on fear. ‘Your roof looks terrible, we need to start tomorrow but of course I’ll need a signed contract right now.”