Choosing a roofing contractor that will install your roofing properly is easily as important as using quality material. Most roofing contractors are reliable craftsmen, but when the economy is growing and/or there is a lot of work to be done, as in areas hit by recent hurricanes or hail, inexperienced roofers often look for a piece of the pie.
This guide will arm you with the most important questions to ask a roofing contractor before hiring them. Quite a few sites list questions to ask contractors. We’re different because we also give details about what you should expect to hear from a legitimate roofing contractor that is worth considering for the critical work of roofing your home or business.
Note to hurricane victims: We recommend that you never hire a contractor that comes to you looking for work. Every established roofing contractor in your area has more work than it can handle. Roofing crews are flooding your area from across the country.
Many inexperienced roofers and con artists are going door-to-door looking for work or an easy dollar. Your first call should be to FEMA at (800) 621-3362. FEMA can supply you with a list of legitimate roofing contractors that have been screened to ensure they are experienced, licensed and insured. In some areas, FEMA is handling the arrangements for homeowners to have their homes repaired.
Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor Before Signing a Contract
Your questions should start with general issues about the business and the roofing crew. If the contractor gives satisfactory answers to them, then asking specific questions about the materials, processes and schedule will help you narrow your search for a trustworthy roofing contractor.
General roofing contractor questions and appropriate answers:
Q: How long has the company been in business?
You want a roofer that has “seen it all,” i.e., repaired and installed hundreds of roofs like yours. The owner of the company should have at least 10 years in the roofing business as an owner, preferably, or at minimum working as a crew leader for someone else.
Q: Are you licensed, and can I have a copy of your license?
Most states require contractors to have a license issued by a state agency. In Michigan, for example, it is called the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). In California, it is the California State Licensing Board. When applying for the license, the roofer must demonstrate knowledge and adherence to building codes and proof of insurance.
Some states require that the contractor be bonded (see below). Most state licensing agencies allow homeowners to quickly verify online or by phone that the contractor’s license is current.
Q: What happens if a worker falls off my roof, or you damage my home? In other words, does the company have worker’s compensation insurance and liability insurance?
Worker’s compensation insurance covers the employees in case they are injured on the job. Without it, an injured worker is more likely to sue the homeowner to cover medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Liability insurance covers you if the roofing company damages your home or your property. Some homeowner’s insurance policies won’t pay in such cases.