Angie’s List: Tips for Hiring a Roofing Contractor
There are plenty of home maintenance projects that you can tackle on your own if you want to save some money. Roofing work is not one of those things. It requires expertise and the proper tools and safety equipment to do the job right. A roof not installed by a licensed professional isn’t likely to last as long. On top of that, the manufacturer’s warranty on the shingles will be voided in the event of improper installation.
Unfortunately, even when you hire a roofing contractor, some of the same problems can occur. Not all roofers are created equal. Angie’s List offers some tips for homeowners looking to hire a roofing contractor.
A three step process
Hiring the right contractor involves a three step process:
- Get at least three written estimates. Don’t settle for the first roofer who comes out and offers a bid. If you have several written estimates, you have something to compare them to. You want them in writing so there are no surprises during the project.
- Check references and credentials. The best indicator of a roofer’s quality is the satisfaction of previous customers. You should ask around for recommendations for good roofers in your area. A professional roofer will be licensed and insured. Don’t be afraid to ask to see this paperwork.
- Don’t pay too much up front. Reputable roofers will never ask to be paid in full up front. In fact, many roofers won’t accept any payment until the job is completely finished. If the contractor does ask for payment throughout the project, negotiate a contract where you are only paying in proportion to the work that has so far been finished. Make sure you hold back a portion of the cost until the project is completely finished.
Angie’s List also recommends that you keep a record of all payments. It’s important to have a paper trail in case there is a discrepancy between you and your contractor when it comes to payments. When considering roofing bids, be wary of any estimates that are considerably lower than the rest; it could be a sign that the roofer is cutting corners either in the quality of the product or the quality of the installation. Don’t be too shy to ask the contractor if he/she conducts background checks on employees as these people will be around your home for a time.
Finally, don’t ignore your gut instincts. Even if everything checks out, if you don’t quite feel right about a given contractor, don’t hire that individual. A roofing project is a significant investment and you want to be sure that you’ll be happy with the end results. It’s important that you have a connection with your contractor, that you have an established trust and an ability to communicate well with that person.