Having a new roof installed is a large undertaking and a major investment for most homeowners! Being both homeowners and running a roofing company in the Seattle / Puget Sound area, we wanted to share our thoughts on how to find a roofer. If you are reading this article and need a new roof, you are taking a great first step: doing your research before you hire a roofing company. Let’s jump into the seven tips of how to find the roofer that’s right for you.
- Get a personal Referral
The best way to find a roofing contractor is to get a referral from someone you trust. Ask your neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers if they’ve personally had a roof installed or if they know of anyone else who has.
- Online Reviews
They are an excellent alternative if you do not know anyone you trust whom has previously worked with a roofer. With online reviews, you get a sampling of many previous clients of a roofing company:
- Google Reviews
Make sure you thoroughly look through the reviews. If the reviews are all five stars and overwhelmingly long and detailed, be wary. They may be fake reviews, especially if they all sound like they were written by the same person!
Real people tend to leave short, snappy reviews about loving a roofer. A legitimate roofing company will have primarily positive reviews, but it’s often normal for them to have some displeased customers as well. Just make sure you read why they are displeased and do not be afraid to ask the roofer about those bad reviews to hear both sides of the story.
- Consider all the factors when it comes to finalizing your roofer candidates
When installed correctly using the best materials, a roof should last twenty to fifty years. Because of this, you shouldn’t be making your decision solely based upon the recommendation of people who have gotten their roofs in just the last year or two. Getting a referral from someone with a new roof can help you determine that a contractor is professional and reliable, but it might not be the best indication of the quality of their work. Try to find people with new roofs and older roofs that have stood the test of time over several years as well.
- Check the Roofer’s Website
Review the your top roofing contractor’s websites. You should be able to view a roofing project portfolio with photos of their work. Professional roofing companies should be doing the work themselves with their own employees, and not hiring subcontractors.
- Talk to the Best Roofing Candidates Directly
It’s important that you narrow it down to a few choices, ideally three, before you make your final decision. These are the three contractors you should contact. Get quotes from them and ask them questions.
- Do you use sub-contractors to work on any of your company’s work?
Sub-contractors do not have the same investment in your new roof and the company as full-time professional roofers. They come and go and do not have the same attention to detail that employees would have. It’s also very important to have full-time company employees who are licensed and insured for liability reasons as well.
- Are they Insured?
Always verify the roofing contractor’s credentials! Any roofing contractor that’s worth paying for should be fully licensed based on your state’s regulations. They should also be able to show you proof of insurance, including worker’s compensation and liability insurance. You should not only ask the contractor to show proof of their insurance, but you should also call their insurance provider to ensure the information is valid.
- Customer Service
The best roofing companies will differentiate themselves on the phone. When you call, they should actually answer their phones rather than send you to an answering machine every time you call. If they do happen to miss your call, they should return your call promptly. On the phone, you should be met with friendly, helpful staff. If you aren’t, you shouldn’t be expecting anything better from the roofing contractors themselves.
- Make sure you have a contract with your roofer!
You should get all the terms of the job in writing including how long the roofing project will take and the size of the crew needed to complete the job. Both you and your roofer should be able to arrive at an agreement in writing. The roofing company also shouldn’t be asking you to pay for the entire job upfront. A deposit with payment in full upon completion of the roof is standard
You should always read any paperwork given to you by your contractor, including the contract and the warranties. Ideally, the materials and labor should be guaranteed for at least five years. However, the materials themselves should be protected by a warranty of 20 to 40 years.