“It’s Not You, It’s Me…” Finding the Right Roofing Contractor

Congratulations! You’ve decided it’s time to put a little money back into your building and now comes the fun part…finding a dependable roofing contractor.

Okay, so maybe this part actually makes you start to sweat a bit and your stomach gets all knotted up and you can feel a panic attack coming on.

This process can be a lot like a first date. Everybody is on their best behavior and you go out of your way to give that perfect first impression. Similar to a divorce, ending a relationship with a bad contractor can also be very costly.

Finding a Roofing Contractor

Here are 5 tips on how to weed out those frogs and find a Prince Charming for your project so you don’t have to worry about breaking up.

#1 – References

Most contractors are willing to provide a stock list of HAND-PICKED customers that will sing their praises. You may not be able to completely avoid this but you can ask for certain criteria like:

Set a minimum length of time the contractor and their customer have been working together. The longer the list of client references with long histories the better the chance this contractor does things right.

Ask for references of similar roofing projects to yours.

Get project profiles from the contractor when you’re dealing with larger projects.

Roofing References

CALL! What good are references anyway if you’re not actually going to call anyone?

#2 – Contact the Roofing Material Manufacturer

With just a little bit of leg work you might be able to narrow down your candidate list with the help of the roofing manufacturer:

Ask for an approved roofing contractor list for your area.

Ask the roofing manufacturer if they keep statistics on their contractors such as total number of roof installations, final inspection results, any awards they may have, etc.

Length of time the contractor been an approved applicator.

#3 – Schedule a Sit-down

Don’t shield yourself and rely on phone calls and emails. Long walks on the beach will only last for so long so use this opportunity to find out more about the contractor and the company.

How long have they been in business?

Does the person sitting across from you seem to be knowledgeable?

Do you feel comfortable with the person or does it seem like you’re just being thrown Salesman 101 lines?

Review their scope of work with them. Also there is nothing wrong with showing a scope of work you received from a competitor but please remove names and pricing.

Roofing Contractor Meeting

#4 – Review Their Work

What better way to judge workmanship than actually taking a look at past projects? This could be a great opportunity to see what you might potentially be buying.

Ask to see a project or two in the area.

How does contractor A’s proposal look compared to contractor B’s? (i.e. Napkin proposal vs. professionally bound with photos, drawings)

Attention to detail here usually carries over to the installation.

#5 – Compare Apples to Apples

You’ve sat down with a couple of roofing contractors and looked at some past projects and you’re probably starting to feel fairly knowledgeable, right?   Good. Now it’s time to dive into the details and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting and why a contractor is doing what he is proposing.

Cheaper up front may actually lead to more money spent down the road.

If one contractor’s price seems considerably lower than all the others consider why this may be. Watch out for lower quality materials, missing details that will require change orders and cutting corners.

Is the proposal detailed or vague? “Install new metal” doesn’t necessarily mean the same as “Install new 24 gauge steel metal with a Kynar finish” and neither does the price.

Create a list of questions and go back to the roofing contractor for clarification. Don’t make your decision based on assumptions.


A final word of advice…

The biggest piece of advice I can leave you with is to know exactly what you’re buying. I mean if I offered you a great deal on a Mercedes and you found out it didn’t come with a motor you’d probably be a little upset. But hey, it looks good from the outside doesn’t it?

Channel your inner 3 year old and ask why.  A good contractor will want to help you understand and will be willing to answer your questions.

Looking for a reliable commercial roofing contractor?

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