8 Major Red Flags When Choosing a Roofing Contractor

It covers your stuff and keeps you dry. You might not give a lot of thought to your roof but it’s pretty important. So, if you need work done on your existing roof or a new roof installed, choosing a reputable contractor is essential.

Roofing company red flags to look out for

We all know there are some cowboys out there who take customers’ money and do a substandard job. Often to the point where the work needs redoing. But, how can you tell the bad contractors from the good? Here are some red flags that signal you should steer clear.

  • If they ask for cash, especially upfront and won’t provide a receipt. Bad contractors will seek to avoid a paper chain that can trace them back to their own bad work. You must have a paper chain to protect you in case you’re left high and dry.
  • Similarly, if they want to do everything on a handshake. Get everything in writing, so you can refer back to it if you need to. Any reputable contractor will provide you with a contract.
  • If any of your work requires permission from your local building authority, look out for contractors that brush off the need for a permit. If you need a permit, get a permit, even if it means the work takes longer.
  • It might sound good when a contractor says they can finish faster than anticipated, but beware of rush jobs. You want someone who will take due care and attention when completing your project. That way, you’ll have peace of mind that work has been done correctly.
  • Leaving a mess is a sure sign of sloppy work. A reputable contractor will take responsibility for cleaning up the jobsite when they’re done for the day. Not only is it good manners, but it’s also a safety factor. Mess left lying around could be hazardous. Don’t hire anyone who leaves a mess.
  • When contractors are working a job, you should see them wearing proper PPE at all times. Failing to do so shows disregard for safety and that’s not something you want when it comes to your home improvement.
  • Also, failing to show evidence of the proper roofers insurance cover and licences should definitely be a red flag. Before you hire someone, make sure to ask about their insurance and licensing. You don’t want to be left liable if they aren’t covered.
  • Finally, if the company has changed their name more than once, this may be because they have a bad reputation and they’re trying to cover their tracks. Keep an eye out for this tactic, which cowboy builders use all the time. Check how long they’ve been operating, then ask how long the company has been going. If there’s a discrepancy, ask why.

So, how do you choose the right roofing contractor?

Anyone who’s had a home improvement horror story will tell you that cheaper usually doesn’t mean better. You get what you pay for. So, don’t just jump at the lowest quote you’re offered. A bad roofing job could leave you out of pocket. Trust us, you’ll be better off.

Word of mouth

The best place to start when hiring a roofer is to seek out recommendations. Ask your neighbours or local homeowners association. Ask on social media or groups like Nextdoor. Once you have your recommendations, check online reviews or contact the companies themselves and ask for references from past work.

Shop around

They say you should get at least three estimates from different contractors to compare quotes. Make sure you get as much information as possible to make an informed choice. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to, including:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can I see any past work?
  • Can you show me references?
  • Can I see your licence?
  • What insurance do you have?
  • What happens if someone is injured on my property?
  • What about unplanned repairs?
  • What are your health and safety policies?
  • Do you charge for waste material disposal? And do you recycle any of it?
  • What is your bad weather policy?
  • Do you offer a free site inspection?
  • Do you work with homeowner’s insurance to file claims?
  • How will you stay on schedule?
  • What is your training or certification?
  • Is your work covered by manufacturer warranty?
  • Do you accept finance? Credit cards?

If they’re a trustworthy company, they’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. It also shows you’ve done your research and won’t be taken advantage of.

Should you go with an independent contractor or roofing company?

There are pros and cons for both.

Independent contractors are usually best for quick repairs and often will specialise in certain areas, with lower prices. Working with an independent contractor also means you’ll have a consistent point of contact for the duration of the project.

Roofing companies are better equipped to handle larger jobs like installing a new roof. They’ll have access to more materials, training and, importantly, their work is more likely to come under manufacturer warranties. Their prices might be a little higher, but they’re also more likely to offer discounts and free consultations. Unlike with an independent contractor, it’s likely you’ll have multiple points of contact throughout the process.

Whatever you decide, make sure the contractor or company you choose has clear references, trusted reviews and the right qualifications for the job.

Your roof is a big investment. Take care when choosing a contractor and you’ll be all set.

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