Tips For Hiring A Licensed Roofing Contractor
by Gregg Wallick, President of Best Roofing
One of the best ways to select a roofing contractor is to ask other condo board members and property managers for recommendations. When you stop to consider just how important your roof is to the rest of your building, you really should not trust the first name you find in your local yellow pages. You can also contact a professional roofing association for referrals. Professional associations have stringent guidelines for their members to follow.
As you look at the different roofing companies in the area, whether you are planning to hire them to perform a simple repair or to completely replace your roof, they must be properly insured. There are two basic forms of insurance any reputable roofing contractor is going to have as both are required by law. First and foremost, they must carry liability insurance that will cover the cost of any damage their employees do to your property or that of your neighbors or you may end up footing the bill.
Secondly, the roofing contractor you are planning to hire must carry workers compensation insurance for each of the employees he has working on your roof. What you need to realize is that if they do not have this insurance and one of their employees gets injured on the job, your homeowner's insurance could end up being held liable for any medical expenses as well as many other costs. You should always ask to see proof of current insurance before you sign any type of contract, let alone allow them to begin working on your roof.
The next thing on your checklist is to ensure that any roofing company you hire is properly licensed to operate in the state. There are several reasons for this, starting with the fact that the state has established some very high standards when it comes to roofing and before they will issue a license, the contractor must prove that they meet these standards. Anyone can tell you that they are an expert roofer, being licensed by the state is the only way you can be relatively certain that the company you are planning to hire knows what they are doing. An unlicensed contractor can end up causing more harm than good and costing you even more money.
What About a Guarantee?
While you will find that most roofing material manufacturers offer some form of warranty on their products, you need to talk to your choice of roofing contractor about their guarantees as well. Any reputable roofing contractor who is worth hiring is going to offer you at the very least a one year warranty on his workmanship, whether he is performing a repair or replacing your entire roof. This should be in writing and cover leaks as well as defects in both workmanship and materials and should state what they will do in the event of a problem in detail.
. . . and Permits?
Your contract should call for all work to be performed in accordance with all applicable building codes. The building codes set minimum safety standards for construction. Generally, a building permit is required whenever structural work is involved. The contractor should obtain all necessary building permits. If this is not specified in the contract, you may be held legally responsible for failure to obtain the required permit. The building department will inspect your roof when the project has reached a certain stage and again when the roof is completed.
You’ve Chosen the Contractor…
Make sure everything is in writing. No matter how reliable a roofing contractor might appear to be, how well they are recommended or how long they have been in business, you should never allow them to start work without two very important signed documents. The first is a signed estimate of how much the work is going to cost. While most estimates have a built is variance that is stated, this keeps the contractor from going over the top and you from ending up with a bill that is much higher than you expected to pay.
You should also have a signed contract that confirms not only the final cost, but any deposits that you are required to put down and any payment schedule you have set up. It should also cover the estimated start and completion dates so that you know when to expect the roofing contractor to show up with his crew and how long you can expect them to be on your roof. The contract should also state what brand of materials will be used and how cleanup is going to be handled. The contract is one of the best ways to prevent problems before you begin. The contract protects you and the contractor by including everything you have both agreed upon.