How do I hire the right roofer?

Make sure your roofing company does the job right. Here's what to ask potential roofing pros.
Does your roof need repairs? Or does it need to be replaced completely?

Make sure to ask these questions when talking to roofers you're considering before you decide who to hire.

    1. How long have you been in business? You want a company with roots in the community and a long list of referrals. However, if they have been around for under three years, rely more heavily on the referrals and be very thorough on checking their work.

    2. May I get a list of referrals? Check these to discover if the company is reliable, easy to work with and responsive. How does it react to complaints? Does it address issues uncovered during the work process? Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau for major complaints. It also never hurts to check if there's any litigation against the company.

    3. Are you bonded, licensed and insured? Verify the documentation. This assures you that the work will be done to professional standards and codes and that both you and the workers will be protected in case of accident or injury. Do NOT allow work to begin without checking Certificates of Insurance for both liability and Worker's Compensation.

    4. What certifications do you carry? If they are up-to-date, it shows they are intent on keeping up with the most recent developments in the industry.

    5. Do you drug test employees? This offers you a higher level of security for those you are allowing on your property.

    6. Will you acquire the roofing permits? The company should handle this, not you.

    7. Will you be doing the work or sub-contracting? Know who's going to be on your property and will be running the worksite. If it is a subcontractor, you'll need to ask the same questions you asked when hiring this company.

    8. What about debris removal? Make sure cleanup will be done to your satisfaction and if it is included in the estimate.

    9. What about followup? Most roofs come with a guarantee, but followup work varies by company. Their workmanship should be under warranty for at least a year. Clearly know what you can expect after the roof is in place. Hiring a company closer to your home may improve response time for any post-work issues.

Things to avoid

  • Never hire any contractor who asks you to pay for the entire job up-front.

  • Never settle for an oral agreement over any work needed. Everything should be documented clearly in writing.

  • Never pay in cash. A deposit of one-third of the total price is standard procedure. Pay only by check or credit card.

  • Never pay in full unless the work has been completed.

  • Never pay in full without a final inspection.

  • Never pay in full until material and worker's lien releases have both been received.

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