Finding a professional contractor is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice and education. So take your time and choose wisely. Finding a good contractor and enjoying the outcome is just a matter of doing a little homework. Communication will always be the most important aspect in any business transaction; therefore, spend a little time with estimators. Contractors differ in so many ways, from attitudes and demeanors, to business and accounting skills, to product and installation knowledge, to personnel training programs, to the overall willingness to satisfy. It takes the whole package to make it all work smoothly and very few contractors can put this all together. Listed below and on the following pages is a brief summary of some of the items we feel are important for consumers to look for when hiring a contractor.
1. Slow Down:
There is no reason, even in a hail storm to make hasty decisions.
2. Choosing Which Contractors To Take Estimates From:
If time is money, then you will want to choose wisely three “GOOD” local contractors to get estimates from. Closely evaluating marketing material, talking to friends and family or calling one of the roofing associations makes good common sense. Contact the Better Business Bureau (214) 220-2000 and evaluate and compare the companies’ reported length of time in business, to the Better Business Bureau’s membership date.
Chances are the company was actually started very close to the initial membership date. If there is a big difference in time, there is probably a problem. Keep in mind, the Better Business Bureau reports the same inception date as given to them by the contractor. There are no background checks of any kind completed by the BBB. If the company has a satisfactory rating then maybe that contractor is worth considering.
3. Meeting With The Consultants:
Always meet your estimators; one of these consultants will be the person with whom you will have the most contact during the installation of your new roof. If you have a spouse, find a time that is convenient for both you and your spouse to attend. This is not a sales ploy, it’s good marriage counseling. If a mistake is made in selecting the wrong contractor, it’s much more bearable if both spouses have made the decision together; besides, two heads are better than one. On a personal note, daytime appointments are greatly appreciated, however, for your convenience we do of course work evenings and weekends. Closely evaluate each estimator’s product suggestions.
Certain products have manufacturers’ rebates, which may influence an estimator’s choice of product for your home. Also, listen closely to each estimator’s suggested installation procedures. It’s not necessary for you to be a roofing expert; common sense and attention to the details are the keys to obtaining a quality roof. Find out the company’s specialization. Many companies do not specialize in the larger homes since they are neither properly equipped nor lack the expertise to perform to this caliber of clientele.
4. Evaluating Estimates Thoroughly:
All roofing contractors and adjusters estimate on a “per square” basis. One square equals 100 square feet. Always ask the estimator to write down the number of squares he/she has calculated it will take to complete your project. Many times the difference in price is due to the discrepancy in squares. Most contractors’ price per square is relatively competitive, so if you like a particular contractor whose price is out of line, evaluate the estimated number of squares and discuss it with him/her. Some roofs are very complicated and there could have been a mistake in calculating the proper number of squares.
Proposals should be Very Specific in what is included and what costs extra. They should spell out everything that is to be done in regards to the products, installation procedures and payment terms. Always review your payment terms very carefully and Do Not Hire a company who asks for all the money up front. Balance upon completion is the standard rule. If a company does not pay for the labor or materials, the crew and suppliers can legally place liens on your property even if you have already paid the contractor in full. Always ask your contractor to supply you with a Waiver of Lien once your project is complete. Verify that building permits are being included in the estimates and are attained before the contractors begin your project.
5. Making Your Decision, And Being Polite To The Crews:
Crewmembers always do a better job if they like the customer. A kind word from a customer is a pleasant breeze on a hot summer day; you’ll see and appreciate the professionalism that is returned. If there is something still not being done the way you expected, contact the contractor and expect an almost immediate response.