Five Essential Dos and Don'ts For Choosing a Professional Roofer

Whether it's roof repair or installation of a new roof, hiring a professional roofer can seem like a headache. However, by following these tips, you can easily find the best professional for the job.

Shop around for a roofer

Word of mouth is essential for locally based roof contractors, so asking your friends, relatives, or neighbors who they recommend can be a good way to find a reliable roofer. Some other local resources to scout for recommendations include:

  • Hardware stores or building supply stores
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Trade organizations or unions
  • Yellow Pages

Interview several contractors, and get at least three written estimates. This may seem like a lot of work, but it is much less time consuming than fixing the myriad of problems that can result from shoddy workmanship.

Don't let cost be your only consideration

The best roofers are usually so in demand that they don't have to consider price competition. The incentive to hire this roofer, besides quality work, may be an agreement to work with you down the road if you experience any problems with your roof. If you drive too hard a bargain with your roofer, you may be sacrificing quality of workmanship or materials as well.

Do research your roofer

Before signing any contract, verify that the roofer you choose can provide:

  • Proof of general liability insurance and workers compensation. Contact the company's insurer to verify this, and request a copy of the insurance certificate.
  • Good references. Be sure and check each reference.
  • A business address, tax identification number, and business license if that is required in your area.
  • Proof of licensure if required in your state.

Don't be afraid to ask questions

A roofer who's worth his shingles will take the time to answer your questions up front. If he or she is evasive, rushed, or impatient, these may be warning signs to pay attention to.

Do get it in writing

Never hire a roofer without a signed contract. The contract should be as detailed as possible, and should be signed by both the roofer and the homeowner(s). The contract should cover areas such as:

  • Time frame for completion of work
  • Work schedule, including working hours and site clean up
  • Specific products to be used, costs, and payment method
  • Legal issues regarding permits and contract

Take the time to find the right roofer, and take comfort in having a solid roof over your head.

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