The whole reason you hire a contractor is because they have the knowledge, skills, and time to provide a service that you need. If installing a roof was simple and easy, we’d all just do it ourselves.
There are lots of great contractors who provide exceptional service.
Unfortunately, there are also some not so great contractors out there who take advantage of a homeowner’s ignorance.
Even without becoming an expert on roofing systems, you can evaluate a contractor by the answers they give to questions like these.
Questions You Should Ask Potential Roofing Contractors
1: How long have you been in business?
There’s no substitute for experience.
Of course, a shady contractor could lie about their experience, but you’ll be able to tell a lot by asking followup questions.
Ask how they got into the roofing business in the first place, and how they learned their trade. In many cases, you’ll be able to tell if something is off.
2: How long has the owner of this businesses been heading up this company?
If you’re talking to the owner, you’re likely to get an origin story. If you’re talking to an employee, you’re going to learn all kinds of useful information.
Watch out for employees who excessively complain about management, or companies that change ownership frequently.
Issues with management are likely to permeate every level of a contracting company. Owners that suck at accountability don’t lead teams that deliver on time. Sloppy management creates sloppy work.
You might also want to ask who specifically will be installing your roof if it’s not the person you’ve just met. Ask about safety rules and protocols, too, since a safety minded team is likely to be more careful and meticulous in every aspect of their job.
3: Can I go see any of your past jobs?
Residential roofing contractors might not want to give you addresses of previous customers due to privacy concerns, but they should at least have photos or something that they can show.
Watch for hesitancy and hedging here. This is the equivalent of asking for references, and they should provide.
You can also ask if they’ll connect you with any past customers who will are willing to share their experience working with this company.
This is a good time to ask about the team’s track record for staying on schedule, too.
4: How were your installers trained?
On-the-job training is a good start. A competent contractor needs more than that, though.
Especially when it comes to premium materials like metal roofing, contractors should be trained by the manufacturer so that improper installation doesn’t cause problems in the future.
Ask about licensing and certifications, insurance, workers compensation, and if you have any doubt at all, ask for proof that the contractor has all of these things.
It’s also smart to ask about whether or not you need building permits for a roofing job in your locality and determine who’s responsible for requesting them.
5: Other things you might want to know…
You might want to ask about your contractor’s plans and procedures regarding:
- Material removal – will they have dumpsters?
- Property damage
- Important contacts
- Pipes and electrical penetrations
- Situations that might affect price
- Attic inspections
If you’re not satisfied with the answers you hear, or something just doesn’t feel right to you, it’s okay to keep looking. You want to have a great experience, and that means choosing someone you like and trust.