No one wakes up giddy with excitement to pay for a new roof. The simple fact is, the average homeowner replaces their roof about 1.3 times during their lifetime, meaning we’ve all got to do it at some point. With so much paid advertising out there, it can be hard to sift through various offerings and pinpoint what is important to look for when searching for a quality roofing contractor in your area.
Here are our 7 best tips for you to find a roofing contractor you’ll be happy with:
1. Ask the contractor for references.
Most contractors obviously won’t give you references who’ll speak negatively about them, so if the contractor can’t give you any references, that’s a red flag. Finding customers
who had a positive experience should be easy for a quality roofing contractor. Those who can’t find anyone to say something nice about them either haven’t been in business long or don’t do good work.
2. Check Google reviews.
Googling “roofing contractors near me” can potentially give you hundreds of results. Start by reading their overall rating and the number of reviews they have. If a contractor has a 5 star rating but only two reviews, it’s possible the sample size isn’t an accurate reflection of their quality. A high-rated contractor with at least 100 reviews is typically a large enough sample size to reflect the customer’s experience.
3. Only hire a licensed and insured contractor.
Make sure to have your contractor show you a copy of their insurance certificate. Michigan law requires a roofing contractor to maintain a current builder license and carry a minimum of $500,000 in liability and workman’s comp insurance. Roofing replacement is a fairly large remodel project and you don’t want to get financially screwed if anything goes wrong just because your contractor wasn’t insured.
4. Make sure your roofing contractor is certified by a major manufacturer.
The process of getting certified by a major manufacturer is not that different than the process you are going through right now to find a roofing contractor for your project. Shingle manufacturers go through a thorough vetting process before certifying a contractor. They ensure that the contractor is licensed, insured, and typically require that they be in business for a number of years before being accepted. Additionally, roofs installed by certified contractors typically come with a longer and more comprehensive warranty on both the material and workmanship. Being certified by a major manufacturer doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality, but most contractors who don’t meet the criteria also don’t stay in the programs for long.
5. Ask your friends and neighbors.
Asking your neighbors is also a great way to get honest feedback. Most people aren’t willing to refer someone who they personally were not satisfied with, because the perception is that it reflects poorly on them. Not only that, but most homes in a given neighborhood were constructed within a similar time period. Not all roofing projects are the same, but a contractor with experience working on similar projects will have a better understanding of some of the uniquenesses surrounding the architecture and construction of your home.
6. Ask questions about the contractor’s warranty.
Typically there are two parts to every contractor’s warranty. The first is the warranty on the material itself. Most shingle manufacturers offer a warranty against manufacturing defects, but each warranty is different when you dive into the fine print. The second and equally important component of a warranty is the workmanship guarantee. This is the contractor’s guarantee against leaking. The state minimum is typically one year, but a quality contractor should have no problem warranting your roof against leaking for a minimum of 10, with some offering workmanship warranties up to 25 years and beyond.
7. Actually read the contract’s terms and conditions.
There is nothing worse than completing a project and receiving an invoice far larger than you budgeted for. Read carefully (out loud if that helps) and check all the contract boxes to ensure your expectations are covered in writing. A good contractor will let you know in advance of any additional and potentially unforeseen costs, and their roofing contract should call attention to how they’ll handle pricing changes should they arise.