How To Qualify Your Roofing Contractor
The critical success factor in any construction project is the contractor. A qualified, professional, experienced contractor knows what results are required for homeowner satisfaction, as well as what will lead to dissatisfaction down the road.
Taking the time to get to know and qualify the contractor you are considering prior to awarding your project can save endless hours of time dealing with problems down the line. A professional contractor takes pride in his work and will have no problem discussing your options, detailing his previous work experience, and providing a list of satisfied customers.
Before you make a commitment to any contractor, ask yourself if he is truly qualified by getting answers to the following questions.
1. Does the Contractor have a permanent place of business?
Your selection process should begin with this question because most dissatisfaction involves low-bid, undercapitalized contractors. If the contractor is not permanently established, how can you be confident that he will complete the work or even still be in business when/if a problem arises?
The last thing you want to do is hire a contractor who runs his “office” out of his truck. Be sure that he has a physical address, with a business phone, not just a cell phone.
2. Does the roofing company carry insurance with adequate coverage?
When deciding on a contractor, be sure that the company can provide specific, detailed information regarding their insurance coverage. They should be able to provide the name and phone number of their insurance agent so you can verify their coverage. If they cannot provide proof of coverage, contact their insurance company and ask them to fax you a copy of the policy.
3. Is the company a licensed, registered contractor, and a member in good standing of a trade association?
Don’t be taken in by a contractor just because he has a license. Generally, the license requirements are minimal and the law is often poorly enforced. A better test is to question the contractor’s commitment to his trade. Ask if he is a member of a trade association, and then contact the association to verify his membership.
4. How long has the company been in business?
If a contractor has been in business for less than five years, it could signal a potentially unstable business. Ninety percent of businesses fail within the first five years. Be sure to check references carefully, especially long-term references that refer to projects that were completed a few years prior.
5. What is the contactor’s record for complaint resolution?
Automatically reject any contractor who says they never had a complaint. The best of contractors find themselves in disputes for one reason or another.Ask the contractor for the nature of the problem and how they rectified it. You can find out how a contractor handles customer complaints is by calling the Better Business Bureau.
6. What is the company’s workmanship warranty?
Typically, contractor workmanship warranties are for one year or more. Longer warranties are not more valuable than shorter warranties. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the contractor to stand behind his warranty. The professional contractor often performs well beyond the written warranty period because he knows that this is what builds customer loyalty and referrals.
7. Does the company’s contract provide every detail?
The contractor should be able to clearly explain how they plan to perform the work and provide a detailed description of what materials will be used, including:
- Compliance with local ordinances;
- All details regarding the product being used – model number, colors, etc.
- Any warranties provided by product manufacturers;
- How they plan to handle daily cleanup of the work area;
- A detailed description of payment terms with payment schedule, method of payment and how they handle change orders;
- Details regarding inspections and your level of satisfaction.