What are the hallmarks of the best residential roofing contractor? Should you look for a local address, manufacturers’ credentials, neighbors’ testimonials, or anything else? What makes one residential roofing contractor stand above the rest? This is not an academic question if your home needs roof repair, maintenance, or full roof replacement.
Paperwork is the grease that moves the business world. Despite computers, we all trust paper more. So look for these important documents when screening roofers:
- State and local licenses to operate as a roofer or building contractor
- Workers compensation protection and liability insurance
- Certificates from manufacturers to verify factory training in systems, methods, and materials of roof installation
I Hear You
After pushing aside any residential roofer who cannot provide even the basic paperwork, you next want to screen for communication. Why? Because the last thing you need is a partially completed roof and nothing but busy signals when you call the “home office.”
Does the roofing contractor provide multiple channels for access? Consider these methods of being open and clear:
- Telephone system with voicemail recording (and a mailbox that is not perpetually full!)
- Business cards with working emails and telephone numbers printed (not handwritten) on them
- A 24-hour answering service
- Online messaging
- Email addresses that work
- A local, physical address of an office
Did the sales representative make herself or himself available for questions after a presentation? Will the project leader or site manager explain the steps to your particular residential roofing project? Do the office staff members answer the telephone promptly and make sure to answer your questions?
What about online communication? Many roofers have helpful advice in their blog pages, providing free customer education. Is the reading material good, useful, and largely non-promotional?
Customer reviews are vital for any business. We all implicitly trust person-on-the-street reviews and ratings far more than a company’s self-declarations of greatness. Does the residential roofer you are screening provide customer reviews?
Read the reviews, and ask the prospective roofer for photographs of finished work. If possible, get a few addresses of recently completed jobs near you. Cruise by and see:
- Is the job neat?
- Does the roof seem to lift and showcase the property?
- Is everything in crisp, straight lines?
Ask around, too. You will be surprised how many homeowners in your informal network of neighbors know a little about roofing. Perhaps they or a family member of theirs had a roof done recently. Get word-of-mouth recommendations.
Let’s be frank about financing. Many residential roofers expect full payment upfront. Why? Because they are using your money to pay off bills from other jobs, and cannot get your roofing materials until those overdue bills are paid. Walk away!
A reliable, local roofer establishes good credit and good business relationships locally. That roofer should be asking for a third of the project funds upfront, at the most.
A few select roofers ask only for payment in full at the end of the job, after a final inspection. Work with those roofers. Your investment is in safe hands.
On the delicate subject of money, a roof is not a cheap investment. Look at the bids and think: is this a fair cost? Does one roofer’s number seem unusually low, or oddly high?
You expect the roofer to turn a reasonable profit on the work, but consider that most roofers pay about the same price for their raw materials.
Most of the cost is labor and equipment. Be willing to pay for good labor. Ask if the roofer uses day crews (random workers picked up from the parking lots of home improvement stores). Ask if they use subcontractors from other companies (if they do, move on!). Be willing to pay for good equipment that increases efficiency. You will get a better roof, faster.
Walk the Walk
That sales representative who came out to provide a written estimate on your home should meet some basic benchmarks for excellence. The representative should:
- Inspect your roof closely, even possibly walking on it
- Measure the roof accurately
- Go into your attic to observe the underside of sheathing, check the rafters, and see what condition your insulation and ventilation is in
- Thoroughly explain your options in roofing material, product lines, price points, and the various layers of a good roofing system (sheathing, underlayment, ice and water shield, starter courses, ridge vents, and so on)
- Provide a line-item estimate with the scope of work spelled out
- Discuss financing available through the residential roofer
If you think this is an impossible list of standards, you have not met the folks of Yellowhammer Roofing. To meet every mark on this list, contact the trained professionals of Yellowhammer Roofing. We are simply the best local residential roofing contractor. We are prepared to prove it, one job at a time.