1. Do they have legitimate references and a strong reputation?
Even a small contractor will work on over a 100 homes a year. Some companies like ours work on even more than that. But most contractors only give you a handful of references if they give any at all. Anyone could produce a few people that will say they were happy.
But a quality contractor can will have a heavy online presence.
We are firm believers in education, due diligence and continuing client relations so we encourage you to check us out on Facebook and Google to hear what our clients have to say!
2. Do they have a permanent place of business?
Some people may wonder why this is important. One thought might be “well if I work with a small contractor with a low overhead, the prices may be less”. And this is a logical idea, however the small contractor working out of their home instantly has less credibility and accountability when compared to one with a physical space you can attend. Everyone knows someone who has been defrauded by a contractor whom ‘wouldn’t return calls and never completed work’. While that may not always be the result of a client-contractor exchange that lacks a business location, it certainly increases the likelihood of issues if you cannot physically locate someone.
We are conveniently at 541 Route 17m in Middletown and our office is open 8am-5pm Monday-Friday.
3. Are they fully insured?
Liability insurance covers your home against damage and it covers you against physical injury caused by the contractor. Worker’s compensation insurance is also a roofing requirement and it covers injury that may occur to an individual doing work on your home. These coverages should be an absolute ‘MUST validate’ for a homeowner because without it the risk falls back upon the homeowner and that ‘cheap’ roof just cost you way more.
Proper roofing insurance is very expensive and there are plenty of contractors that attempt to avoid carrying it.
ALWAYS REQUEST COPIES OF PROOF OF LIABILITY AND WORKERS COMPENSATION COVERAGE AND ENSURE THE DATES ARE VALID!
The biggest red flags 🚩 for a customer to which can point toward improper insurance coverage:
~ Cheap price…one that is out of line with other prices.
~ Lack of discussion regarding roof permit or no permit. Building departments require proof of proper insurance in order to issue a permit.
Insurance is not optional in roofing, yet some contractors and roofers will skimp out on this requirement.
The reason? Insurance isn’t cheap, and some would rather take their chances.
You shouldn’t be forced to take the ride with them.
Each of our reps will provide you with a copy of valid insurance coverage so you don’t even need to ask! 😉
4. How do they guarantee their work?
Many home owners assume their material warranty covers any issues that may arise with their roof… this is not true! The material warranty only covers you against manufacturing defects, THAT’S IT! And in the last 20 years that I have been in this industry, and the thousands of installations that I’ve been involved with I have only seen a handful of manufacturer defects. On the other hand, we get twice as many calls every day for roof repairs than we do replacement roofs. What this means is that many roofs leak at no fault of the materials. So whose fault is it? The contractor. The overwhelming majority of roof issues pertain directly to the installation and workmanship, not the material.
This is where a roofing contractors credentials will come into play. The Big 3 in the shingle manufacturing industry (GAF, Owens-Corning, CertainTeed) all have gone to great length to pair homeowners with a network of contractors that they have checked out. Each of them offer tiered levels of certification which correlate with experience, training, volume, business standing and confidence the manufacturer has in backing their work. Contractor’s holding the highest certification level are in a select group and only the top 2.5%-3% of roofing contractors in the Nation are at that top tier. What that certification does is unlock the strongest warranty offering which includes 25 year workmanship coverage and it is backed by the manufacturer. For example, if you have a roof system installed and it includes 25-year workmanship, the manufacturer will send you the warranty after project completion and if there are any issues related to workmanship in the 25 year period and your contractor has retired, that workmanship is still covered.
The highest certifications are as follows:
GAF – MASTER ELITE
CertainTeed – 5-STAR SELECT ShingleMaster
Owens Corning – PLATINUM PREFERRED
The reason why I’m sharing this with you is that many consumers think all roofers are the same, and that once the roof is done their roof will be problem free forever. Unfortunately this may not be the case.
So how does the contractor guarantee their work? By telling you?? That certainly shouldn’t suffice. Many contractors have workmanship warranties but they do not explain what will happen if there is a problem. All guarantees should be in writing and thoroughly discussed before you enter into any agreement. You can always visit the manufacturer website to confirm certification as well.
We are a GAF Master Elite roofing contractor and a CertinaTeed 5-Star SELECT ShingleMaster! 👍🏼
5. Are they transparent and do they operate ethically?
These days, almost anybody with a bit of time and ability can paint a portrait of legitimacy which isn’t necessarily representative of reality.
A little bit of digging can be your friend and highlight area’s that should be cause for concern.
If a company is set up as a corporation, which roofing companies typically should be (corporation, LLC, partnership) they are required to register with New York State. Visiting ‘NYS DOS business look-up’ allows you to verify registration and confirm the date and name/s of the owner.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is another helpful source that can provide important company details. Check for accreditation and rating and look to see who is registered as the principal owner. If the BBB owner name doesn’t match the known owner, that is a 🚩 that runs counter to ethical business operation.
One can speculate the reasons for a business owner operating in the shadows but honestly, none of the potential reasons are good.
We operate in the age of technology and appearances aren’t always what they appear so utilize that technology to do your due diligence.