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Tips for Hiring a Residential Roofing Contractor

Shopping for a new roof is something the average person does once maybe twice in life. Unless you have experience in the trades (construction related professions) you likely wouldn’t know where to begin, what to look for, or even what questions to ask the contractors you are considering hiring. In fact, you probably found this article by searching “how do I find a good roofer” or “how to avoid hiring the wrong roofer” because you are looking for some direction. We are here to help! Below are a few helpful tips to ensure you choose the right roofing contractor for your job.

Hire Local

Imagine this, it’s 11pm with heavy downpour and for some reason your roof has a leak, or due to natural causes was compromised and water is getting into your home. You are going to want your roofer nearby to help. Good luck getting an out-of-town roofing company to arrive in a timely manner (yes people make this mistake). Ask your prospective contractors if they provide emergency assistance and what that looks like. See what their workmanship warranties cover and for how long.

Get at least two or three bids

Every contractor will have a different approach for your home. A great contractor will ask probing questions to get an idea of what you want/need and then propose the best solutions for getting you there. You do not want to go with the first bid you receive for a few reasons:

  1. The most obvious is you need to compare pricing. Discuss your budget with your contractor and see what options are possible for what you want. Because each contractor’s approach will vary, pricing is likely to vary. You want to avoid low ball bids because it likely means something is unaccounted for that you will have to pay for later, or corners are being cut. If you receive a ridiculously high bid, communicate that with your contractor and make sure you are comparing apples to apples with other bids. They should be happy to walk you through their proposed roofing solution and explain where the cost is coming from as well as what can be done to fit your budget. The more you communicate with your contractor, the happier you will be with the outcome.
  2. You need to see if it is a relational fit. Getting a new roof is a big deal and you want it to be treated that way. The last thing you or any contractor wants is a bad working relationship. You may get a killer deal on a roof but absolutely dread having to deal with the people involved. Even worse, you may pay top dollar for a roof and then leave completely dissatisfied with the customer service experience. How you are treated from the beginning should set your expectations for what you can expect for the rest of your time together.
  3. You need to compare a roofer’s experience. Is the contractor a first, second or third generation roofer? Have they been in business for a proven period?  Experienced roofers should have already weathered the learning curve of hundreds of puzzling jobs that required innovative solutions and succeeded. Second and third generation roofers have decades of experience passed down to them and have likely grown up mastering the art themselves. Your roof protects your entire home so you want to make sure that you are hiring an expert who can spot problems before they arise and have the proven solutions for getting it done right, the first time.

Confirm License & Insurance

Any reputable contractor is going to be licensed and insured and will happily share this information with you. Why is this important?

  1. It is illegal for any person to roof your home without a license, and you could be fined if caught and forced to pay for your entire roof to be redone.
  2. Only a licensed roofer can guarantee your material and workmanship warranties. Uninsured contractors do not know the proper codes and specs needed to pass inspections or secure warranties (which they can’t get either way). Your home is valuable, and you want to make sure you are covered.
  3. If for any reason something harmful happens to your home while the project is underway, the only guarantee of payment or correction is if your hired roofing contractor has general liability insurance. This avoids any out-of-pocket expense or personal home insurance claims. Workman’s Compensation insurance is also a legal requirement in California and protects the worker in the event they get hurt on your property. This is another layer of protection to avoid being liable for any injuries. Only a licensed roofer will be and keep you protected.

In effort to keep this short and sweet, we will end the tips here. Though not all-inclusive, this list should provide a foundation for what to look for and give you confidence that you’re making a more educated decision. At the end of the day, great working relationships, a beautiful/watertight roof, and warranties intact are all one could hope for. If you have any roofing related questions, we are happy to be an educational resource for you. You can reach our commercial and residential roofing services in Santa Cruz, CA, at the contact form below. At Shelton Roofing “we’ve got you covered!”

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