Finding Reputable Roofing Contractors
Let's hope that you're here today to find out how to hire a roofer in the case that you think you may need one soon, and that you're not currently in the, "uh-oh!" moment right now because you can see the sky through your roof. Either way, when you need a solid roof over your head, you need a solid roofer! In the article below you're going to learn seven tips to hiring a residential roofing contractor and what you should be ready for to make sure you get the service you deserve.
Let's take a closer look at the steps involved to hiring a roofing contractor in the Tucson or surrounding southern Arizona area. And before we get to that I would like to share a story with you that a friend shared with me about his experience with the first home that he bought in Phoenix, AZ, and what happened when he learned he had to have a full roof replacement.
My friend explained that he had put so much sweat equity into the place that he had completely tapped out his bank account with some of the renovations and projects he was doing on the house, and the last thing on his mind was replacing that roof. When he found himself in the attic with pots and pans trying to contain the water coming through during a monsoon, he realized he really had to get this thing fixed. In this situation, it was clear that there was no patch, there was no repair that could be done with this roof. This was going to have to be a full on new roof replacement.
So one of the things that he did was quickly talk to some of the homeowners in the area. He also started looking online for online ratings and reviews to find a good contractor. He put in a request to have some out to the house to give him some quotes to see what kind of pricing they would offer, and there were certainly some that stood out from others.
The thing that makes this even more interesting is that one of his neighbors on the same block was also going through the same issue and also doing his vetting process for who he was going to hire. Ultimately my friend hired a highly qualified, licensed, bonded and insured roofer that replaced his roof with everything done to code, and there was never a problem after that. Unfortunately, his neighbor chose to go the cheaper route and didn't hire a licensed, bonded or insured roofer and what ended up happening is he paid even more money. It's like he had to replace two roofs, because the people that were licensed, bonded and insured that ultimately replaced his roof had to undo the screw ups from the first construction crew and essentially do a whole new roof installation.
That's why we're having this conversation today.
So let's talk about the seven things you want to do, and what he did, as you move forward in figuring out how to choose a quality contractor.
Finding Roofing Contractors
The first thing is finding contractors who are going to do the work the way it should be done. That means a company you feel confident entering a contract with who has a proven track record of quality, professional work with plenty of customers willing to recommend them. But the question is, how do you find a contractor that does this kind of work in the Tucson area? There are a lot of roofing companies to choose from around Tucson and southern Arizona, so you want to make sure you pick one that you'll be satisfied with their work.
When we talk about finding contractors, we use Google for everything. We suggest using google initially, and then you can cross-reference it against yelp, cross-reference it against anything else that you need to do. And of course you're going to want to ask your family and your friends if they've had any good roofers, or know of any good roofers, that you can interview for the job of replacing your roof.
Initially you may want to have as many as ten different contractors on your list before you start filtering it down to a smaller, more manageable list.
That'll take us to step two, which is filtering and sorting out, and coming up with a short list of your favorite 2 to 3. Now how are you going to know which two three are your most favorite?
Hop back on to google to check out those online ratings and reviews, see what other people are saying. And by the way, if someone gave you a recommendation for a certain company and they don't have a website that you can find, that's already a problem. Let's face it, and let's be honest here, anybody and everybody that has a reputable business at this point has a website that can be found. Anybody and everybody that is reputable in their trade, in their profession is going to make it easy for you to find them for just this purpose - to help potential customers in screening and narrowing down who the people are that you want to have over to your home to interview. If they don't have a website, it's already not a good sign. Scratch that one and move on to the next.
As you're going through the reviews, of course you are going to want a clue in not only on seeing all the wonderful positive reviews about companies, but also clue specifically on negative reviews. Why was it a negative review? Was it something that the company did, or one of their workmen had done on the house that caused that negative review? Or was it simply one of those cases that a customer just can't be pleased, is never happy and just a bad client? Let's be honest, they do exist, right?
Confirm Their Accreditation
After that you want to do is move on and confirm their accreditation. An easy way to do that is to review your state's licensing and certification board which can vary state to state. In Arizona, you want to check the ROC - the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, which can be found at https://roc.az.gov
What you're going to do specifically is you're going to use their search tools on that website by entering in that contractors license number. What will happen is it'll populate a list of results to see if there's been any complaints, and also of course to make sure they do have accreditation and liability insurance as they say they do. While you're at it, you might also have a look at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if they're listed there.
And finally, you may want to have a look at their website. In today's day and age, having a professional website is a basic business need. If a company hasn't even bothered to put something together to put their best foot forward for potential customers, it might be indicative of how they manage their business (and maybe even the worksite; i.e. your home or business when they're working on it). It's a quick and easy look that you can do to get a sense of the company, and maybe put a face to the name, and it only takes a moment, so you might as well have a look.
Contact Various Roofing Companies
The third thing is you want to contact the various roofing companies that made it to your top two or three on you list and make sure that you're letting them know what kind of things you need done. If you're wondering how you should describe this to them, that's a great question. There's four things you want to consider sharing with them.
- Is the type of the roofing job are you looking for. Are you looking for a replacement, or are you looking for a patch or small repair job? What is the magnitude? Is it a full roof replacement a partial roof replacement? Describe it to the best of your ability to let them know what they're getting themselves into to.
- Any other related jobs that might come up because they're on the roof anyways. Perhaps you've noticed a gutter that needs to be reattached or a scupper that has a crack... Those might be other items that you would like to ask them about, and if it's something they can take care of while doing the other work.
- The materials they'll need. Now you might be saying, "I'm not a roofer! How the heck am I supposed to know what a roofer needs?" Well, fortunately it's pretty simple. You know if you have a tile roof or a shingle roof. You may know if the paper underneath the roof is going bad. You may know some of those things. If you don't know, that's okay too. Just tell them, "I have a tile roof" or "I have a shingle roof, but I'm not completely certain what all is going to be needed. I'm hoping that you can tell me more about that in your estimate that you provide to me."
- The time frame involved. How soon do you get this done? Understand that whenever you go into a rainy season in an area, like monsoon season in arizona, you may not get that service right now unfortunately. So you want to give them a time frame, and you also want to be honest with yourself about what's going on at that time of the year with your climate, so that you can have a reasonable forecast of when to expect them out. But feel free to share your desire with them about how soon you want to have them out. Whatever works best for you and the roofing company's ability to accommodate you, that'll help you winnow down your list to finding the right contractor for you.
Getting Roof Quotes
The fourth step you'll take to finding the right contractor for your roof is getting quotes. Of course you're going to want to know how much is this going to cost you at the end of the day.
Now a good roof professional is going to take the time to explain that it's hard for them to give you an accurate estimate unless they go out for a site visit. Make sure that you schedule a time that's convenient to both your schedules to come out, let them up on the roof to do a site visit and let them do what they need to do, and then ask them if they are prepared to give you an estimate. If not right now, how soon can you expect one? Do the same thing with the other top contenders on your list.
Reviewing The Roofers Quotes
Step five is reviewing the quotes. You want to make sure that you understand what the quote entails. A good roofing contractor will break down the expenses from materials to labor to parts - plus anything else that may be required for the job of fixing your roof.
Now when it comes to quote,s there are five things specifically to take a closer look at.
- The physical address of the company. Quickly go on the google earth and make sure they are a company, they have a physical location. This is a good thing. So it should be on the quote along with emails and contact information.
- Detailed pricing. Again that list should breakdown all the materials needed as well as the labor costs.
- The quality of materials they intend to use with that estimate, depending on the roof material you have, such as metal (if you have a metal roof - DC Roofing does not do metal roofing at this time), tile, asphalt, flashing or whatever. Now believe it or not, especially when it comes down to something like a tile roof, there is an underlayment material that sometimes is called "paper" that goes underneath the tile. There's also synthetic composites that can go underneath it to have a much higher duration, and a much higher lifespan. You want to know what is the quality of the material being used, from the tiles or the shingles to the paper that's used as an underlayment beneath those tiles. Know exactly what you're paying for and the quality you can expect.
- The labor and other costs associated. You want to know how much is labor costing. If the quote itself is like for twenty thousand dollars for a full roof replacement, and like seventeen thousand dollars of that is for labor, there may be a little bit of a problem. You want to make sure that you're paying a fair price for great service, and understand how many workmen are going to be involved on the job site while they're fixing your roof.
- Your payment options. Now to start a project, a lot of contractors need some money to get going upfront, and that's because they're going to have to buy materials, and they want to know that you have skin in the game, too. You're not just going to disappear on them. At the same time, you don't need to give all the skin in the game upfront. See if you can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement. Perhaps you give them a third upfront, a third in the middle of the project and you give them the final payment upon satisfactory completion of the job. A good roofing contractor be willing to listen and work with you.
Interviewing The Roof Contractors
The sixth thing on our list is for you to interview the contractors on your shortlist. As you do these interviews, consider the following five things:
- Business permits and certifications. Ensure that they have them and that they are licensed, bonded and insured.
- What is the history of this business? How established are they in the local community? Now this can become very, very important to know because if they've been around for a while, more than likely they'll still be around five to ten years in the future and they'll cover that warranty they may be giving you.
- Asking for previous customer references and testimonials. A good roofing contractor is probably going to have a portfolio of previous work done and customers names to provide to you, where pictures are showing before and after the work they have done.
- Workmen's insurance and material warranties. While you're asking them these questions, go ahead and also ask them how much coverage do they have through their company insurance in case general damages are caused to your home, that you don't get stuck with it as a policyholder.
- Is if there anything that's required like getting permits, cleaning up after the job is done, maintenance moving forward, it should be a given that they will take care of things. Any reputable person is going to back up the quality of work that they do and make sure that you're happy, and let you know for a fact that they've got you;re back.
Signing The Roof Contract
The seventh step is simply signing the contract with them to get the project going and get your roof fixed. So when you're looking at everything, and as you're going through your quotes, sometimes cheaper isn't always better and sometimes more money isn't always better. Find the one that you felt the most connected to, and that you feel is the best for you to move forward, and can back up their work with results that have been proven and demonstrated to give you peace of mind, comfort, and confidence moving forward with them.
So whether you are building a new house, renovating an old one or just doing repairs on your current home, follow these steps to make sure you hire an industry proven, quality roofing contractor that uses the right products and offers fair prices. And if you feel you need a roof inspection, read our article to get your self up to speed.