When you get ready to hire a roofer, you may find yourself in a hurry to make a quick decision. Acting hastily can lead to you making a mistake in your choice or not getting enough information from the start.
Take the time to ask at least the following 5 questions before you hire a roofing contractor:
1. What is your legal business name?
This may sound like a strange question, but it’s a loaded one. Since companies may market under a different name, have a legal “doing business as” in place, you should get their legal name so you can do a little research.
- Their exact name
- The company’s legal name, but they’re doing business as (another name).
- The legal business name, but we market as (another name) online.
- Hesitation or confusion
- Refusing to answer the question
Once you have the legal business name, get online and find out if the company is established and exist in federal and state directories.
2. What Roofing Insurance Do You Have?
Roofing insurance is a must for any legitimate contractor. And while the requirements vary by state, in California, your contractor should have workers’ compensation insurance (even if they have no employees) and general liability insurance.
If the state doesn’t have a minimum requirement for general liability insurance, you should make sure the contractor has a policy large enough to cover your property and home in case something goes wrong.
Meets or exceeds the state’s minimum requirements and happy to provide a copy of the policy to confirm they’re insured properly.
Anything that doesn’t meet the minimum requirement for the state.
3. Won’t provide proof of insurance.
Only answers with a simple “yes, we’re insured” without providing amounts.
If the contractor hesitates or sounds a little off when you ask the question, you may want to consider this as a red flag until you can see real proof of insurance.
4. Who Will Be on the Job Site During My Project?
Some roofing companies have multiple projects in a single day, so the company owner won’t be able to be on every site. In this case, you should be introduced to a project manager.
- The company owner
- An experienced, capable project manager
- The company manager
- No supervision or expert in charge
5. Can You Just Give Me A Quote Over the Phone?
You may be tempted to ask for a quote over the phone to speed up the process, but this is a bad idea for you and the roofer. It’s a good question to ask before you hire the contractor to find out how legitimate and honest they are, however.
You can’t get an accurate estimate over the phone because the roofer needs to inspect your home, see the condition of the roof, ask you about materials, and possibly inspect your attic space.
We can’t give you an accurate quote over the phone because (reason), but a new roof costs (price range).
- A quote for your roof without looking at it.
- A quote for your roof just by driving by the home.
6. How Much Do You Charge for Roofing Per Square Foot?
This is another one of those tempting but trick questions. You don’t want a roofer to quote you a blanket price per square foot because it isn’t taking into consideration the unique challenges your roof may bring or what material choice you may make.
Ask this question and if you get a price, be worried.
If the roofer gives you an average price on labor or materials to give you an idea of a cost before coming to see your home.
If the roofer has inspected your home, asked you questions about what materials you want, and took time to get to know the project and then gives you a holistic price per square foot.
- We charge ($$) per square foot without ever looking at your home.
- We charge based on the number of layers your roof has.
- We charge based on the pitch of the roof.
- We charge based on how large the roof is.
Basically, you want your roofer to be aware of the many factors that go into pricing a job and not try to just give you the lowest quote possible without ever looking at your roof and learning about your home.
Along the same lines, if you’re expecting repairs but the roofer insists you need a roof replacement, that should also be an issue. Get a second opinion from another roofer, or even learn how to inspect your own roof, before making any big decisions.
7. Asking the Right Questions is Half the Battle
When you get ready to call professionals for your roofing job, take the time to ask these questions and write down their answers. While these questions won’t give you all the answers you need, they’re a great start at determining the legitimacy of a company.