To Choose a Good Roofer Ask Your Roofing Company:
We know replacing a roof – a pitched roof or flat roof, is a huge investment. We also know that without knowing what to look for, you may just choose a roofer with the lowest price – but that will likely cost you more money in the long run. Roofers that are not spending time and money building up a reputation for their business, not hiring and retaining quality employees for their business and instead working out of a pick-up truck, can always do the work for less. However, those same roofers could leave more problems behind – legal claims, voided warranties and a leaky roof.
Level the playing field when getting bids from roofers by making sure they all adhere to these 4 practices every established and quality roofing company would:
1. Does Your Roofer Have Employees or Use Sub-Contractors?
You always hear about being licensed, bonded and insured and know already to ask the roofing company if they have insurance, but they could still answer yes truthfully and have people working on your roof that do not have insurance. Unfortunately the majority of smaller, “affordable,” roofing companies in Lorain, Vermilion, Avon, Westlake, Bay Village, Rocky River and the areas we cover use sub-contractors (or independent contractors getting a 1099) rather than employees (who receive a W-2). The reason why these companies can keep their bids so low is because they don’t pay payroll, income or workers compensation taxes on sub-contractors, so it costs less to run their business. Unfortunately if their sub-contractor doesn’t have insurance, they are working on your roof for their own business, not as an employee of the roofing company that has shown proof of insurance – meaning the roofing contractor on your roof may not be covered by the insurance policy your roofing company provided. In the case an independent contractor, also known as a self-employed individual, should injure themselves on your roof, they could sue the home owner for any injuries. Check and double check that everybody climbing up on your roof is either an employee of the roofing company, and therefore insured by that company’s policy, or in the case they are sub-contracted, that they are operating under their own workers compensation and liability insurance to protect from insurance claims. For a more comprehensive view of these insurance issues read House Logic’s “Contractor Liability: Are You Covered for Mishaps on Your Property?”
2. How Long Has the Roofing Company Been in Business?
The average new company only stays in business for 4 years, and the average poorly installed roof could take up to 5 years to start showing leaks and other results of poor workmanship, so using a roofer that hasn’t been standing behind their work for 10 years or more can be a risk. Now we all had to start somewhere, and even Stan was in business for less than 10 years at some point (30 years or so ago) so if you feel really good about a roofing company that has been in business for less than 10 years, make sure they pass all the other criteria, offers a workmanship guaranty in writing and have customer references.
3. Is Your Roofing Company Local?
Ask the roofers if they’re local and get a satisfactory answer as well as some written evidence. Where did they go to school? Where do they live? Where do their children go to school? How long have they been in the area? You want a roofer that you can track down if there are any problems with the roof in a few years and if the roofer isn’t established in a relatively local community – Northeast Ohio at the least, than they could be gone when you’re trying to get a leak, a hole, or missing shingles resolved. Your local roofing company should have an established reputation in a nearby community, be involved in a Chamber of Commerce, BNI, Rotary or other local business group. Roofers don’t typically establish themselves in these organizations unless they’re building a reputation for themselves and are willing to stand behind their quotes, their work and their customer service. (Stan has been either a member of the IRN Chapter in Lorain or the North Olmsted BNI Chapter for over 10 years as well as a number of Chambers of Commerce and other business community groups in the 40+ years he has been in the building industry).
4. Does Your Roofing Contractor Offer a Labor Guaranty?
Many people don’t realize that the warranty on the roof shingle or roofing system is not the same as a workmanship warranty. As a matter of fact, poor workmanship can actually void your manufacturer’s warranty. For example, this picture illustrates just one simple thing a roofing contractor can do that would impact your shingle warranty. This is from CartainTeed’s Landmark series installation instructions, but basically illustrates that if the shingle isn’t properly fastened by the roofing contractor, the manufacturer can’t be held liable for a faulty product because it wasn’t installed to their specifications.
At Stan’s Roofing not only do we have over 40 years of experience in roofing and building industry and know our manufacturer’s installation instructions inside and out, but we also offer a 10 year warranty on our own labor so if there happens to be a problem with the workmanship, we’ll make it right! Read more about our Labor Guaranty and call Stan’s Roofing and Builders, Inc. for an estimate on your roofing project at 440-986-6222 and ask for Stan “the man”.