Protecting your home and ensuring its longevity is a top priority for any homeowner. One crucial aspect of this is maintaining a sturdy and reliable roof. Whether you are dealing with a leaky roof, planning a roof replacement, or simply in need of routine maintenance, finding the right roofer is essential.
How can you determine whether the roofer you selected is the right choice? How do you ensure that the roofing contractor will adhere to the terms outlined in the contract? How can you be certain they won’t vanish before completing the project? Unfortunately, it is an unfortunate reality that the roofing industry, like any other, has its share of unscrupulous contractors who exploit unsuspecting clients.
To safeguard your interests, it is crucial to understand the fundamental criteria for choosing a roofer. In this article, we will explore key factors that can significantly mitigate your risks, provide you with peace of mind, and guide you in selecting the most suitable contractor for your needs.
Roof Replacement Project and Choosing the Right Contractor
A roof replacement project is a construction or renovation endeavor in which the existing roofing material of a building, such as shingles, tiles, metal sheets, or other materials, is completely removed and replaced with new roofing materials. This type of project is typically undertaken when the existing roof has reached the end of its lifespan, has suffered extensive damage, or requires an upgrade for aesthetic or functional reasons.
A roof replacement project is a substantial financial commitment, and the process of selecting a roofing contractor can be quite daunting. For most homeowners, the technical intricacies of roof installation and distinguishing between a reputable roofer and an unreliable one can be unfamiliar territory.
When you are in the position of choosing a roofing contractor, you might find yourself lacking the necessary information to make a confident decision. You are essentially entrusting a significant sum, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 or more to a stranger, all while being uncertain about whether you will receive the quality you’re paying for. It’s a situation that naturally induces stress.
Checklist for Screening and Selecting a Qualified Roofer
So here we are introducing a checklist for screening and selecting a qualified roofer that homeowners and property owners can use to ensure they hire a reputable and competent roofing contractor for their roofing project. This checklist typically includes a set of essential criteria and considerations that help individuals make an informed decision when choosing a roofing professional.
It serves as a guide to assess the qualifications, experience, and reliability of potential roofers, ultimately reducing the risk of hiring an unqualified or unscrupulous contractor. By following the checklist, homeowners can have greater confidence that their roofing project will be completed successfully and to their satisfaction.
So here are the eight most essential points that you must follow while checking for roofing companies:
The Roofing Contractor Must Possess a Legitimate License or Business Registration in Your State
Ensuring that the roofing contractor holds a valid license or business registration specific to your state is a crucial step in the selection process. This not only signifies their legal compliance but also provides you with a degree of assurance regarding their professionalism and adherence to local regulations.
A valid license or registration demonstrates that the roofer has met the necessary requirements, including training and qualifications, to operate legally within your state. It is a fundamental indicator of their commitment to quality and ethical business practices.
Before proceeding with any roofing project, always request and verify the contractor’s state-specific license or business registration to protect your interests and ensure you are working with a legitimate and reputable professional.
Before selecting a roofing contractor, it is imperative to prioritize this essential qualification. Engaging with a roofer who lacks a valid contractor’s license in areas where it’s mandatory is not advisable. Reputable roofing professionals consistently adhere to licensing prerequisites, making it a non-negotiable factor to consider during your selection process.
State Licensing Requirements for Roofing Contractors
In the United States, roofing contractor regulations vary by state, and it is essential to be informed about the specific requirements in your locality before hiring a roofer.
In some cases, roofing contractors are mandated to obtain a home improvement contractor license. However, it is important to note that not all states require roofers to hold a license. If your state doesn’t have licensing requirements for roofing contractors, this should not be held against the roofer.
Regardless of licensing, all states typically require contractors to either register their business or obtain a tax identification number to operate legally. To ensure a roofer’s legitimacy, you can and should request their contractor license ID number or business registration ID. Then, use your state’s online database to verify their authorization to work in your area. This step helps you confirm their compliance with local regulations and operate with confidence in your choice of roofer.
Know the Consequences of Hiring an Unlicensed Contractor
Apart from the potential legal ramifications in certain jurisdictions, engaging with an unlicensed roofing contractor can lead to a host of complications.
A roofing professional who disregards the licensing and registration requisites in your state may encounter the following limitations:
- Obtaining Building Permits: Failure to secure the necessary permits for a roofing project can result in significant fines from local building authorities. Moreover, if issues arise during the project, legal recourse may be limited since the agreement was initiated under illegal circumstances.
- Acquiring Adequate Liability Insurance: Roofing contractors without proper insurance coverage may leave themselves personally liable for any injuries or property damage that occurs during the job. The contractor’s ability to cover such costs is often uncertain, potentially leaving homeowners financially responsible.
- Carrying Worker’s Compensation Insurance: Worker’s compensation insurance is designed to safeguard both homeowners and workers. If a worker sustains an injury while working on your property, you could find yourself responsible for their medical expenses if the contractor lacks this essential coverage.
- Warranty Implications: Many roofing manufacturers’ warranties may become void if the roofing system materials are installed by an unlicensed roofing contractor, potentially leaving you without the protection of a solid warranty.
Given these potential pitfalls, it is advisable to thoroughly vet and ensure that the roofing contractor you choose is either a properly licensed roofer or registered, as required by local regulations. This proactive approach can save you from a multitude of problems and protect your interests throughout the roofing project.
The Roofer Must Possess General Liability Insurance
The presence of general liability insurance is a critical requirement when selecting a roofing contractor. This insurance coverage serves as a safeguard for both the homeowner and the contractor, providing protection in case of unforeseen accidents or property damage during the roofing project.
General liability insurance typically covers:
- Property Damage: In the event of damages to the property during the roofing work, such as a broken window or damaged landscaping, the contractor’s liability insurance can cover the cost of repairs or replacements.
- Bodily Injury: If someone, including the roofing crew or a passerby, gets injured on your property during the project, the insurance can cover medical expenses, legal fees, and any potential settlements.
- Legal Expenses: In the event of a lawsuit related to the roofing project, the contractor’s liability insurance can help cover legal costs, which can be substantial.
Without general liability insurance, the homeowner may be left to bear these costs and liabilities. Therefore, it is crucial to request proof of this insurance from any roofing contractor you consider hiring. This step ensures that you are protected from financial burdens resulting from accidents or property damage during the roofing project, offering you peace of mind throughout the process.
How To Know if the Roofer Has General Liability Insurance
When evaluating potential roofing contractors, one simple way is to request their certificate of general liability insurance. Reputable roofers typically have these certificates readily available and can easily send them to you via email.
The certificate should serve as conclusive evidence of their liability coverage, with coverage limits that match the scale and scope of the roofing project you are planning to undertake.
What is the Average Insurance Coverage Amount
The required insurance coverage amount can differ based on your location. If you are dealing with an active roofing contractor exclusively engaged in residential roofing projects, they should be able to furnish a Certificate of General Liability insurance indicating a minimum of $500,000.00 in business general liability coverage.
Typically, reputable roofing companies maintain insurance coverage ranging from $1 million to $5 million, which is the ideal range to seek.
Homeowners can secure peace of mind by verifying that the roofing contractor possesses liability insurance. This precautionary measure provides assurance that they are shielded from potential financial and legal responsibilities that might emerge throughout the roofing project.
The Roofing Contractor Has Worker’s Compensation Insurance in Place
This is an absolutely essential qualification to prioritize when choosing a roofing contractor. While the specific workers’ compensation laws can vary from state to state, the majority of states typically mandate that roofing contractors must carry workers’ compensation insurance. In instances where small businesses may be exempt from workers’ compensation requirements, roofing contractors often face different rules and are still required to have this coverage.
Although a few exceptions exist in certain states, there are generally no barriers preventing roofing companies from obtaining workers’ compensation insurance, and it is highly advisable to confirm that they have it in place. A reputable roofing contractor should readily comply with this important insurance requirement.
It plays a vital role by offering coverage for medical expenses and wage replacement for employees who sustain injuries while performing their roofing duties. This coverage not only safeguards workers but also protects homeowners from potential liability in case of workplace accidents during the roofing project.
Protection for the Homeowners
Ensuring workers’ compensation insurance coverage is not only about safeguarding the workers themselves but also about providing vital protection for the homeowner.
Homeowners should prioritize hiring a roofing contractor with workers’ compensation insurance because it serves as a shield, shielding them from potential liability in the event of worker injuries on the job site.
By having this insurance in place, homeowners are protected from potential scenarios where they might otherwise be held responsible for an injured worker’s medical costs, lost income, and other associated expenses.
In cases of workplace injuries, the injured employee could potentially file a lawsuit against the homeowner if the roofing contractor lacks workers’ compensation coverage. Therefore, it is a critical precautionary measure that homeowners should insist upon when selecting a roofing contractor, offering them peace of mind and financial protection throughout the project.
The potential financial burden on homeowners can be substantial, particularly in cases of severe injuries, which is a real concern considering the high-risk nature of roofing as an occupation.
The Roofing Contractor Must be a Local Business
This is a highly advisable criterion to prioritize when selecting a roofing contractor. Roofers from out-of-state, often referred to as “storm chasers” within the roofing industry, tend to converge on an area following severe weather disasters, employing door-to-door tactics to capitalize on homeowners with roof damage. It’s strongly recommended to steer clear of these individuals.
Engaging a local roofing company offers several advantages and is a prudent choice for your roofing requirements.
Selecting a local roofing contractor offers several advantages that can enhance the overall roofing experience:
- Accessibility: Local contractors are typically more accessible and responsive. They can quickly visit your property for assessments, address concerns, and provide prompt solutions throughout the project.
- Familiarity with Local Codes: Local roofers are well-versed in the specific building codes and regulations of your area. This knowledge ensures that your roofing project complies with local standards and minimizes potential issues during inspections.
- Established Reputation: A local roofing contractor often has an established reputation in the community. You can gather feedback and references from neighbors or friends who may have previously worked with them.
- Quick Response: In case of emergencies or urgent repairs, local contractors can respond swiftly to mitigate further damage to your roof.
- Supporting the Local Economy: Hiring a local roofing company contributes to the local economy and supports businesses within your community.
- Accountability: Local contractors have a vested interest in maintaining their reputation within the community, making them more accountable for the quality of their work.
Choosing a local roofing contractor not only provides convenience but also ensures that your roofing project aligns with local requirements and benefits from the contractor’s established presence and accountability within your community.
Reasons to Select Local Roofers
Some main reasons to select the local roofers include:
- Familiarity with the Region
Local roofing companies often possess a deep understanding of the local climate, building codes, permit procedures, and other regulations. This expertise ensures that roof replacements or repairs are conducted in strict compliance with local standards and best practices, reducing the risk of potential legal complications and future roofing issues.
Local roofing contractors have a vested interest in maintaining or building a strong reputation within their community. Unlike out-of-town roofers who can easily distance themselves from a negative customer experience, local roofers place significant value on their local reputation. This typically translates to more attentive and neighborly treatment of customers.
- Business Connections
- Local roofing companies often have established relationships with local suppliers and subcontractors. This network can result in quicker project turnaround times and more competitive pricing for homeowners. When your roofing contractor can access discounts on roofing materials from local suppliers and collaborate with local professionals like plumbers, electricians, and sheet metal shops, it can lead to a more favorable experience for you as the homeowner.
Follow up Visits
Engaging a local roofing contractor offers a distinct advantage when it comes to addressing any issues with your new roof. The proximity of a local roofer makes it significantly easier to schedule follow-up visits or promptly address roof repairs covered by the contractor’s workmanship guarantee. This convenience eliminates concerns related to distance, ensuring that you can readily access their services as needed.
The Roofing Company Must have an Authentic Address and a Physical Office
This is a highly recommended criterion when selecting a roofing contractor. The presence of a physical office with a genuine street address serves as a strong indicator of the roofing company’s legitimacy and credibility, distinguishing it from transient or unreliable operations.
Exercise Caution with P.O. Box Addresses
Roofers from out-of-town, especially those who arrive following severe storms, may establish local P.O. boxes to create the illusion of being a local business. It is important to note that not all roofing contractors using P.O. box addresses are deceptive. Some legitimate, locally based, and independent contractors might use P.O. boxes to protect their home addresses while running small businesses.
Benefits of a Physical Office
Having a physical office offers several advantages for both homeowners and contractors:
- Direct Access: Homeowners can visit the roofing contractor’s office in person, allowing for face-to-face discussions about roofing needs, examination of material samples, and the opportunity to address questions, fostering trust and transparency.
- Efficiency: A physical office serves as a convenient location for exchanging paperwork, payments, and other materials related to roofing services, streamlining the overall process.
- Enhanced Communication: Contractors with an office and a dedicated business phone number are more accessible for communication compared to those who rely solely on mobile numbers or email addresses.
- Accountability: In the event of issues or disputes regarding roofing services, homeowners can visit the contractor’s office for in-person discussions, potentially leading to quicker and more effective resolutions. Having a publicly accessible office makes it harder for the contractor to evade communication.
In essence, a physical office not only signifies the contractor’s legitimacy but also facilitates stronger relationships, efficient transactions, improved communication, and increased accountability, all of which contribute to a more trustworthy and reliable roofing experience for homeowners.
The Roofing Company Must Be in Business For At Least 10 Years
This is a highly advisable qualification to prioritize when selecting a roofing company. While a 10-year track record may seem excessive, it serves as a crucial criterion when shortlisting roofers for a new project. Ideally, a roofing company with a decade of experience is preferred, and a minimum of five years should be the baseline.
Is this requirement fair to newer roofing contractors who are just starting their businesses? Not necessarily, but the primary goal is to minimize your risk, not theirs. The reason is, that approximately 55% of new roofing businesses do not survive their first five years, as indicated by a 2016 article from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. This statistic encompasses all roofing companies. However, the failure rate for new businesses in the roofing industry tends to be even higher.
According to an analysis by Fundera, drawing on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 35% of construction industry businesses, including roofing, make it past their fifth year. Interestingly, roofers have a slightly lower failure rate compared to the construction industry as a whole.
It’s essential to note that most roofing companies that go out of business do so due to business-related reasons rather than poor roofing skills. However, the core point is that the longer a business has been in operation, the greater the likelihood that it will remain in business.
So, what does this high business failure rate mean for you as a homeowner? It implies that the chances of a brand new roofing company lasting long enough to honor their workmanship guarantee are relatively slim, which can be deemed unacceptable.
Many roofing installation issues may take a few years to become apparent. If a problem arises with your roof due to improper installation (a possibility even with top roofing contractors), you would ideally want the roofer to cover the repair costs, not you. Therefore, it is in your best interest to increase the likelihood that your chosen roofer will be in business for at least the duration of the workmanship guarantee, ensuring that you have financial protection in case of any installation-related issues.
The Roofer Must Offer Nealy 5 Years of Workmanship Guarantee
This is highly recommended to check when you are in the process of selecting a roofing contractor.
In the past, most residential roofing contractors would typically provide relatively short workmanship guarantees, typically lasting 1 or 2 years. However, the landscape has evolved, and today, roofers are offering significantly longer guarantees, spanning 5 years, 10 years, or even 20 years. This shift is both good practice and beneficial for their business.
But what exactly is a workmanship guarantee? It represents a legally binding commitment from the roofing contractor, assuring that their work will remain free from defects or issues for a specific duration following the completion of the project.
It is essential to clarify that the workmanship guarantee pertains specifically to the work carried out during the roof installation. It does not encompass issues arising from defective roofing materials, which fall under the manufacturer’s warranty. Similarly, it typically does not cover damage resulting from extreme weather events, such as hail or high-speed winds exceeding a predefined threshold.
If, for instance, the roofers overlook essential elements like the installation of ice and water shields or improperly install step flashing, homeowners can invoke the workmanship guarantee to compel the roofer to revisit the project and rectify the issues appropriately.
In terms of the length of the workmanship guarantee, the traditional 1- or 2-year warranties often proved insufficient because significant roofing problems might not manifest within such a short timeframe. By opting for a 5-year or longer guarantee, homeowners statistically reduce their risk since the likelihood of serious issues surfacing within this extended period is considerably higher. Moreover, roofing contractors offering a minimum 5-year workmanship guarantee are not only showcasing their confidence in the quality of their work but also demonstrating a steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction.
The Roofer Must Be a Certified Roofing System Installer
The roofer must be a certified installer for at least one major shingle manufacturer. This criterion primarily applies to roofers specializing in asphalt shingle installations. Some metal roofing, synthetic shingle, and roof tile manufacturers also offer certification programs for residential roofing services.
It is crucial not to conflate a manufacturer’s contractor loyalty reward program with a certification process. While it may feature badges displayed proudly on contractors’ websites, they serve distinct purposes.
How Roofing Contractors Achieve Manufacturer Certification
Though the specific requirements may vary among manufacturers, certification generally involves roofers receiving hands-on training in proper roof installation techniques and passing a test administered by the manufacturer. Certified roofers are expected to adhere to industry best practices and follow the manufacturer’s recommended installation procedures.
Moreover, manufacturer certification typically entails the manufacturer inspecting a certain number of roofs that the contractor has installed and deeming the work acceptable. In essence, manufacturer certification serves as an indicator of the roofer’s expertise.
Enhanced Warranty Options
Being a certified installer offers roofing contractors the ability to provide homeowners with the most comprehensive warranties offered by the manufacturer. These warranties may extend beyond roofing materials and include coverage for workmanship. This means that if any issues arise with the shingles due to poor installation, the manufacturer may assume responsibility for addressing the problem and covering associated costs, even if the installer is no longer in business.
Additionally, certification underscores the roofing contractor’s commitment to delivering quality workmanship. It signifies their willingness to invest time in the certification process as a demonstration of their dedication to excellence.
However, hiring a roofing contractor who is a certified installer for at least one major shingle manufacturer offers several benefits. It ensures that the shingles are installed correctly, grants access to manufacturer warranties and guarantees, and serves as an endorsement of the roofing contractor’s commitment to delivering high-quality work.
In conclusion, when it comes to roofing services, the importance of choosing a certified roofer cannot be overstated. We have highlighted the eight important points above that must be considered while hiring a certified roofing company for your new roof installation or to replace an old one.
So, whenever it is time to invest in your home’s roofing needs, consider the benefits of hiring a certified roofing contractor. For top-notch roofing solutions and a commitment to excellence, contact Arrant Construction today. Our certified installers are here to ensure your roofing project is a success, providing you with not only a dependable roof but also peace of mind. Your satisfaction is our priority, and we are ready to make your roofing project a reality.
Reach out to Arrant Construction now to schedule your roofing consultation and experience the difference that certified professionals can make in your roofing project. Your home deserves the best, and we are here to deliver it.