Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Project

Depending on your location, you may very well have an over-abundance of choices when it comes to hiring a roofing contractor to complete repairs for your home. If you’ve had a recent storm event you likely won’t even need to contact a company, you’ll have canvassers and salespeople knocking your door for the next several weeks.

This can certainly be a daunting choice for any homeowner to make – this salesperson was amazing to speak to, this company has great reviews, or that company was highly recommended by my neighbors. Below, we’ve listed some factors for you to consider, prior to making that choice.

Licensure

Does your area require trade-specific licensing? If so, is the contractor able to provide a copy of their license?  If your roofing contractor has not taken the required steps to become properly licensed, you’ll need to consider the quality of work they’ll leave behind.

Does your city require a business license? If so, is the contractor able to provide a copy of their business license?  In some areas, if the city or county determines the company is not licensed, they are well within their authority to shut down your project mid-completion.

Insurance

Does your roofing contractor carry general liability insurance? If an incident occurs during your project that further damages your home, a lack of coverage could potentially put a homeowner in a position of paying addition funds to fix said damages.

Does your choice of contractor carry workers compensation insurance? Unfortunately, with construction projects, accidents can and do happen – a lack of coverage by your contractor of choice could lead to further costs down the road.

A reputable roofing contractor should have copies of their certificates of insurance available upon request – homeowners wanting additional assurances can ask to be listed as a holder of the certificate, you’ll be notified if any changes in coverage occur during your project’s completion.

Reputation

What type of reviews are available for the company you’ve hired? Do they have three reviews through Google with two of them listing negative experiences? While it is a good idea to look at the whole picture when it comes to online reviews, an overwhelming number of negative experiences can be telling.

Do they have references available from prior customers? It can’t hurt to reach out to some of those references just to confirm their experience matches with what you’re being told.

Warranties

Does the roofing contractor offer warranties for the work they complete? Can they explain exactly what their warranty will and will not cover?

After a major storm event, your area will likely be inundated with fly-by-night companies from all over the country that are there to sign-up as many projects as possible, complete those projects as quickly as possible, and to be back out of town the moment another storm hits somewhere else in the country.  Unfortunately, there are several companies like this that will never operate in your area again – as such, there’s a very low probability that they will be around to address any problems that could arise after your project is wrapped up.

Estimates

Is the company willing to provide you a written estimate for your repairs?

Particularly after a storm event, contractors potentially appear from nowhere indicating they’ll complete any repairs your insurance company will cover – they’ll also indicate that the repairs will be completed for whatever funds your insurance carrier will provide.  While this doesn’t always indicate something to be wary of, it’s still worth asking this contractor for an estimate on the project.  If they’re unable to do so, how can they confirm they’ll be able to complete the project for what your insurance company will be providing?

Does the estimate specify exactly what work they’ll be completing for you?  Does it specify the materials they’ll be using to complete the project?

An estimate for repairs that simply states “Remove and replace roof” doesn’t provide a significant level of details on how they plan to complete that process.

An estimate that states “as per insurance estimate” may also not be all that reassuring to a homeowner that is planning to allocate thousands of dollars for repairs to their home.

Method Of Repair

While this part could potentially be seen as “boring” to some homeowners, an important step in choosing a contractor is understanding how they plan to complete your repairs.  Will they be following local code requirements?  What materials do they typically use?  Do they follow the recommended installation guidelines from that manufacturer?

Local code requirements – A quick call to your local building department can let a homeowner know what, if any, building codes have been adopted for your area.  Most municipalities have adopted some version of the International Residential Code, or IRC.  The IRC has several editions that are typically updated on a year-to-year basis so its likely your city will adopt a specific year (such as IRC 2018).  With that bit of info, a homeowner can quickly ask if they’re able to meet current code standards and if the contractor has difficulty discussing those code requirements, it may be an indicator to continue searching for the right company.

Manufacturer’s Specifications – Once you’ve established the product your potential roofing contractor will use, access the manufacturer’s website and they will provide a guide as to how their product should be installed.

  • Ice and water shield – beyond being a code requirement in many areas, most asphalt shingle manufacturers require the installation of ice and water shield, typically in valley areas.
  • Starter shingles – most manufacturers require the installation of a specific starter product.  Some contractors, as a cost saving measure, will use different products (such as cut three-tab shingles).
  • Hip/Ridge shingles – again, most manufacturers require the installation of a specialized hip/ridge shingle product.  And again, some contractors use cut three-tab shingles as a cost saving measure on their part.

For a homeowner, having repairs completed to manufacturer’s specification is one way to ensure you’re able to access any material warranties that are available to you.  If repairs are completed outside of those specifications and a material issue arises years down the road, this will lead to out-of-pocket costs to address those issues.

Ethical Standards

Most homeowners will eventually have their roofing system replaced due to a storm event and in coordination with their insurance carrier – there are multitudes of roofing contractors that will advertise for “free roof replacement” or some may even go as far as to say “$0.00 deductible”.  In most states, legislation exists to dictate that contractors cannot waive deductibles or apply credits to a homeowner’s bill that would amount to waiving the deductible. If a potential contractor is willing to violate the law to earn your business, what other corners are they planning to cut?

Are they a local company that is a part of your community? Especially after a large storm event, as noted above, you’ll see companies come from several states away to solicit work. While those companies are often capable of great work and great service, is there any way to guarantee they’ll be available years down the road? Having your project completed by a contractor with employees that could be your next-door neighbor can provide a level of comfort and service that can’t be rivaled.


There are other factors that can come into play when making the decision on your roofing contractor – many companies will offer nearly the same services and it will come down to a gut feeling you have with the salesperson you meet, things like that aren’t quantifiable but shouldn’t be discounted.  If you don’t feel comfortable with a particular personality, it can be difficult to trust them in completing a large project for your home.

Advanced Restorations prides itself on being part of the Ozarks community, staffed with the very same people you may see on your average day running errands.  Call our office today at (417) 229-0667 to schedule an inspection from one of our capable Field Supervisors!