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Our 7-STEP FORMULA TO AVOID BEING RIPPED OFF BY DISHONEST OR INCOMPETENT ROOFING CONTRACTORS

 

Follow the 7 steps outlined in this guide and save time, worry, and money the next time you need to hire a roofing contractor.

 

Step One: DO I NEED A NEW ROOF?

 

This is a very important first step to take in determining if you are in need of a new roof. First, you must determine the age of your roof. Most roofs will start to show signs of what I call, “middle age spread”, anywhere from 12 to 15 years of age and not experience any problems or active leaks. If your roof seems to be okay, but you’re not sure, this may be a good time to have your roof inspected.

Most contractors offer roof inspections for a fee. This fee can run anywhere from $75.00 to $200.00. If you’ve been experiencing leaks or
problems for some time, you can skip the inspection process entirely. When you’re convinced it’s time for a new roof, move to step 2.

 

Step Two: WHO DO I CALL FOR ESTIMATES?

 

Now that you’ve determined that you need a new roof, where do you start? I suggest that you get 2 or 3 estimates for a new roof. The best way
to find a reputable roofing company is to ask friends and relatives for a referral. Also, check your local phone book or go online to find roofing companies that are licensed and insured.

Remember, don’t go overboard on this step. I’ve known people who have received 10 to 15 estimates. Most companies give free estimates and this is taking advantage of the situation. You don’t need to have estimates from everyone, just 2 or 3. After you have received your estimates, move on to step 3.

 

Step 3: WHAT DOES MY ESTIMATE SAY?

 

You will be surprised at the variations your estimates will have. Whether they are called estimates, proposals, or bids, it should be in writing
and legible to the customer. If you can’t read it, toss it. You will need to spend some time on this step. This part can make or break you, the customer. This is where you determine what kind of roof you will have. When evaluating your bids, here’s what you will need to look for. First of all, can you understand what is written? Are there specific terms explaining exactly what is to be done and at what price? If the details are not spelled out, now is the time to clarify what they are. We have all heard the expression, comparing apples to apples. This especially applies to shopping for a new roof.

After reading your bid and whatever literature the salesman has left for you, you need to determine which proposed roof best fits your particular needs. For example, one bid may be for a 40 year roof when all you need is a 30 year. This should be discussed at your first meeting with the salesman. Make sure all of your bids are priced for the same thing. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples and not apples to kiwis.

This is also the time when you may find out that the bid you received from the roofing company that did your grandmother’s roof is a bit higher priced than the others. This is why you get more than one bid. I call it keeping the contractor honest. They may have a tendency to raise the price thinking you will have them do the work because they did grandma’s roof. When you’ve determined all the bids are priced for the same type roof, move on to step 4.

 

Step 4: HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR FOR ME?

 

This is probably the toughest step of all, but if you follow a few guide lines, you won’t have any trouble finding the right contractor. Always question your contractor, almost interrogate him. Any reputable contractor will be happy to answer any and all questions to satisfy a customer. If you find that he is being vague or gets irritated by your questions, you won’t want him working on your roof. What questions should you ask? Here are a few that will help you with your decision.

 

  1. How long have you been in business at your present location?
  2. The reason you want to know this is that they could have been doing roofs for 20 years, 19 of those years working for their uncle, only the last year as their own business. I’m not saying you won’t get a good job, but you’ll want to know this.

  3. What associations do they belong to?
  4. Are they registered with the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Fraud, National Roofing Association, etc. This builds credibility.

  5. Can you refer me to some of your recent customers?
  6. Get names and phone numbers and call them. Again, a reputable company should not mind your inquiries. If they are reluctant or can’t provide you with this information, look for another company.

  7. There is no such thing as a stupid question.
  8. Ask your own questions, don’t be shy, especially when you are on the verge of spending several thousands of dollars.

Word of caution from the contractor’s point of view, don’t over do this process. It is one thing to satisfy yourself, it’s another to be overbearing.

Use good judgement and you’ll do just fine. After all, you’ll want to have a good relationship with the company you chose.
When you are satisfied that all your questions are answered, let’s go on to step 5.

 

Step 5: AWARDING THE CONTRACT!

 

When you’ve decided who will do your work, call the company of choice and let them know you have chosen them and tell them why, they will love to hear it. The company will ask you to agree to the terms, choose the colors, etc., and you will sign a contract.

At this point you’ve basically put your trust in this particular company to perform the contracted work. You will still be involved to an extent, but it
is now up to the company you’ve chosen to get the job done.

 

Step 6: WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP DURING THE PROJECT!

 

Be nice! It may not seem to be important, but it is. You’d be surprised at the number of homeowners that actually go out of their way to be difficult. Keep in mind, reroofing is major reconstructive surgery of sorts. Think about it, they will be removing the only thing between you and the wrath of God, your roof. It’s hard, hot, dirty work!

What I mean by being nice is simply this. Ask what you may be able to do to facilitate the process. For example, moving your vehicle, lawn
ornaments, etc. One of the nicest things to do would be to offer a cold glass of water. You’d be surprised what this simple gesture means to a
thirsty roofer. This alone can be all that stands between you and the little extras you may request.

 

Step 7: IT IS TIME TO GET OUT THE CHECKBOOK, OR IS IT?

 

Hopefully, all your hard work and preparation has paid off. Everything has gone well and your new roof looks beautiful. A source of pride for years to come. Now it is time to go over your job and make sure it is 100% complete. Here’s your check list:

  1. Check the cleanup. Walk around the yard and look for nails, debris, etc. If it’s just a couple of odds and ends, pick it up yourself. If more effort is needed, call the company, they’ll be happy to come out and take care of whatever they’ve missed.
  2. Check gutters and downspouts for debris. These need to be free of all materials, nails, paper, etc.
  3. Check to see if the roof has been inspected and signed off by a building official.

If all is done to your satisfaction, write the check. Don’t make the contractor wait for his money, it’s not nice!

 

SUMMARY

 

There you have it!

I sincerely believe that if you follow the 7 steps I have outlined, you have done all you can to avoid being ripped off by a dishonest or incompetent roofing contractor. That being said, things can still go bad. Life’s funny like that. But I will tell you this, if you do these things, you’ll be head and shoulders above someone who signs up with the first bid or a salesman who seemed like such a nice, honest guy. Don’t be a victim. You are the captain of your own ship, or in this case, of your own home. Be smart and be safe.

Good Luck and God Bless!