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5 Tips For Selecting Your Contractor

17 March 2015

Choosing your roofing contractor can be a daunting task.  A roofing project is a major investment and poor workmanship is the main cause for premature roof failure or poor performance.  Here are 5 tips that can help you make you make the right decision:

1) Verify your bidders license and insurance.  The state of Florida requires all roofing contractors to obtain a certified state roofing license and carry liability and workman’s compensation insurance.  If your roofing contractor fails to provide evidence of ALL these things proper to going to contract you may be exposed to a number of things.

If the contractor isn’t license, then your contract will not be recognized as valid in court if they fail to perform the services as agreed.  If they are not properly insured and someone were to get injured or cause property damage while on your job, you can be held personally liable.

2) Ask for AND check references.  All good contractors should be willing to provide a list of references of people who they have completed work for within the last 12 months.  Call these references and verify the job was completed on time and on budget.  You can even take a drive and inspect the completed job if the reference is local.

3) Verify the MANUFACTURERS CERTIFICATION status.  Any contractor can offer a “material only” warranty and promise to come back if there is a problem.  Tier 1 contractors will have certification to put on systems that are warranted for labor AND material defects backed by the manufacturer.  In this case, you are still covered if the contractor goes out of business after your job is completed.

4) Ask for references from a distributor or supplier the contractor has a relationship with.  This is a little known way to get some insight in to your contractors work and payment history.  Call the supplier they provide and ask them about the contractors reputation and payment history.  Do they order regularly (a good sign to know they are steadily working) and do they pay their material bills in a timely manner?  Remember, if a contractor fails to pay your material bills it can lead to a lien on your property.

5) Make SURE you compare “apples to apples” when shopping your contract.  All contractors are NOT equal.  If you are getting quotes and one is priced far below the others there is a reason.  These can range from a contractor operating with little to no overhead (can they service a problem in 2 years if one arises?  who will they send?); being under insured or carrying no insurance; using a “bait-and-switch” tactic to get you to sign a contract only to have a pile of change orders at the end of the job; improperly estimating the job (this happens a lot with contractors who bid work they are unfamiliar with); or bidding a system that eliminates a number of the critical components to a good roof in order to come in low and win the job.

Remember, if you save a bundle on a roof job you can be living with the consequences for many years.  It is best to “measure twice and cut once” when selecting your roofing contractor.

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