How do you choose the best contractor?

Roofing isn’t usually an elective service; it’s a necessary one.  It’s also one of the most expensive home repairs you can complete.   Choosing the right roofer for your home is hard but an essential part of receiving a high quality, lifetime installation.  Rather than guessing, do some research.  Hiring a true professional that you can trust is vital.  Here are a few things to keep in mind before you start your project.

  • Get at least three bids.  Bids can often vary by more than $5,000.  After all the necessary expenses are covered (insurance, wages, supplies, taxes, etc), the only variable that alters the price is pure profit for the different companies. However, keep in mind that shockingly low prices rarely means quality work. You want to be sure your home is in the safest hands, and your new roof will protect your home for as long as possible.
  • Be sure you’re confident in the contractor you’re hiring. Are they a roofer or a sales organization? Do they complete the jobs with their own employees or do they hire out to sub-contractors? Are they fluent and aware of all the code requirements for roofing? How many years of experience do they have?  
  • Always check their contractor license to be sure the licensing is for a roofer and not a framer or carpenter. Also, be sure they’re bonded and insured. If not, it could potentially put you at risk for problems before completion of the job. Look up their business license numbers and owner names specifically, to be sure they weren’t part of a business that lived in the past and has several violations and unpaid fines.  Use the following sites to check them out.

    Labor and Industries
    Department of Revenue

  • Professionalism is key. How quickly did you hear back from the company? Were they on time for the appointment you made?  Did they show consideration for you as you asked essential questions? 
  • References can save you from avoidable stress during this process. Knowing if a contractor fails to clean up after a job and leaves nails in the grass before a project starts can save you a bit of frustration. Contact, research, or request references from the contractor, and if they refuse to provide these, you’re better off with someone else.
  • Ask questions and expect reasonable answers.  You’re not a roofer, and this is your home.  Contractors use confusing words, and you have a right to a layman’s explanation.  
  • Lastly, trust your gut. If a contractor makes you uncomfortable, don’t let them near your home. Trust is vital as you work with contractors,  and there are many good ones in the community.  You don’t have to compromise.  


Young handyman standing on high ladder and measuring roof with tape

Check out Roofer’s Cafe, a forum for Roofers.