6 Tips for Choosing a Roofing Contractor

Worker on a roof placing roof tiles

The roof is your home’s first line of defense that can protect you against the elements. That’s why it’s crucial that whatever project it involves – whether roof replacement or repair – should be handled by a very competent person. That’s why it’s good to know the tips for choosing a roofing contractor.

While anyone can market themselves as experts in this field, it requires due diligence on your part to guarantee you’re hiring the right roofing contractor. Considering how big of an investment roofing projects can be, it’s certainly worth it to sift through the numerous choices available.

What is a Roofing Contractor?

Photo Credit: Pxhere

Before we actually go over the tips, it’s equally essential to know what a roofing contractor is since most homeowners get confused, especially with numerous options available. You will find that there are general contractors, roofers, and roofing contractors. And while their responsibilities may sometimes intertwine, they widely differ in their expertise and capability to solve roofing problems.

First and foremost, a roofing contractor is not an individual but a company. It employs different experts and professionals such as designers, foremen, roofers, crew members, and sales professionals. Each of them brings their expertise to the table, allowing them to provide you with a complete service in repairing or installing your roof.

Also referred to as roofing companies, local roofing contractors who have been around for quite some time already have the necessary knowledge and skills to handle challenging or complex issues. Their extensive experience providing local solutions allows them to quickly assess any problems resulting from the weather condition in the area.

Other essential qualities that roofing companies need to have include the following:

  • They are registered businesses in their state
  • They don’t delegate some or all of the tasks to subcontractors
  • They also can perform other related tasks, such as siding and window installations

Difference Between a Roofer and a Roofing Contractor

roof of house
Photo Credit: PublicDomainPictures

So when do you actually hire a roofer or a roofing contractor? Well, it will largely depend on the nature of the work involved. As a rule of thumb, roofers are great for quicker jobs such as minor roof repairs. Note that a roofer is not a licensed contractor but a single person with experience who can work well on smaller jobs.

However, you need to understand that if you decide to go with these independent contractors, it might be hard to get hold of them for warranty issues.

On the other hand, roofing contractors are excellent for larger projects, including replacing an entire roof. They have a team of experts that can handle extensive repair projects that go beyond fixing roofs.

Vital Tips for Choosing a Roofing Contractor

When you hire a roofing contractor to take care of your roofing problems, you’ll be totally hands-off in the project. But if you want to guarantee they can do it right the first time, you need to be completely hands-on in the selection process. It’s about being in control of finding a qualified roofing company at the early stage, so you won’t have to worry about it once you hand it off to them.

Roofing projects rank as one of the most extensive and expensive in the country. So if you’re thinking of flipping through the yellow pages and picking the company with the most attractive name, stop. Here are some tips to help you choose one that can get the job done.

roof construction
Photo Credit: Pxhere

1. Understand the Nature of the Project

For you to sift through the various contractors in your area, you need to know what the job actually requires. Even if you’re not the one who’ll be doing the installation or the repairs, understanding the job’s scope will help you evaluate the candidates better.

Educating yourself can be as simple as reading related articles on the internet. For example, it would help to know more about roof inspections before hiring an inspector to examine your roofing system. You also would benefit from knowing which signs to look out for to find out if you need to replace your roof.

2. Find Out How Many Years They’ve Been in the Business

A roofing company’s years of experience can be a good indication of its performance. With the way things are today, it’s a lot easier to weed out local roofers that don’t serve their customers well, thanks to social media sites like Facebook and websites like Yelp.

Keep in mind, though, that their years of experience don’t immediately translate to their expertise. Remember that a company consists of several people from different professions. Sometimes, a newly-established company is actually owned and handled by professionals with decades of experience.

So if you want to avoid fly-by-night contractors in general, it’s best to work with professional roofers with decades of experience.

3. Ensure They Have Licensing and Insurance

Protect your home from accidents on the job, whether it damages your property or, worse, the workers on-site. Good roofing contractors would usually have workers’ compensation for their staff. Also, while some states don’t require licenses, it’s still a good practice to choose a contractor who has one. These are all clear indications of how serious the company is in providing high-quality residential roofing services to its clients.

It’s not about trust issues but more about protecting both parties in case of accidents. It could happen to anyone, so you need to be sure that the professional roofing contractor is not only reputable. They also should have the required contractor’s licenses, permits, certifications, and liability insurance.

4. Don’t Settle For Just Three Estimates

Three is the golden number when it comes to estimates. There’s no one to attribute this number to, but it’s what everyone advises when it comes to getting written estimates. Most people follow this rule and get quotes from three of the best contractors on their list.

But why just settle for three? Of course, getting estimates from all the local roofing companies in your area can be overwhelming. So our recommendation is to aim for up to five estimates. Doing so will give you a good idea of the median pricing. It also will allow you to negotiate in case the services you want from another company are overpriced.

5. Check for Online Reviews

Referrals via word-of-mouth should never be ignored, especially if coming from people you trust. However, this is not the only means to verify a company’s reputation and whether they have quality roofing workmanship. You also can check online for people who have experience working with them. The roofing company’s website would usually have testimonials of their existing customers highlighting their best work.

If you’re wary about customer testimonials on their website, remember that you can always check social media. Search for their reviews on sites like Facebook, Yelp, Google, and Trustpilot and read about how previous customers have reacted to their work. Or, you can check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for any complaints made against the contractor. 

6. Get It All in Writing

Don’t put yourself in a disadvantageous position by only accepting verbal commitments. You need to have a written contract with your roofing contractor and get everything you’ve discussed and agreed upon in black and white. Aside from protecting you, the written agreement will serve as a roadmap that outlines what needs to be done by the company.

It also should have a list of the roofing materials, the start and end date of the home improvement project, and any important details such as roof removal or post-installation inspection and support. See to it that the contract includes information on how other parts of your home will be protected throughout the process. Additionally, it should mention their general liability or responsibility for any damages to your or your neighbor’s properties.

FAQ About How To Choose a Roofing Contractor

Why hire a roofing contractor instead of doing it yourself?

It’s pretty dangerous to do roof installations or fix any issues with an old roof by yourself. And even if you’re confident you won’t get hurt, there’s still a possibility that you may cause more damage. A roofing contractor has not only the proper training and experience but also the necessary tools to get the job done.

What time of the year is best to have the roof replaced?

The best time to fully replace a roof is during fall. The reason behind this is that fall offers the most optimal temperature – above 40 or 45 degrees – for installing most types of roofing, such as asphalt shingles. It will allow your roof shingles and gutters to seal properly.

How much does a new roof cost?

The usual amount homeowners pay for a new roof ranges roughly between $8,000 and $21,000, with the average cost at $14,643. This computation is based on the cost per square, where each square is literally a 100-square-foot area. So the national average would be $1,015 per square.

Hire the Right Roofing Contractor for Your Home

Following these tips will help you pick from among the numerous roofing contractors available in your area. While you can quickly narrow down your choices by performing due diligence, you can choose the best by communicating with them and getting estimates for your home improvement project. Do you want to quickly build a list of prospects? Allow us to help you connect with the best local roofing contractors today.

Main Image Credit: Smaack / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Melanie Joseph

After discovering her passion for writing through her beauty blog, Melanie left her engineering job in California, became a writer, and never once looked back. When she isn't writing, she loves dipping in the pool, tending to the garden, or doing simple home improvement projects.