Choosing an honest roofer among numerous roofing companies and getting one with enough professional experience and expertise to actually know what they’re doing, is the most vital decision you will make as a property owner. Putting a roof on your home is a major project and should be treated that way. Installing a replacement roof is a task every homeowner and roofer should approach professionally and punctiliously . The roofing industry is filled with scammers and money-driven sales people or middlemen who may not really know what they are talking about. They have the skills to tell you all the right things and exactly what you want to hear, appearing to be the best choice when that is actually far from the truth. We have written a previous blog that can relate to this one about what can go wrong with hiring the wrong roofing contractor. This post is another effort from the Infinite Roofing Team to help you make a wise choice concerning such a major investment for your home.
Choosing a well established local roofing company is a very important step towards avoiding roofing companies who are not legitimate. When hiring a roofer, you want to know that they will be around if something goes wrong down the line either with the work or with the shingle materials being used.
4 Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring Local Roofing Companies
1. Avoid A Roofing Company With An Unprofessional, Outdated website
You may be thinking, well why is it important for a roofing company to have a professional website? Well, pretty much everyone today has a website. A well-established and legitimate roofing business should at the very least have a professionally done, basic website to let the world know who they are and what they do. If a roofing contractor tells you that they do not have an internet site or they are working on it, they probably don’t deserve your trust. They are likely either just starting out or perhaps they’re hiding something. In either case, you don’t want to trust them with something as complex as a replacement roof installation for your home! Some roofers may give you a URL website which in the end would just direct you to a free google site page which is usually poorly done or is as basic as it can be. What that means is they do not really have a proper website, they just put up something for free to show someone just in case a homeowner asks!
What a professional website tells you about your local roofing contractors is that they are more well-established and committed to providing a quality service. They have an online presence that they care about and provide a main point of contact and a place for you to get customer support and leave feedback or reviews. They stand by their work and they don’t mind customer feedback being public. They will have an established phone number and email address listed on their website, along with their business hours.
More well-established companies will also have their trucks and uniforms printed with their website and their contact number on them. They have invested a significant amount of money, time and effort into their branding and online presence. They have people on their payroll in an office somewhere keeping their website going and answering customer’s calls/emails. A company that has made such an investment and is so well established is not going to be able to easily ignore you and disappear if something goes wrong. You know they are in the roofing industry for the long-term and they are not just playing at being roofers.
2. Avoid A Roofing Company With Negative Reviews
Many local roofing companies may actually have a presence online with a proper website and even social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even Yelp, Google and Bing. A roofing contractor cannot remove or fake the experiences of their previous customers. It is important to take note of these reviews and comments, especially when a customer has mentioned a negative experience. A customer would go out their way to write a negative review against a roofing company they were not happy with. Checking for reviews is a good way to learn more about the roofing contractor you are considering. Check out their online reviews at google, Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the other places mentioned above to see what their customers have said about them.
3. Avoid a Roofing Company With No General Liability Insurance
Worker’s Compensation insurance covers the employees working on your property; general liability insurance covers your actual property. Some roofers claiming to be legitimate local roofing contractors might not have either. Even if they have worker’s compensation insurance, it doesn’t help you as a homeowner if the roofer accidentally damages your house while on your roof and they don’t carry liability insurance, it could then be you that is responsible for the cost of the repairs. When it involves insurance, don’t simply take the roofer’s word for it. Be certain about the roofer’s credibility; ask them to provide proof of their insurance before they begin any work. Do not simply take their word for it!
4. Avoid A Contractor That Won’t Provide A Written Estimate
A roofing contractor’s estimate can tell you a lot about what kind of roofing company they are. Local roofing companies that try to avoid providing you with a written estimate should immediately be considered a scam. You may ask, why is that? Well the roofer you are dealing with is either a complete amateur or they are not really a true hands-on roof installer. They are quite likely an untrained, commission based salesperson that does not possess the knowledge and experience necessary to prepare a real written roof estimate of their own. Some of these commission sales representatives have been trained purely to get the sale and nothing more. If they don’t know the product they are selling, how can they best advise you on your costly investment?
Also, if you do not have exactly what work you are paying the contractor for in writing, what is to say that they will actually fully complete the work you agreed upon? And what about the quality of the roofing materials? If you agree to getting ice & water barrier installed or getting higher quality shingles but then the contractor only installs the basics, what do you do? Without a written contract detailing exactly what will be installed and the cost, you will be left high and dry without any recourse.
A Master Elite Roofing Contractor Is What You’re Looking For!
First things first, what does it mean to be a Master Elite contractor? You may have seen it with the accompanied logo above and always wondered what it really means to be a Master Elite roofing contractor. Anyone can be a roofer, there are no requirements at all to be one in many states. Therefore, there are so many roofers who are not qualified in any way. Building codes dictate that the roof should be installed a certain way, but in reality when and if the building inspector inspects the roof there is just no way to verify the right code has been met. The roof is already on and you can’t tear it off to check. The first sign might be when water starts pouring into your home months or just a few years later. Considering this fact, it isn’t a mystery why roofing complaints make up 70 percent of the Better Business Bureaus overall complaints. That’s pretty wild when you consider that your roof is easily the single most important element to the protection of your house, and yet only represents 4 percent of the value of your home. So you have to wonder then, why do most people seem so bound and determined to settle on a rock bottom bid!
Another roofing trade secret is that a couple of roofing shingle manufacturers have come up with a certification program that permits contractors to supply better warranties and successively offer more protection than your everyday roofer/handyman or some guy with a hammer. These programs are fantastic but there are still some holes in your overall protection. Standard roofing certification programs from major roofing manufacturers only require you to use 3 of their system components (felt, ice and water shield) to ensure an upgraded warranty. That is a step up from a basic roofing warranty, but it still doesn’t cover any components produced by other manufacturers and may leave you with a nasty bill if you ever get to the point that you need to claim on your roofing warranty coverage.
Hire a Master Elite contractor from GAF— a Master Elite roofing contractor is the only roofer that can provide the GAF 25 Year Golden Pledge Warranty, the most encompassing and substantial roofing warranty in the roofing industry. The GAF Golden Pledge Warranty is the only warranty that needs the whole roof system to be from GAF (one single manufacturer). GAF is the largest roofing manufacturer in North America. The real beauty of the Golden Pledge is that once your new roof is installed, a representative from GAF comes out and puts their stamp of approval on the job when we are done. And if for any reason we were to fail their extensive 40 point inspection process, we’ve got to come back and repair it right away, at no cost to you! There is really not very much extra cost to install your roof in this manner. We are only talking a few hundred bucks on a mid-size roof. You will probably spend more on buying a warranty on a new tv set, and the tv does a crummy job of keeping your living room free of rain and snow.
What makes a Master Elite contractor so special, and how are they different from a typical roofer or a licensed contractor?
Master Elite contractors make up only 2 percent of the total roofers nationwide. The reason it is so rare is that it is very hard to achieve. GAF verifies all the following requirements before granting any roofing company their prized Master Elite status.
- Minimum 7 years in business and 1 year in their certification program
- 99 percent customer satisfaction based on independent surveys from GAF
- 1 million general liability coverage and proper and valid workers compensation
- Satisfactory rating with BBB
- GOOD or better credit rating
- Clean banking record ( no overdrafts, negative info)
- Clean distributor reference
- No liens, or judgments unresolved on record
- Good workmanship record
You can see why it is almost impossible for 98 percent of companies to achieve even these base requirements, but still the final test is a face-to-face meeting with the GAF territory managers to doubly verify all information and personally check out our previous jobs and talk to some of our previous customers. It is a true partnership with GAF, and that is fantastic for you, us, and them. This is what a good business relationship is like. A roofing contractor who is not even certified couldn’t build that kind of relationship.
Quality Roofing Work Matters
Another very important aspect of installing a quality roof is properly ventilating the attic space. This is yet another major opportunity being missed by a lot of homeowners simply because they are listening to a greedy salesperson or middleman. Proper attic ventilation is imperative to any shingle roofing system’s longevity. Unfortunately, many homeowners are not being told the truth about their attic ventilation simply so the roofing contractor can make more of a profit. Giving up any of your insurance money towards an upgrade of any kind means less money in the roofing companies pocket. This can and will have a negative impact on your product warranty. Most shingle manufacturing companies won’t provide a guarantee when the roof has been installed without proper attic ventilation or if the roof was installed improperly. Make sure you examine your contracts and material information very carefully. Most good quality local roofing companies post their warranty information and details right on their website. A good local roofing contractor will not mind a customer who asks questions because they will have nothing to hide. Check your material list against the warranty requirements and confirm nothing is missing.