Hey, we’ve all been there. You’re minding your own business when next thing you know one of those famous spring thunderstorms rolls through and you discover your roof is leaking; wet spots on the ceiling, black stuff growing on your walls, funky smells coming through the carpet.
What next? Well duh, you say, you need licensed and insured roofing contractor. Obviously. But how do you avoid the bad ones? More importantly, how do you find a good one? If only someone, somewhere, would give you some tips, that would be just fantastic. Since you asked, and since we love helping people out, here goes:
1. Trust Is Just The Word “Rust” With a “T” In Front.
Have you ever noticed that the more often a person tells you that you can trust them, the more likely it is that you can’t trust them any further than you could throw them off your roof? Yeah, we’ve noticed that too. So how can you find someone you can trust if taking their word for it is a bad idea? Two words: References and reviews.
First, references. Any (actually) trustworthy roofing company should be able to easily provide you with a list of former clients you can talk to about their experience with “Company X”. If they can’t do this, or they hem and haw about not wanting you to bother their former clients? Run screaming as fast as you can. Ok, maybe not screaming, and not everyone likes running, but definitely don’t hire them.
Second, reviews. This one is a great tool because of the internet (Yay, technology!) hosting dozens of platforms for you to get an objective look at “Company X” ‘s customer service. Facebook, Angies List, Home Advisor, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau and Houzz are all great ways for you to get an honest look behind the scenes. Now, keep in mind that a bad review or a complaint or two should not disqualify a company. Everyone screws up (even *gasp* us) and things don’t always go according to plan. What you’re looking for here is how the company handles bad situations. Do they respond constructively and professionally to bad reviews from their clients? If the answer is yes, then you can be confident they will approach your project with the same professionalism and positivity.
2. Quality Only Counts If It’s Real.
Of course, everyone does fantastic, “high quality” work. Just look at the ads: “We do it right, not like those slobs down the street.” Well, no one wants to hire the slobs down the street now, do they? But how can you tell the difference? One of the best ways to tell if a company’s walk matches their talk is to ask about any third-party certifications they have. What sort of actual training do their installers undergo? Most roofing manufacturers have a factory certification for the proper installation of their products and this is a great place to start. We use (shameless plug alert!) GAF products on our roof builds and we believe that GAF has the most comprehensive training and support in the industry for their certified contractors. Once a contractor reaches GAF’s Master Elite certification (Like us. Shameless plugs everywhere!), we can offer the Golden Pledge warranty on our roof builds, which is actually randomly INSPECTED by a third party, so you don’t have to take our word for it that it was done right. And hey, that’s what you want: work done the right way the first time.
3. Details Are The Devil’s Or Something Like That.
Every now and then, you hear a story on the news about some scumbag who convinces somebody’s sweet little grandmother that her chimney desperately needs a coat of sealant, or that her shingles need cleaning or some other piddling deal. They get a $500 check for $10 worth of work and split, never to be heard from again. Now we are kind and generous people, (as are you) but we feel that anyone who takes advantage of sweet little grandmothers ought to skydive into a volcano. We’re opposed to it is basically what we’re saying.
Anyways, there are crooks out there, and you don’t want to have one snag your hard earned dough, even if you aren’t a sweet little grandmother. So here’s tip #3: GET IT IN WRITING. All of it. Down to the last detail. All of the “whats” and the “wheres” and the “whos” and the “hows” on an actual contract with the company’s letterhead/logo/address/phone number. Crooks are generally indisposed to provide these. You don’t want to hire a crook, so don’t be afraid to ask for a clearly written contract. And last but not least, don’t shop on price alone. Generally speaking, the bottom dollar guy is cutting a corner somewhere and you don’t want to find out which corner it was during the next 3 AM thunderstorm.