Finding a trusted, professional roofing contractor can do wonders for having peace and mind when it comes to the safety and look of your home, but it isn’t always as easy as it seems.

The reality is that every year consumer agencies such as the Better Business Bureau receive countless complaints against contractors that haven’t produced the work they were hired for, lack proper credentials or training, or have left incidents unresolved such as damaged property. With many states having few regulations for contractors in the roofing industry, homeowners need to be prudent and proactive when deciding the right contractor.

But building a great relationship with new contractors is undoubtedly possible. Starting a roofing company off with smaller jobs can establish trust — giving you a sense of their technical, service, and business skills. But before that, homeowners should spend the time to research and learn more with a list of questions to ask a roofing contractor. Asking the right questions early and often is the first step to getting your roofing needs met and avoiding wasted time and money.

Here are a few ideas of what to ask your roofing contractor before starting a project:

How long have you been in business, and can you tell me more about the owner?

This is perhaps the best ice-breaker in helping you understand your potential future contractors’ general background and history. It also may lead you to learn other essential information, such as how many years the company has served the surrounding community and how many years of expertise the company’s owner has, as typically even new business owners have established a history in the trade prior.

Do you have proper licensing and certification? Insurance? Workers’ Comp? (Ask for documentation).

Your next contractor should be able to show you more than their business license if they are legitimate and thorough. It is essential to ensure that your contractor possesses the necessary/state-required certifications and credentials for the work you are requesting, be it roofing, carpentry, or otherwise. This is also an excellent time to ask about how a contractor is insured. Contractors should have both workers’ compensation and liability insurance for the specific job you ask them to perform. Have them show you all licenses and certificates of insurance.

Who will be working on my roof, and what training and experience they have?

This is an excellent opportunity to learn if you will have a dedicated crew assigned to you, their experience, and whether these are official employees or subcontractors. Take time to know if the team is adequately insured for the work and is specifically trained for your needs (prepared by the manufacturer of your roofing, for example). You may also ask to visit a site they are currently working on to see how they work or learn more from the homeowner working with them.

Is a building permit required for my project and, if so, will you obtain the permits and set up the inspections required?

While permits or inspections aren’t always required, many remodeling projects do require them. Your contractor should help you by informing you of the kind of permits and inspections you’ll need, how to get them and offer to pull permits for you.

What warranty for service and materials do you have for my project?

Your contractor should be able to give you a copy of a warranty or guarantee they offer on their work (including what it covers and for how long), as well as any manufacturer’s warranty on materials they use before construction.

What steps do you take for the safety of my home and family, as well as your workers?

You want to be assured by your contractor all how they take steps toward safety — do they use tarps to cover your property in work areas, wear shoe coverings upon entering the home, communicate that they need to move items on your property to protect them from damage? Depending on the job you are requesting, they should be able to offer a detailed answer.

What would your workday schedule and needs be while working on my project? How do they handle end-of-day cleanup?

It’s essential to learn the approximate start and end times for construction day(s) and if they require the homeowner at home during the day. It’s also helpful to learn if they need indoor access, are bringing portable restrooms, or require additional accommodations. A quality contractor can also ensure you that end-of-day cleanup (trash, nails, tiles, equipment, etc.) is always removed or stored away each day of the project, be it one day or several weeks. Establish that aspect of the project with them.

How long do you estimate my project to take, when would you be able to schedule it?

It’s essential to know the timeframe of your project. Your contractors should tell you projects they are working on now that could affect our schedule, any current bids that haven’t been finalized that could impact the schedule, and how any timeline changes would be addressed and communicated.

What would the project cost and payment schedule be? How would we address additional charges for the project?

It would help if you typically weren’t asked to pay the full price of contracting work upfront by a reputable contractor. It is still essential to precisely determine how much the project will be and if you’ll be expected to bay at specific dates or completed project stages. It’s also critical that your contractor be clear that he won’t spend a penny over your agreed-upon budget without your approval, a crucial point that should always be outlined in any contract you have with them.

Who would be my point of contact in the future, and how/when is best to reach them?

Always learn more about who would be the designated point of contact for all questions/concerns and when they can be reached.

For more on what to ask a roofing contractor or talk more about an upcoming project and get a free roofing estimate, contact Powell’s today.