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Questions to Ask a Prospective Roofer

A poor roofing job can be a disaster in terms of costly future repairs and leaks, so spend time and energy finding the right one for your project. When interviewing prospects, make it a point to ask six crucial questions.

a. What is your complete business name and do you have a physical office?

First and foremost, ask for the roofing contractor’s full name and office address. If you get a P.O.box number, let them provide details of their physical location. A roofer without a physical office is suspicious, and you shouldn’t waste time dealing with them.

b. Are you insured?

Contractors should have both liability and workmans’ compensation insurance to protect their clients in case of an accident. Workers’ compensation will protect you against financial responsibility arising from a roofer’s employee getting hurt, or from accidental damages incurred on the job.

Without workman’s’ compensation coverage, you as the homeowner may end up forking medical bills and other costs related to the injury.

c. Do you subcontract for certain or all aspects of the job?

If they do hire subcontractors, ask these people the same questions you asked the roofing subcontractor — especially the part about insurance.

d. Are you a licensed roofer?

Ask your prospect whether they are licensed by your city or state. Licensing requirements can be unique according to the state. Cities and counties may also require a roofer to be licensed. Check whether a license is needed in your area, and if so, inquire from your local licensing offices if your prospective roofer’s license is current and holds no outstanding violations. A business license is not synonymous with a roofer’s license. A business license only works for tax and legal identification purpose. It does not guarantee that the person has passed a test or has roofer qualifications.

e. Can you give me client references?

Ask for local project sites where you can drop by, and check some roofing work they’ve done in the last 5 years. You can ask for references as well, but past customers may refuse to release their personal information, or the a contractor may cherry pick a number of satisfied customers. Follow up with these folks and ask whether they would confidently recommend the contractor.

f. Do you provide a workmanship warranty? A roof warranty is generally for a year, although some roofers may extend this period. The manufacturer typically covers the materials, while the roofer takes care of the work. These are two independent warranties, so ask the contractor what the coverage and covered period will be under each.

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