Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 by Jessica Cheney
A major storm system passing through your neighborhood can be devastating and extremely costly. Unfortunately, there are people that will try to scam you out of money by "fixing" your roof with cheap materials and/or skipping town as soon as they get paid. This can cause you a lot of unnecessary extra money and stress. These companies are considered "Storm-Chasers" or "Pop-Up Companies," which is why you should ask the following questions when hiring a roofing contractor.
1. What is your company's physical address and phone number?
This is important, because you want to make sure that your roofing contractor is local. If there is a problem with your roof after the job is complete, you will want to contact the roofing company to have them fix it. If they don't have a local address, that could mean that they are one of the aforementioned "Storm-Chasers." In such a case, they might leave town immediately after the storm damage has dried up, and you will have no way to contact them. This might leave you with roof leaks, other roof problems, and out-of-pocket expenses for another roofing company to fix your roof properly. Again, doing your research by asking these questions, can help you save thousands of dollars later on as long as you verify their answers.
2. Is your company licensed and insured?
Code requirements vary from state to state. You should research what is required in your state, and make sure that your roofing contractor up to code with a current license. This information should be readily available to you on the internet by visiting your local contractor's licensing board online. (www.nclbgc.org for North Carolina)
Legitimate roofing companies should carry various types of insurance policies. Workman's compensation insurance, for example, will cover any injuries that the crew members might atttain while working on your home, saving you from having to pay costly hospital bills. Another type of insurance they should have is general liability insurance. This will cover damages to your home if any of the workers accidentally damage your home while fixing your roof. Accidents do occur, and I'm a firm believer in it being better to be safe than sorry.
3. Do you provide written estimates?
These estimates are an itemized list of what you require done to your roof, including which and how much material should be used as well as how much each item costs. As you may know, sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances that occur while trying to renovate or repair your home. Even still, the estimate that your roofing contractor will provide should be pretty close to the actual cost of the finished product. One thing to look for on your estimate is the cost of plywood per sheet. Sometimes, when a crew removes your old roof, they will find that the current plywood underneath is rotted or soft and in need of replacement. It's good to know how much this will cost ahead of time to be prepared.
4. What precautionary measures are taken in the case of bad weather while your company is in the process of replacing my roof?
Tarps and plastic sheeting should be used to cover and protect your roof under these circumstances. By using a tarp, it will protect your home from extra leaking and damage to the interior of your home as well as the structure of your roof during the installation process.
5. When will you require payment?
Under absolutely no circumstances should you ever have to pay for your roof before the job is satisfactorily completed. Think of it this way. You wouldn't pay a new hairdresser before they cut your hair for the first time, or even halfway through the haircut. Also, you wouldn't pay someone to fix your car before you are sure that it's completely repaired and running well. So, why would you pay a company money before seeing the finished product? It just doesn't make any sense. Legitimate contractors have lines of credit open and capital to float a roofing project until the project is complete. A well established company would never require money up front.