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Questions to ask a roofing contractor before you let them on your roof

Posted March 18, 2016

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men working on a roof
Make sure you don't pay more later by hiring a contractor that is uninsured, performs substandard work or leaves North Texas shortly after the storms do.

After the St. Patrick’s Day storm dumped hail and rain on many parts of Fort Worth, residents will be searching for roofing contractors and wondering how they can get the work done in a professional and cost-effective way.

In Texas, there is no such thing as state licensing for roofers, and insurance is not required. Anyone can hang up a shingle — no pun intended — and call themselves a roofing company.

When storms hit North Texas, it’s not uncommon to see an influx of out-of-town roofers — “storm chasers” — who often leave town not long after the storms do.

How can you determine, as a homeowner, if you’re hiring a legitimate, experienced roofer who will be around after the storm season? Here are some important questions that the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association recommends asking about any roofing company you may be considering:

  1. Are they in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?
  2. Are they a member of a roofing association that holds its members to high standards, such as the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association, the National Roofing Contractors Association, the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas or the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association?
  3. How many years of experience do they have as a roofing contractor in North Texas?
  4. Are they insured? What type of insurance coverage do they have and what and how much does it cover? Don’t hesitate to ask a roofing contractor for a certificate of insurance and make sure the coverage is in effect throughout your project. You don’t want to be liable for accidents that occur on your property (and you will be if the contractor is not properly insured).
  5. Who will supervise your roofing project? How much experience do they have? How can you contact that person?
  6. Where is the roofing company located? Has your prospective contractor just come to town with the storms? Drive by and check out their business address. You probably don’t want to hire a roofer who is operating out of his pickup truck or a temporary post office box.
  7. What is the roofing contractor’s warranty on labor? What is the manufacturer’s warranty? Get warranty information in writing. Consider how long your contractor has been in business and where they are located when looking at their labor warranty.
  8. Do they have credit references? Ask for a list of local suppliers, and call them to ensure the roofing contractor is in good standing. You don’t want to be left footing the bill for roofing materials.
  9. Do they have customer references they can provide? Get a list of previous customers and call them.
  10. Will they give you a detailed, written proposal with complete descriptions of the work, start and completion dates and payment schedule?
  11. Is the contractor going to obtain the appropriate City of Fort Worth permits?
  12. Are they asking for money upfront? End users should beware of paying before the job is complete. A partial payment for materials, however, after they have been delivered to your project location, is not unusual.
  13. Which roofing manufacturers are they certified to install? You can go to the manufacturer’s website to see which roofing contractors are certified to install their roofing system.
  14. Is the roofer offering to “take care of” or “eat” your insurance deductible? Talk directly to your insurance company to ensure that any “deal” is legitimate and not insurance fraud.
  15. Are they claiming they are licensed? If so, where? Ask to see their license.
  16. If the bid is significantly lower than their competitors, why? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Price is only one consideration when selecting a roofing contractor. Also, a price that is significantly below other contractors’ costs is an indicator that the roofing materials being used may be stolen goods, a growing problem in North Texas that is a federal offense.

To learn more, contact Karen Vermaire Fox, executive director of the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association, at 817-480-1060.

This article is available in Spanish.

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