Do you need a new roof? If your living room or kitchen has large buckets to collect raindrops, the answer is probably “yes.” Assuming you’re unable or willing to replace it yourself, you’ll find a reputable roofing contractor to handle the job for you. The question then is, how do you find a reliable roofer?
The answer may not be as difficult as you think. Here are some possibilities to consider:
1. Check the yellow pages of the phone book. Look in the section called “roofing” for the names of local people you can call for a quote. Sometimes the ads will reveal key information about the person, such as location, hours of operation, and areas of specialty. You can also find out if the person accepts credit card payments and if they offer free estimates. Call at least two or three names to get an idea of available contractors.
2. Contact the Better Business Bureau. While this organization will not provide you with a list of names to call, it can give you an indication of someone’s response to complaints so you have an idea of their character and reputation.
3. Locate organizations related to roofers. There may be a group of roofers or construction companies that can tell you what to look for in a roofing contractor and maybe recommend some local names.
4. Check with local home building supply stores. They often maintain a list of specialists that they recommend to people in the area looking for advice or hands-on help with construction projects. Occasionally, the store may sponsor a workshop or seminar with one of these experts. Attending a session can give you a better idea of the roofer’s credentials.
5. Browse websites online. Construction companies and contractors, as well as independent roofers, are increasingly advertising their skills on the web by hosting a website. Some offer free subscriptions to newsletters or up-to-date FAQs that help answer visitors’ questions.
6. Ask for references. Whenever you get the name of a potential roofer for your project, request reference letters from clients and then follow up by contacting these people. You may even want to take a look at the workmanship.
7. Pay in portions. Never pay upfront for a roofing job (or any type of home construction or remodeling project). You can pay a third or a fourth down payment if you really want to, but make an agreement to collect partial payments in two or three intervals. Get an estimate in writing first, and if the person doesn’t follow this or tries to change the terms of your agreement, report it to the Better Business Bureau or local authorities.
Getting your roof done is a major job. Don’t let just anyone tamper with your roof. It’s an important part of your home’s fabric, and necessary repairs and updates should only be addressed by an expert. For more information, contact your local Chamber of Commerce or building supply store.