Good contractors lament the fact that there is always a new crop of fly-by-night and charlatan tradesmen and women competing for a limited pool of business. It ends up leaving a bad impression of roofing contractors in general, one in which all contractors – even the good ones – are painted as being dishonest and unaccountable.
Factors To Consider
At Flat Roof Solutions, we recommend asking questions that will help surface concerns you might need to be aware of before hiring a roofing contractor. The questions we recommend are itemized below, starting with the ones that specifically relate to flat roofing.
Authorized Manufacturer Contractor
Is the roofing contractor an authorized contractor with any roofing material manufacturer?
This is the one question that is most pertinent to flat roofing. Only authorized roofing contractors can get a roofing material manufacturer’s warranty issued for their projects. A manufacturer’s warranty is the best protection you can get when it comes to protecting your flat roof investment, property, and tenants. It should therefore raise a big red flag if the contractor is not authorized by any manufacturer.
References For Recently Completed Projects
For example, you could ask:
Online Reviews and Information Sites
This is just a basic checking of the business via the Internet.
- How long has the company been in business?
- Is it a local, regional, or national company?
- Does it provide the service you are seeking?
- What is its online reputation?
I wouldn’t be concerned if you find an occasional bad review. But if you see a whole slew of them, that is cause for concern.
You should ask every contractor you are seriously considering for a copy of their certificate of insurance. It never hurts to call the carrier and verify the policy is in effect. We have heard of contractors forging their certificates. (It is easy for anyone to forge a certificate with graphics software.)
Employees or Subcontractors
It is unusual for a roofing contractor to want a large down payment, say 50%, before anything is ordered or the job begins. It could mean the contractor has no capital and no credit with their supply houses. This can be a sign that the contractor is unreliable and doesn’t pay his or her vendors in a timely way.
You should also know that if your contractor does not pay his or her supplier, the supply house can come after you for the amount owed. Any materials delivered to your location are yours and you are on the hook for their cost. It does not matter that you paid your contractor. If he or she didn’t pay the vendor, they can get a judgment against you easily. We have, unfortunately, seen this transpire as well.
In our experience, we tend to have better outcomes working with people that we get along with and have a general good feeling about. We do not recommend working with a roofing contractor that you cannot stand personally.
That’s our list. It’s based on more than two and a half decades of experience working with commercial and industrial property managers and owners in Philadelphia, Southeastern PA, Southern New Jersey, and Northern Delaware. We’re experts at what we do and truly enjoy providing services to our customers.
Jared Van Vranken is Vice President and lead estimator at Flat Roof Solutions in Malvern, PA. Jared has directed the installation, repair, recovery, and replacement of commercial flat roofs for more than a decade at Flat Roof Solutions. He guides clients in selecting the best roofing material for their needs and budget.