When you need help with a project, you don’t always know where to go, but it needs to be done, and done well, and you want to get a fair price on it, too. This can be especially tricky in a market most people are unfamiliar with, like roofing.
A lack of experience often leads to a referral from your buddy’s uncle, who knows a guy that can hook you up. Whether it’s a sprinkler installation, vehicle repair, or a new roof, this usually isn’t the best way to begin looking for companies to work on your most important investments.
If you try to qualify a contractor with questions like “how much will it be?” and “when can you start?”, you might actually be putting your home, your money, and your safety at risk. The best case scenario is that your roof needs to be replaced sooner than it should, but the worst case scenario…well, is much worse.
The Terrible Consequences of Terrible Roofers
Unfortunately, real life follows a bell curve. As with any profession, the contracting market has those that do their work very well, some that are average, and some that should consider another career.
While those that do a good job can simply stand by the quality of their work, those that haven’t realized they’re in the wrong field rely on other tactics to gain your business. To be fair, everyone has to have a beginning, and maybe some of those that are not so good will get better, and hopefully it’s not your home they use as their learning experience.
The Mr. Roofing team has repeatedly been called to the scene to repair the work of contractors that have gone ahead of us. The familiar story goes something like this:
Mr. Jones needs a new roof, and contacts XYZ Roofing. He is happily informed that not only can XYZ get started right away, but it is “only” going to cost him $8,000 for a new roof. After completing the work and moving along, Mr. Jones notices a few problems. There is a leak going down the chimney and into the basement. Shingles aren’t layered correctly, and trusses don’t line up.
XYZ should fix the problems, right? Maybe they should, but they probably won’t. Low-quality contractors looking to squeeze their customers rely on the fact that the only way you will have to recover your investment or make them redo their work, is to sue them, and usually their contracts will make that hard and expensive to do.
This usually means the owner eats the entire cost of the roof, plus the cost of repairs. Even worse, unqualified work can void the warranty on the materials, the roof, and can even void your homeowner’s insurance. Yikes!
Separate the Wheat From the Chaff
You don’t want to make this type of mistake. There are fly-by-night contractors (especially following a storm) who can really do a number on your budget, so take a look at a previous blog post we did that covers how you can hire the right contractor to protect your home and your family.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references from suppliers, ask to see a license, ask to see examples of previous work, and make sure they can show you proof of workers’ compensation and liability insurance. Just imagine: if they didn’t have proper insurance and a worker was injured on the job site, the homeowner (you) could be responsible.
Qualified and honest contractors will actually be happy that you asked for references and vetted them properly.
San Francisco’s residential & commercial roofing experts