6 Steps to Choose the Right Roofing Contractor
The roofing contractor you hire impacts every aspect of your upcoming roofing project. That’s why you want to be sure you’re making the right hiring decision.
The problem is that there are so many options because the roofing industry is saturated. So, while finding a roofing contractor is easy, choosing a reputable one is a different story.
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has heard horror stories from homeowners who hired the wrong roofing company. The last thing we want is for you to go through the same thing.
That’s why I’ll walk you through what to do and what to consider when going through the decision-making process. Let’s get to the 6 steps to choose the right roofing contractor.
1. Check out Google reviews and other online resources
When choosing a roofing contractor, the first step is to do a Google search. Google “roofing contractors near me” and check out the Google reviews of the top local roofing contractors.
Make sure you look at reviews from the last 3-6 months to get current homeowner experiences. Just know that you should take these reviews at face value.
This is simply due to some people taking their reviews to the extreme, good or bad. However, most will give you an idea of the final quality, if the company stands behind their work, and how they interact with customers.
Google is a great tool, but you should also use other online resources. These resources include the Better Business Bureau, “Best of” lists, and other recommendation websites like Nextdoor.
But just like reviews, you need to take recommendations with a grain of salt. Do more research on any potential roofing company and go through their website to get a feel for who they are.
2. Only consider roofing contractors local to your area
After narrowing down the list of roofing contractors, there’s one huge thing they all need to have in common. Every roofing contractor you consider needs to be local to your area.
They must have a local physical office and a phone number with the local area code. Choosing a local roofing contractor ensures the local codes are followed, all appropriate paperwork is in place, and you can find them if there’s ever a problem.
But another huge reason to hire locally is because of out-of-state companies coming in after big storms. These companies undercut the prices of local roofing contractors, get the money, and move on to the next storm-hit town.
While there are some good storm-chasing roofing companies, most don’t know (or care) about local codes or if they properly install your roof. The last thing you want is to invest in a new roof just to learn it wasn't installed correctly or it’s not up to code.
As I said, not all out-of-state roofing companies are bad. However, hiring a local roofing contractor ensures your project is done in compliance with your state’s requirements. And if it’s not or they make another mistake, you’ll know where to find them.
3. Talk to multiple roofing contractors
Now that you have a local list of roofing contractors, the next step is to pick two or three to contact. This is because getting quotes from multiple roofing contractors is one of the best ways to choose a roofing contractor.
By only talking to one roofing contractor, you have to take their word on what needs to be done. You may think this isn’t a big deal, but some roofing contractors try to sell you a new roof no matter what.
If one roofing contractor says you need a replacement, but two others say you only need repairs, it’s a safe bet that you don’t need a new roof just yet. While finding out what your roof needs is important, it’s not only the benefit of talking to multiple roofing contractors.
It also allows you to compare prices and, most importantly, determine which roofing contractor is the best fit for you.
4. Look for quality over pricing
The next step is more of something to keep in mind while waiting to meet with the two or three roofing contractors you chose. It’s absolutely crucial not to look for the lowest price and the cheapest roofing contractor you can find.
This is especially important if you need a full roof replacement. By looking for the cheapest price available, you’re making yourself a prime target to be taken advantage of by a bad roofer.
Once they know you’re pricing shopping, they’ll lower their prices to outbid the other roofing contractors. What they don’t tell you is that they’ll use cheaper quality materials and cheap labor to reach these lower prices.
Unfortunately, they could even cut corners by leaving crucial components off your roof completely. I understand pricing is a huge decision-making factor for most homeowners, and I’m not saying to buy the most expensive roof possible.
But your roof is set up for premature failure from the beginning if you try to find the cheapest roof possible. If pricing is a concern, just know that there are ways to afford a quality roof without breaking the bank.
5. Compare the estimates from the different roofing contractors
After their inspection and providing you with all relevant information, you’ll get a quote from the different roofing contractors. Once you get the quotes, it’s time to sit down to compare them.
You’ll obviously compare the pricing on the quotes. But you also need to look to ensure everything that should be included in the estimate is broken down into line items.
These items are everything from the roofing components to the roofing contractor’s labor to clean up fees. Everything that impacts the cost of your new roof should be included as a line item.
When comparing the line items on each estimate, make sure they include the same exact information. They don’t each have to use the same brand or manufacturer, but they must include the same components and materials.
Just know that there are red flags that should disqualify an estimate immediately, even when comparing it to others.
These red flags include the following:
- Not including or hiding fine print
- The estimate only comes with a price
- They have hidden fees
- There’s no warranty information included
Every roofing contractor providing an estimate should offer to sit down and review every line item, so you fully understand what you're getting. This is also the perfect chance to ask questions, raise any concerns you have, and build trust.
If they aren’t willing to go over your estimate, don’t consider hiring them. I guarantee there’s a hidden fee or another clause they don’t want to put out front.
6. Ask for references to see previous work
After going over the estimates and narrowing down your decision even more, the final step is to ask for references. Ask each potential roofing contractor to provide references from jobs completed in the past 3 to 6 months.
This lets you see the final product after the roofing contractor’s work is done. You could even reach out to the homeowner to ask about their personal experience and if there were problems with the process.
A reputable roofing contractor will be happy to give you these references. But if they’re not even willing to give you an address to drive by, don’t think about hiring them for your roofing project.
The checklist with all the questions you need to ask a potential roofing contractor
There you have it; 6 steps to choose the right roofing contractor. Even with these steps, hiring the one you feel most comfortable with and trusting is important.
However, I’m confident you’ll find a great roofer in your area if you follow what was covered in this article. But there’s still one more thing that’s not necessarily a step.
This is asking the right questions when meeting with potential roofing contractors. Asking the right questions is probably the best way to determine if a roofer does things the right way.
Unfortunately, most people don’t know these questions, let alone the answers they should get back. That’s why I made the Checklist of Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor.
The checklist contains the 16 questions every homeowner needs to ask, plus the right answers a reputable roofer will give back. With the Checklist of Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor, you’ll have the confidence needed to make the right decision.
Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roofing services to thousands of residents in Nashville and the surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. You can count on our workmanship to maximize your investment, and we back that up with a lifetime craftsmanship guarantee.
If you’re local to Nashville or another Middle Tennessee area, don’t hesitate to Contact Us for any of your roofing needs.
Here’s the Checklist of 16 Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor to go into your meetings with potential roofers armed with the power to make the best decision.