ROSEMONT, Ill. — ?As Hurricane Sandy hits the eastern and Northeast U.S., damaging homes and buildings and affecting millions of people, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) reminds consumers seeking post-hurricane roof system repairs or replacement to be mindful of disreputable roofing contractors.
Often following a natural disaster, unprofessional contractors will try to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners and building owners. If it is necessary to hire a roofing contractor, a consumer should keep a healthy skepticism about the lowest bid. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Price is only one criterion for selecting a professional roofing contractor; professionalism and quality workmanship must also be considered. Homeowners and building owners should take some time to evaluate potential contractors before any reroofing work begins.
NRCA has developed the following checklist to help consumers select professional roofing contractors.
A professional roofing contractor should have:
- A permanent place of business: A professional roofing contractor should have a permanent address, telephone and tax identification numbers, and a business or roofing license (where required). A professional contractor should tell a homeowner or building owner how many years his or her company has been in business and provide a license or registration number(s) where applicable.
- Knowledge of various roof systems: A professional roofing contractor will be able to help homeowners and building owners choose the right roof systems for their buildings and budgets, using quality materials produced by reputable manufacturers. A professional roofing contractor will explain his or her project supervision and quality control procedures, the name of the person who will be in charge of the project, how many workers will be required and the estimated time of completion. An owner should feel comfortable with the roof system and procedures a contractor recommends.
- Proof of insurance and an effective safety program: A homeowner or building owner should ask for proof of insurance and make sure it includes workers’ compensation and general liability coverages. A professional roofing contractor will submit copies of his or her insurance certificates when asked and have a comprehensive safety program in place.
- Evidence of industry professionalism: A homeowner or building owner should check to see whether the contractor is a member of any industry associations, such as NRCA, as well as check for any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.
- Continuing industry education: A homeowner or building owner should ask about a contractor’s commitment to education and training. Professional roofing contractors attend seminars, conferences and trade shows offered by industry associations and organizations. They employ trained workers who understand the importance of quality.
- Financial stability: A homeowner or building owner should choose a company that is financially stable. An owner should ask for information about a company’s financial condition.
- A written proposal: A professional roofing contractor should provide a written proposal providing complete descriptions of the work and specifications, including approximate staring and completion dates and payment procedures. A homeowner or building owner should read the proposal carefully, making sure it is fair and complete, and feel free to ask questions.
- A license and/or be bonded: Many states require roofing contractors to be licensed; many contractors are bonded by surety companies. A homeowner or building owner should ask for a contractor’s license number and evidence of bonding ability, as well as the bonding agent’s name and address. A homeowner or building owner also can call his or her state’s licensing board for the state’s specific requirements.
- Warranties: A professional roofing contractor should provide warranties for workmanship and explain manufacturers’ materials warranties to protect an owner’s investment.
- References: A homeowner or building owner should ask for the names and telephone numbers of a roofing contractor’s recent clients, inquire about other work in progress and find out whether clients are satisfied with the roofing contractor’s performance.
- A maintenance program: When roofing work is complete, a professional roofing contractor will follow up with periodic inspections to ensure potential trouble spots are fixed. Many professional roofing contractors offer maintenance contracts to ensure long-term roof system performance.
NRCA’s website, www.nrca.net, features a consumer section that provides information to help homeowners and building owners find and select professional roofing contractors to repair or replace damaged roof systems at a fair price.