Questions to Ask Your Contractor

January 19, 2024

We believe in transparency, and we want you to make the most informed decision when selecting a contractor for your project. To help you navigate this process, consider asking the following questions to your potential contractors.

1. Are you licensed? Why? Work performed by an unlicensed contractor may come at a cheaper initial price, but it can be a huge liability for a homeowner. If you hire an unlicensed contractor who finishes half the project or does one poorly (think open roof in the rain!), and then disappears, you are left picking up the pieces. Poor work can be expensive to fix, especially if you paid the unlicensed contractor already! This dilemma happens more than most people realize. If you hire a contractor that is licensed through the state, you have the state licensing board as a level of protection in case something goes wrong.

2. Are your employees installing the roof? Why? If you trust a contractor enough to hire, you are putting faith in that contractor’s business. However, many “big-name” roofing companies charge you a premium price for their “brand” and then hire a cheaper subcontractor for the roof installation. If you’re paying a premium rate, you want to know that you’re getting a premium roof installation, not one done by a separate, sub-par roofing company hired to increase your roofing contractors’ profit margins. The bottom line is, it is much less expensive for a company to sub-contract their roofing installations to cheaper contractors than it is to employ their own quality roofers, and many elect this option to line their pocketbooks. The problem is, these cheaper contractors cut corners, install sub-quality roofing, and likely do not have the insurances that you’re paying a premium cost for.

3. Are your employees paid by the hour? Why? It’s not uncommon for roofers to be paid by “piecework.” This means that they are paid a set amount per “square” of roofing material installed. This practice emphasizes (sometimes forces) employees to concentrate on speed rather than quality or safety. Paying employees an hourly rate allows employees to focus on the quality of their work rather than how fast they install it.

4. Do you have a showroom? Why? FACT: The SBA reports that 80% of roofing contractors fail within the first 2 years. In 5 years’ time, 96% are completely out of business. Proof of a well established company can be found with those that have an office location / showroom outside of their work truck. This is an indicator of stability. While a “guy in a truck” can operate with much overhead and therefore lower prices – these operations don’t typically last longer than a few years, and any warranty offered disappears if the company goes out of business.5. What is your warranty? Why? A contractor certified by a major manufacturer can offer a lifetime material and 25-year workmanship warranty backed by the manufacturer. This means, even if your roofing contractor goes out of business, your warranty will stand and be covered by the manufacturer. Only a small percentage of contractors are certified to offer these types of workmanship warranties. Before selecting a contractor based on the lesser price, consider the potential savings having a true “lifetime” roof will afford.