People say, ” I was told to get 3 bids “. 

Well, using that logic and the roofing industry statistics for the per-centages of residential shingle roofs being done improperly and not up to the manufacturers specifications, you would need to get more than 10 bids, YES, I said over 10 bids, just to possibly find the one contractor who is going to do the job right.

The problem with getting 3 bids, is that almost every single roof done, looks adequately good the day and the month and even possibly for several years down the road after it was done.  Then the incorrectness of the adherance to specifications comes into play.

Then the problems begin to surface.

Then, you can not find the contractor who gave you a 10 year labor guarantee.  Well, he seemed like a nice guy, right? 

Here are some of the most important aspects you should research about the roofing contractor, prior to hiring them to do a project that is understood to have about a 30 year life cycle.  Darn, thats a long time.  I hope you choose the one out of the 10, who will do your roof the “Right Way!”

Check references and then ask the previous homeowners how everything went.

If you fail to do that, you only have yourself to blame.

Check out references from 10 years ago, 5 years ago, last year, and current jobs.

Who will be providing the most detail in their proposal will also probably be the one who will put the most detail in there job sites.

Do they use their own in-house trained employees, or do they farm out the job to an unknown subcontracting company that you never met when you thought you were hiring company A.

Over 90 % of all residential shingle roofs are installed incorrectly according to the major manufacturers own research studies. Therefor, only a little less than 10 % even qualify for the long term peace of mind warranty you expect.

Questions to ask:

1)Reliability: Over 85 % of ALL contractors are out of business or have changed names within the 1st 5 years and out of the 15 % who remain, 85 % of them are out within the next 5 years according to the Department Of Labor statistics.

2) Interview: Meet with each of them and go over all of the WRITTEN details. If it is not in writing, it is not part of the agreement.

3) Beware of any contractor who does not get the permit for the job and wants you to get it. The person getting the permit is the party responsible for following the building codes.

4) An actual address and phone #. Not a pick up truck and a cell phone. How can you find them if anything goes wrong?

5) An actual copy of their License, Insurance, and Roofing Bond, if required in your state.  They are all required in Illinois.  Remember, there is Property Liability Insurance, Vehicle Liability Insurance, and Wormans Compensation Insurance.  This also goes for the subcontractor they did not tell you about.  They need all of these insurances too.  OH!  By the way.  Call up the insurance agent listed on the certificate of insurance and verify the information and most importantly, see if have “exempted” themselves from being covered with the Workmans Compensation Insurance.

6) A detailed well defined scope of work, and not a one page generalization of things.

7) I already discussed employees vs sub-contractors. Why? Because something always gets overlooked when passing the buck through multiple chains of command. It does not matter that they will put up a dozen immigrants to make sure the job is done in one day, but it does matter that the job is done correctly by trained and skilled and hopefully certified roofing mechanics. Why? Because most roofs fail within 12-15 years. They are supposed to last up to 30 years and longer if done the Right Way, which is by following the manufacturers specifications.

8.) Do they belong to and/or participate in any contractors associations where they continually strive to broaden their understanding of current technologies and implementation methods?

9) Walk away if something they are feeding you sounds like a bunch of Bull. You only have one chance to do it Right the 1st Time. Anything after that point is just a repair.

10) References. They are the most critical of all aspects to appreciate to differentiate the various contractors.

Find the contractor you know will fulfill all of the job scope requirements and pay them what they deserve. A 25 % to 50 % difference in price is common, and so too is poor craftsmanship and minimal specifications using the non-name brands with no proven quality and a track record of long term duration. 

Everybody can buy the same brands of shingles in the market place.  It is how they are installed, that makes the difference for the long term success.  Remember, anybody can do a cheap job wrong.  It takes talent, experience and a continuing dedication to their craft by using highly trained and certified employees that determines the difference.  This also is true for the initial specifications which were written in the first place.  A good technician can only do what the contract specifies him to do.

Ed

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