Tips For Hiring a Contractor
You cannot choose a professional by looking at an estimate and comparing prices. Allow yourself time to sit down and speak to the owner. Ask questions and explore. Good contractors take pride in their work and show enthusiasm for the job.
Questions to Ask
- What is their full name and address?
This helps determine the company's time in business and establishes the business is locally owned and operated. If a P.O. Box is given, ask for a full local address.
- Does the company carry insurance?
A company should carry comprehensive liability insurance to protect you in the event of an accident on your property. They should provide proof of insurance before they start the project. Roofers who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper to hire. It is up to you to determine if it is worth the risk to hire a contractor who is not insured.
- Does the company use quality materials?
Are the materials warranted? Products should be purchased at a reputable supply company. Compare apples to apples when choosing a contractor. Substandard materials can be less expensive, but it may cost you more in the long run.
- Is everything in writing?
Go over the proposal with the contractor. Some contractors do not replace materials, they reuse them. Are there any hidden fees? Know what to expect, and get it in writing.
- How long has the company been in business?
Needless to say, longer is usually better. Less than 3 years could be unstable.
- Will the company provide referrals and previous jobs?
Ask for photos. Request 10 names and address of work done in the last 12 months.
- Get to know the owner of the company.
Many sales people are experts in sales and only earn a commission. It is helpful to talk to the owner who is responsible for the work to be done on your home.
- What is the company's workmanship warranty?
Typically, workmanship warranties are for one year or more. The length of the warranty is less important than their intent. Referrals show that the company will stand behind there work. Were jobs completed in a timely manner? Did the contractor care about customer's interest? Is the company trustworthy?
- What is the company's track record for solving complaints?
Is the company licensed? Has the company ever lost its license because of a complaint? Check with the local licensing agency and authorities such as the Better Business Bureau. Many contractors in business for any length of time have been involved in a dispute. A reputable contractor will make an effort should a complaint arise.