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5 Questions You Should Ask a Roofing Contractor Before Starting Your Project

For your peace of mind, here are five questions that you need to ask a roofing contractor before signing a contract.

By Patrick Hogan

Getting roofing repairs done can be nerve-wracking, especially for first-time homeowners. After all, your home is your most significant investment and you don’t want a total stranger to do a botched job and damage your home. However, doing the job yourself may lead to injuries, especially if you don’t know what you are supposed to do. You will need to rely on the services of a professional roofing contractor

For your peace of mind, here are five questions that you need to ask a roofing contractor before signing a contract. 

1. Are you a licensed roofing contractor?

The first thing you need to ask a roofing contractor is if they have the necessary license to practice in the state. Most states require licensing from contractors, although that doesn’t stop unlicensed contractors from doing roofing work, but roofing is regulated by the government. Having a license means the contractor has the credibility, knowledge, and expertise to practice the profession.

Most states have a website where you can input a contractor’s license number and check their status. If a roofing contractor fails to give their license, you need to think twice before hiring them. 

2. Do you have the applicable insurance?

There will always be a risk of injury in any home improvement and repair work, but even more so in roofing projects. As such, ensuring that the contractor has the necessary insurance protects both you and the contractor should an accident happen during the job. 

Ask if the roofing contractor has general liability insurance and workers’ comp insurance. General liability insurance protects you in case your property is damaged while workers’ comp insurance ensures that you will not be liable for medical expenses in case the contractor is injured on the job. Most states require contractors to have general liability insurance as it also protects the contractor from claims against their work. 

3. May I see your references?

One of the best ways to gauge a roofing contractor’s experience and ability is to check their past work. Ask the roofing contractor to provide a list of their previous clients, who you can then visit or talk to and ask about their experience. If they are satisfied with the work, then you can rest assured of the contractor’s ability. 

Some of the questions you can ask previous clients include:

  • Was the job finished on time?
  • Were there any mistakes? How were they addressed?
  • Were there any changes from the initial plan?
  • Were you satisfied with the work?
  • Do you recommend the contractor to others?

4. Do you hire subcontractors to do part of the work?

Some roofing contractors may hire their own subcontractors to handle part of the roofing project. If this is the case in your project, then you also need to ask the subcontractors if they have the necessary license and insurance. 

Most importantly, inquiring if they will use subcontractors is important in case payment issues arise between the roofing contractor and the subcontractor they hired. An unpaid subcontractor can resolve to protect their lien rights in the roofing project, which will make you potentially liable for payment. 

5. How do you want to get paid?

Unclear payment terms can be a real headache at the end of a project. So before any payment issue arises, ask the roofing contractor about the payment structure they prefer. Ask the contractor how much the project will cost and the amount they want to be paid upfront. Additionally, ask if they want to be paid based on time or based on milestones. Clarify all of these before the roofing project starts. 

Looking for a reliable roofing contractor is a challenging task. So take note of these important questions that you need to ask potential contractors. If their answer is satisfactory, then you can rest assured that your roofing project will proceed smoothly. 

About the Author: 

Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.

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