#1 How long have you been in the roofing business?
A similar question to ask is whether the company has ever operated under a different name - a common scam is for roofing companies to close down every few years and reopen with a different name or different owner (this is because a roofer going out of business voids any post-installation warranties).
If you don’t feel that a company has been around long enough to have built up a trustworthy reputation, ask if there are any ongoing projects you can look at or if they have a list of references/referrals from previous satisfied clients.
A reliable roofer should be proud to refer you to past costumers.
#2 What's your license status?
#3 What type of insurance does your company have?
- The first is workman’s compensation, which holds the employer liable, not you, in the event that one of their employees gets injured while working on your property. Many contractors would rather take their chances than pay for the insurance coverage, which could not only result in people getting hurt but the blame falling on you! Don’t even bother to hire a company without workman’s compensation.
- The second type of insurance a good roofing contractor should have is called general liability insurance, which covers any damage that the construction could do to your house. If they don’t have general liability insurance, any accidental damage to your home that causes structural problems in the future won’t be covered, even if you personally didn’t cause that damage. Ask for proof of insurance. Certifications should list your name and property address, and you can always call the insurance provider to verify.
#4 Do you use roofing subcontractors?
#5 Will you be removing the old roof?
Another common trick is to claim that a quick look at the old roof will tell whether or not it needs to be removed, and that laying new shingles on top of the old ones is just fine. This isn’t always the case, as rotten wood or soft spots can’t always be detected unless the old roofing is peeled off.
#6 Can I have a written copy of the estimate?
#7 Who is my on-site contact person?
You should walk away from the initial contract signing deal with the name and contact information of a site manager in case something comes up and you need to contact them (or vice versa). You should get regular updates throughout the day about the progress of the project so that you don’t come home from a long day at work to any nasty surprises.