By Allen Foster

When you need a new vehicle, whether you write it down or just keep it in your head, you have a list. Two lists actually. One list contains the things you want — the bells and whistles — while the other list contains the things you need — your essentials. The deal breakers. If you have a family of five, a motorcycle might fit the budget, but you’ll quickly discover it just isn’t working out.

Hiring a roofing contractor works in much the same way. There are things you want and things you need. Unfortunately, when it comes to finding the right contractor, as a layman, you might not know the difference between the two. There’s a good chance that many of the items on your dream-big list should really be on your must-have list. Here are some factors to consider when trying to find the contractor who is right for you.

License: It maybe seem like a no-brainer, but does the contractor have a proper license for the area in which they do business?

Insurance: After a mishap, it’s too late. Don’t just take a quick glance, make a phone call to be sure your contractor’s worker’s compensation and liability insurance are valid.

Experience: How long has your contractor been around? You don’t want someone who will be using the job as a learning tool.

Subcontractors: Does your contractor have ample staff to complete the work you need done in the time you need it done? If not, that is a red flag that can have countless repercussions down the road.

Information: Can you get a hold of your contractor fairly easily? And when you communicate, is it two-way? Does he listen and respond to your concerns? When you’re considering work of this magnitude, it is essential that there is open and honest communication from start to finish.

In Writing: Don’t get scammed. Receiving a proposal that isn’t in writing can lead to “unexpected complications” that drastically increase the price. Before you know it, it can feel like your home is being held for ransom. Get the proposal in writing first.

Location: Without a permanent home base, it’s rather easy for a roofer to vanish the moment any conflict arises.

Warranty/Guarantee: How far is your contractor willing to go to stand behind his work? A guarantee? A warranty? Does it cover both the workmanship and the materials? It’s best to find all this out ahead of time.

Testimonials: Search online for ratings and get testimonials from previous customers. Did the work hold up? Was everything delivered as promised? Were there any undesirable incidents? Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.

Union: Are you hiring a union contractor? If so, that may be all you need to know. Union contractors have a very good habit of crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s. Hiring union means you can hire with confidence.


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