Here are a few things most customers don’t know. Most contractors don’t have any marks on their license. You should always check on the AZROC website but just know it’s not the best indicator on whether or not you’re hiring a good contractor. I would say the most important consideration before hiring any contractor is their experience in the field. Roofing is a difficult trade. There is no trade school or real support system like other trades have such as an electrician or plumber. The craft is usually passed down from father to son and with the current labor shortage, it’s a real issue trying to find qualified contractors who are experienced. The most difficult parts of roofing are in the details such as installing the product around an air conditioner, chimney, or where two roof sections come together.
If I was hiring a roofing contractor I would ask the following:
1. Are they licensed, insured, & bonded?
2. How long have they been in business?
How long they have been in business will reflect their experience in the field. It will also help you to feel confident knowing they will be around to honor their warranty. Eighty percent of small businesses are closed down within 4 years.
3. How long have they been in business in Arizona/Phoenix?
We have a unique climate and require different installation techniques. If the contractor or installer is from anywhere else, they will most likely install your roof to the standard of the state they are from. I see many instances of this after we have a big storm and out of state contractors come in. Another issue with out of state contractors you might not be aware of is if they use a product that isn’t supported in AZ. If a problem occurs such as a piece blows off in a storm, it will be hard to correct because the suppliers won’t have it on hand for someone to purchase and fix. Storm chasers come in quickly and then leave when the work dries up. Once they leave, you have no support system to get someone out to fix it or you have to wait months for them to get someone back out here to repair or even look at it. Not really worth the risk or hassle.
4. What kind of workmanship warranty will I get?
Manufacturer warranty is good to have but most issues are workmanship related and happen in the first 2 years. Manufacturer warranties cover defects in the materials or products themselves. Workmanship warranties cover the quality of the craftsmanship of labor performed. If the warranty seems too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for transfer fees and exclusions.
5. How long have they been installing the type of roof you are having done?
Make sure they didn’t just start installing the product. If you have shingles it probably isn’t an issue but any other roof type you should check to ensure they have the experience required to get the job done right the first time.
6. Asking for references is good but they are only going to give you satisfied customers.
Check their reviews and if you find any bad reviews don’t be afraid to ask them what happened. Some customers are unreasonable, leave unwarranted negative reviews and attempt to strong arm the company to get a discount. Of course some are legit. No company is perfect. What I would look for in reviews is if you find there are mostly positive ones, with a few negative, a reputable contractor will reach out to the client to resolve any miscommunication or misunderstandings as well as fix whatever may have went wrong. If that’s the case, the negative review would most likely change their review to a positive one.
7. How do you know if a contractor participates in manufacturer training?
You don’t really. Let’s say you are going to use shingles on your roof and the company is going to install the Tamko brand. I would call the area representative for that brand and ask about the reputation of the contractor and how confident they are of the company’s ability to install a quality roof. A question I always ask people is “If it was your daughter, mother, grandma what would you do?” 🙂