A new roof is a big investment, so selecting the right roofing company is key. While there are many factors one should consider when beginning this task, the 5 tips below are a great place to start.
Request a Roofing Estimate
This is where it all starts… Getting a Roofing estimate is free so make sure to do your due diligence and get at least 3 estimates from reputable roofing companies. Roof costs can vary, so you want to make sure you are comparing “apples to apples” when collecting your roofing quotes. Speaking of apples, be very careful when reading the “small print”, in the estimates, regarding warranties/guarantee from the potential roofing company quoting the job. Some roofing companies might say they offer a 10yr guarantee on labour, however it might be a limited warranty. For example, if you want to put a new roof on your house before you sell it (very common practice) some companies will put the warranty on your name and not the physical address, thus making it void when the new home owner takes possession. If these companies are also not certified installers or do not carry the proper ticketed/red seal qualifications, as a homeowner, you may not be eligible for the iron clad or 5 star extended warranties that come from the manufacturer. We offer a best in business 10 year roof guarantee for all our roofing installations
Whether the roofing companies are quoting Owens Corning, Certainteed or Malarkey shingles you should want to have all of the details, in writing, before you make your decision. This will also allow you to ask questions to determine their level of skill, professionalism, and experience. All of our roof estimates are free, very detailed and include the best roofing labour/materials guarantee in the business.
Be Wary of Salesmen (Middleman).
Many roofing companies use salesmen to estimate and try to land the job. They get a percentage on each job they pick up so there is a lot of incentive and pressure to land as many jobs as possible. Having a salesman/middleman involved, can significantly add to the cost of your new roof. On the other hand, there is a certain “peace of mind” and/or personal touch, when you talk directly to the owner of the roofing company you have asked to estimate your roof. Here at Whonnock Roofing and Gutters Ltd, the two owners do ALL of the estimating, themselves. We never push or pressure you to go ahead with any estimate we provide, either. We believe that our product and good name speaks for itself and, regardless of the outcome, you will always get a handshake and a smile when we leave your home
Get a Friend, Neighbor or Colleague Referral!
Asking around will give you an idea of a company that may be highly recommended or one that should be avoided. There is no greater indication of a good roofing company than by “word of mouth”. A satisfied customer, especially someone you know, trust or work with, is the NUMBER ONE best way to decide who will and who will not be quoting on your new roof. No matter how much advertising roofing companies do online, nothing compares to what your friend, neighbor or colleague has to say about a good roofing company. The same rings true for bad roofing companies or roofing practices.
Do they subcontract out their work?
Determine if the roofing company you have contacted use subcontractors to do their work. The two most tell-tale signs that you have a subcontract crew on a job site is that they:
- Drop a bin in your driveway and
- Show up to do your roof in plain and unmarked vehicles.
The reason for that is because these sub crews most often work for many different roofing companies and go where they can to get the work. By doing that they need to keep their trucks clear of any advertising for any one roofing company. At Whonnock Roofing and Gutters Ltd, you will see us pull up in our own company trucks and bring in our own dumping trailers too. Everything we do for the customer/homeowner is done “in house”. Most roofing companies, especially the large roofing companies that I know of, uses sub contract roofing crews. They may have some “in house/hourly” flat roofers that do torch on roofing, otherwise known as SBS roofing and sub contract out the shingles or sloped roofing. This can be very worrisome as you aren’t guaranteed what type of crew you are going to get! There are some great sub crews out there but there are also some really bad ones. The roofing industry today is rife with bad sub crews that aren’t insured and/or have delinquent WCB accounts.
Believe it or not, MOST sub crews still do not have any ticketed, journeyman roofers!!! It is detrimental to you, as the homeowner, that these things are proven and in place before the job is started. If something happens during the process, and the company working on your house isn’t insured, or has up proper and up to date WCB coverage, you as the homeowner, will be liable for anything that goes wrong. BUT, the biggest problem with using a sub contract crew is that they are almost all paid by the sq. For example, if you have 2500sq ft roof and the sub crew may gets paid $100 per sq, that sub crew will be paid $2500 from the roofing company that you have hired. That is, if you’ve hired a company that subs out all of their work. Keep in mind that more than half of all roofing companies now do this. Some say the number are at 75%. Now, the faster they do the job the more money they will make. I’ve seen the the havoc this can have on a customer’s roof when it is rushed so that that crew can get home earlier and relax or move onto the next job trying to make more and more money. All the while, the workmanship goes down and down. This is NOT true of all sub crews. Like I said, some are great and take pride in their work. The point here is you just don’t know and it’s not worth the gamble on your home. Again, here at Whonnock Roofing and Gutters Ltd we only employ an hourly paid staff. After being in business for almost 41 yrs we have found that this is the only way to keep up the strictest quality control, when installing a new roof. We also pay our staff well and by paying them hourly, no job is ever rushed. There are some other good roofing companies that do this too. Just try to make sure that the quotes you are getting come from like-minded businesses and business practices.
Ask how long the roofing company or roofing contractor has been in business.
You wouldn’t take your car to a mechanic who has been on the job for two weeks. And you defintely wouldn’t sign up for heart surgery with a doctor fresh out of school. So why pick a roofing contractor that doesn’t have a long track record of doing high-quality work? In many cases, homeowners allow price to dictate the contractor they choose. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. If you go with a roofing company that can give you a bargain price but can’t provide a list of happy customers, you’re probably going to end up with a substandard installation. Also keep in mind that it’s extremely difficult to collect a judgment against a contractor that simply closes its doors after a lawsuit. Unfortunately, fly-by-night roofing companies are notorious for disappearing to avoid paying damages, only to reopen months later under a new name. You can avoid falling victim to this type of unscrupulous contractor by working with a roofing company that has decades in business and a solid reputation.