Do This (Not That) When Hiring a Roofer

Hiring a roofer is not something homeowners do on a regular basis. For most of us, serious roof problems demanding immediate attention happen once or twice in our lifetime. However, when the time comes to repair or replace a damaged roof, hiring a professional, knowledgeable, and trustworthy roofer means everything.

There are things to do—and things not to do—when hiring a roofer. For example, you do want to hire a roofer with a proven set of skills from assessing damage to negotiating with insurance companies. However, you don’t want to hire a roofer with a laundry list of negative reviews from past customers. Hiring the right roofer for your project means walking the balance between the pluses and the pitfalls.

Before you make any of the most common mistakes we see in the construction business, consider these helpful tips your own personal guide to hiring a roofer.

Do This: Get referrals from family and friends.

Searching for a roofer in the connected age of Google and Angie’s List is easier than ever. However, finding one could be as simple as looking right next door.

When hiring a roofer, start with the people you know and trust. Explore your social circle—from family and friends to neighbors and locals—to find someone who had a positive experience with a roofer in the past. (Actually, even someone who had a negative experience can steer you away from hiring the wrong roofer for the job).

Even with a list of referrals, it still pays to shop around—which brings us to our next point.

Not That: Hire the first roofer you find.

It’s the cardinal rule of hiring any type of contractor: always speak to at least three contractors before making a decision.

Jumping the gun makes you more likely to hire a shady, subpar, or scam-worthy roofer. Instead, do your due diligence by calling to compare the roofers on your list—which, hopefully, includes referrals from your family and friends. Find out which one leads the pack for their years of experience, warranties, labor costs, and fees.

Finding the right roofer for your project takes some effort. However, call enough roofers—and ask enough questions—and the right one has a way of finding you

Do This: Hire someone you know and trust.

Hiring a roofer you know and trust makes all the difference in the world, especially when every minute counts after that heavy storm hits.

Let’s be honest: roofs are known for their urgent leaks and other “need-to-fix-now” problems. When a tree comes crashing down in the middle of the night, calling the roofer you know and trust helps put your mind at ease.

The bottom line: your roof is too important to hire just any contractor—which brings us to our next point.

Not That: Hire someone knocking on your door.

A roofer knocking on your door screams the word “scam.” Expect an attractive low bid—but also a roof built with low-grade materials, shoddy workmanship, and other corner-cutting tactics.

Roofing scammers notoriously target naïve homeowners searching for a good deal. However, hiring a professional and quality-driven roofer from the start saves you in the long run.

Reputable roofers promising guaranteed workmanship and the highest quality products probably won’t come knocking on your door. But hiring one can make all the difference to your roof, home, and peace of mind.

Do This: Review testimonials from previous customers.

Don’t have friends, relatives, or neighbors who can refer a roofer? No problem. The reputable roofers of the world make testimonials from previous customer’s available right on their websites. The best word to describe a roofer unafraid to share honest feedback on the Internet: trustworthy.

Not That: Skip the written estimate.

Even if you did everything else right—getting referrals from family and friends, calling at least three roofers, hiring someone local, etc.—never start a roofing project without a written estimate of the project cost and scope.

A type of contract outlining the details of your project, a written estimate covers a start and finish date, overall project cost, types of materials, guarantee of work, and more. It’s an absolute must no matter how much an otherwise trustworthy roofer tells you to “take their word for it.”

Do This: Ask for references and samples.

In the business of home improvement, trust and transparency go hand in hand. A roofer unable to give you a reference from a past client or a sample of previous work signals a major red flag.

Maybe the roofer has less experience or skill than advertised on their website. Perhaps the roofer got into some hot water with a previous homeowner over pricing. Worst case scenario, the roofer has something serious to hide.

Whatever the case, asking for references and samples is part of doing your due diligence.

Not That: Be shy about asking questions.

The way a roofer answers your questions can tell you plenty. The good roofers of the world are happy and responsive to your questions—the ones to watch out for are hesitant and impatient. There’s no reason to be shy and every reason to go with your gut.

Does the roofer have a website, license, and insurance information? Does the roofer work with a regular team of sub-contractors? Get your top questions out in the open and pay attention to how the roofer responds. An honest Q&A can tell you more about a roofer than their website or TV commercial.

Do This: Hire a roofer certified by a manufacturer.

Certified roofers give homeowners the added peace of mind of guaranteed workmanship and the industry’s best warranty with full coverage for up to 50 years. Hire a certified roofer and make an investment in the life of your home.

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