Blog - Tips & Articles

Posted by Bothell Roofing on January 06, 2012
That is a very good question which does not have a simple answer and depends on how much time and effort you wish to spend. If you do not have lots of time to spare but want to find most of the sheep and eliminate most of the‘goats’ do the following. It is no guarantee but it switches the odds of getting a good roofer in your favor.  

a. Verify that they are a legal business so that if you have problems you generally have more ways to get your problem solved then if you get someone who works ‘ out the trunk of their car’ which often makes it impossible to have their promises honored. In Washington state you can verify they are a legal business with the State Dept. Of Labor and Industries. They are available by phone or on the web. They have a record of all licensed contractors in the state This list can be relied upon though they are often very lax on updating other records. If the roofer is not a legal business recognized by the state DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER HIRING THEM.

b. Verify that they have liability insurance and the limits on their policy. The minimal limit may not cover a claim if one happens. The surest way of verifying this is to call the roofers insurance agent to verify the limits and that he has liability insurance. If they have no liability insurance or have minimal limits on their policy DO NOT CONSIDER HIRING THEM.

c. Verify how long the company has been in business. This is important for several reasons. The longer they have been in business the longer their track record of happy ( or unhappy ) customers. Also the longer they have been in business the more likely they will be in business to honor their guarantees if needed. The best guarantee in the world is no good if they are not in business to honor it. We have been in business for over 38 years, you do not have to wait that long but anything less than 10 years is risky in our opinion.

d. What about REFERENCES? In our opinion this is one of the most over rated ways of checking any contractor I know of. The bad contractor can give you their mother, brother, and best friend. Or in our case imagine we have 1 or 2 happy customers a year and every one else is less then happy with us. I could give you a long list of happy customers but the chances that you would be one of the happy ones is not good. A far better way of checking any contractor out is with the Better Business Bureau. They do a great job of keeping track of complaints. If a business has been a member of the BBB for at least 10 years and has few if any complaints they are probably very good. If they are getting a complaint or two a year, avoid them.

e. How about money down when signing a contract. NEVER GIVE ANY MONEY DOWN when signing a contract for numerous reasons. First, what happens to your down payment if they go out of business before doing your job? It’s gone and in all likelihood you will never get it back. Also, they promised to do your job ‘next week’ and 3 months later not only have they not started they are not returning your calls. You can’t fire them, they have to much of your money so you are stuck. The fact is all legit roofers charge the material at one of many wholesalers. An average job takes only a few days so they are finished and you have paid them long before they have to pay for the material. If they do not have credit DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER HIRING THEM. No money down keeps you in the drivers seat and does not risk your money.

f. Do I take the low bid? The high bid? Or what? There is no simple answer to that other then to say in a lot of instances the low bid is not the one you want. It’s not infallible as a we have people tell us we were the low bidder but that is just because the other bidders have exceptionally high bids. There are some firms that literally bid twice what we do and at best their work is equal to ours and in many cases, not as good. What you are looking for is neither the high bid nor the low bid but a company whose prices are high enough so they can do quality work and make enough profit to stay in business. On a scale of 1 to ten try to find a bid that is a 6 or 7.
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