“Over 1.1 Million Complaints and Lawsuits Were Filed Against Contractors Last Year Alone…Up 62%.” – The Wall Street Journal
When you choose a contractor to replace your roof – follow these guidelines to ensure you’ve picked a contractor who will do the job properly:
1. Financial Stability Letter: This signed document will show you the financial stability of the company you are considering. Insist on seeing this letter so that you know that you are dealing with a company that is stable and financially sound.
2. General Liability Insurance Certificate – Not “Self-Insured”: You need to know if your contractor carries general liability insurance for both commercial and residential projects. A sizable contractor will carry no less than $500,000…. and usually around $1,000,000 of coverage. If your contractor’s insurance policy cannot cover potential damages, then the contractor would be personally liable. If he cannot cover the damages himself, you will again have no legal recourse and will end up paying for the repairs or even a new roof yourself. Over three-fourths of roofing companies do not carry proper insurance coverage to protect you against losses.
3. “LIEN WAIVER” Letter at job completion!: Don’t be fooled, some might promise you a lien waiver letter, but you must demand that it be given to you upon completion and certainly before you make your last payment. Very few contractors will be able to provide this ultimate level of consumer protection for you.
4. Arbitration Statement In Contract: Ask to see the arbitration statement in your contract. If complaints arise, the roofer agrees to settle disputes through binding arbitration. Without this agreement, you have no recourse.
5. Current References: All reputable roofers carry pre-printed lists of references…. that includes customers from 1 to 5 years ago, as well as customers from the previous month. Also, ask for suppliers, business references, etc. A roofer should be able to supply, on demand, a comprehensive list of ALL clients served for at least the last 5 years. A one year list of clients should contain at least 75 job references.
6. There’s Only 2 Circumstances Where You Should Give Cash Up Front…. And Only 2: Reputable roofing contractors will not need cash up front for 90% of all jobs they do. The only circumstances that would make it necessary are if you special order non-returnable roofing materials, or insurance does not cover your repairs and you have questionable credit. Be careful of contractors who ask for large sums of money up front, especially if your roof is standard wood, composition, or tile shingles. This is the number one area of fraud among contractors.
7. Trade Association Certificates of Standing: Belonging to trade associations implies some quality and ethical integrity on the part of the contractor. Associations like the National Roofing Contractor Association and the Roofing Contractors Association of Florida are common associations.
8. State Certified License: A roofer should be able to produce a license stating that he/she is qualified according to certain standards. There is no national (or local) governing board, states issue licenses, not counties. The roofer should also be able to produce a list of what those standards are.
9. Use only qualified Installers on your roof: Sometimes a contractor will try to use his certification for his entire staff. Make sure every individual member is qualified and knowledgeable. Think about it…. the person who really needs the knowledge is the person doing the job, not necessarily the owner of the company.
10. Quality Inspection Checklist and Walk through – Ask to review their Quality Inspection Checklist. A quality roofer should be able to inspect his/her own work. This walk through should occur prior to making any payment.
We hope this list will give you the knowledge you need to find the best contractor in the North Florida area for your roofing project. Call to find out more about what sets RoofLink, Inc’s network of roofers apart from the other roofing companies in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas.