Roofing Red Flags: Things to look out for when meeting with roofing contractors
It’s common to feel apprehensive when looking for contractors to perform any kind of work. Many people find themselves in the uncomfortable position of needing to put faith in a stranger. This is difficult even with those who come highly recommended. Considering roof replacements aren’t a regular thing. You probably don’t have a go to “roof person,” unless you own several properties and have a team of contractors at your disposal. Hiring bad contractors can lead to a myriad of issues. Proper vetting is an absolute necessity for such a job. We’re going to look at risks associated with hiring the wrong people for the job as well as identify red flags that will tell you when to look elsewhere.
The risk of hiring bad contractors
Hiring a good contractor is critical regardless of job size or complexity. Sure, you need proper wiring to run devices and doors for privacy, but without a properly functioning roof you are exposed to all the elements mother nature can throw at you.
One of the most important things to look for in a good contractor is that they have verifiable credentials. Valid insurance is an area in which the decision is black and white. If there’s accidental damage to your home or an employee is injured, the matter can become ugly with uninsured or underinsured contractors.
Another issue is the matter of bonding, the lack of which many conflate with lack of insurance. Bonding is a kind of insurance that falls outside of liability. It ensures the contractor meets obligations and completes the work. This gives you an additional layer of protection during your roofing project. It functions as a kind of escrow held by a surety company which allows you to recoup costs in case of shoddy work, per the terms of the contract.
Ultimately, the biggest issue with hiring bad contractors is that it could result in a financial disaster. Though you may pay more for quality home repair work, it’s worth every penny. You won't be talking about the little bit of money you saved if you have to pay for a project twice.
Roofing horror stories
A poorly executed roof install or repair can be anything from unsightly to dangerous. An incomplete job can render a home unlivable or leave you susceptible to dangerous elements and other long-term damage. This is where a small amount of due diligence will pay off in the long run.
It’s not uncommon to hear the horrors of a job gone wrong as plenty of people are more than willing to discuss their roofing tragedies. Some people have even experienced total failure, like stories of a missing roof right before a storm, or severe mold problems from bad work.
There are times when dishonest contractors will upsell lower quality materials. This costs you more money, and the contractor pockets the extra money. Finances aside, it’s not an enjoyable experience to replace something that you JUST paid for. A poorly done job without the right safety nets can result in unfinished work, or work that’s so terrible it needs to be redone.
Trying to cut costs can mean cutting corners; this ends up being more expensive in the long run. A professional roofing contractor can save you from having to pick up the pieces (literally and figuratively) after a run-in with an unqualified individual.
Sometimes the cheapest price tag may be the worst deal!
Members of the professional roofing community have a saying that sums this scenario up perfectly:
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a good roofing contractor, try hiring a bad one.”
Contractor red flags: what to look for and what to do about it
Doing some homework before picking out a contractor can save you money and prevent the trauma that comes along with a roofing horror story. There are certain items that are important to assess when looking for a roofing professional.
First, ask to see the company's portfolio of work. Research the company online and find out what others are saying about the company. If they don’t have a website, or somewhere you can see examples of their finished projects, this can be a problem. It could simply be that they’re old fashioned and have avoided joining the online community. Or it could be because they lack pride in their work, or they lack the experience, both of which are telltale signs of a bad contractor. If you can’t find any online evidence of past jobs, ask for references of previous customers, and make sure you talk to a few of them. If you run into a barrier here, you should immediately look elsewhere.
You won’t always see quality issues in a company portfolio, but if you do, this indicates that their main concern is cashing checks. Pictures containing misaligned or damaged portions of a roof that were recently installed and are clearly visible from a photo should be a major deterrent. Take your time when you are looking through the photos provided. Ask the contractor to text or email you the pictures so you can review them on your own time. Any reputable contractor will have no problem providing you plenty of pictures.
Testimonials and reviews from previous customers should be considered as you attempt to validate the quality of the contractor’s work. Some companies will pay for fake reviews or social media engagement. Keep this in mind when you see a company always receiving “5 out of 5 stars” from every customer. Bad reviews can be just as beneficial as positive ones. Sometimes a bad review can be the result of an accident. What matters is; did the contractor respond to the negative review? Did the customer post an updated or amended review? Does the customer agree that the issue was handled if the contractor says it was?
When you begin the communication process, some behavioral signs are often indicative of a bad contractor. A good contractor will always take the time to thoroughly answer your questions regardless of how silly you think the question may be. Follow-ups throughout a quote process are standard but beware of high-pressure situations. There are times when companies genuinely want to help you, but it’s always a good idea to do some homework before committing too quickly.
When you’ve located a prospective contractor, verify their insurance and bond information. In certain areas, they’ll also need to have a valid roofing license and be registered as a business with the state or local government. It’s also a good idea to check for ethical practices, including safety compensation and workers’ compensation. A company that protects its employees will likely show the same deference to their customers. We can’t stress enough that companies lacking in most or all of these elements pose a substantial risk. Make sure the proper precautions and licenses are in place before you move forward. Never move forward with a contractor that refuses or fails to provide you with any reasonable information you requested.
A good roofer will stay in touch. Understand that there are unforeseeable circumstances that can delay the process, such as material availability, inclement weather, or an underlying issue that wasn’t apparent until the old roof is moved. Any contractor you hire should be willing to answer any questions and explain any unexpected changes in the scope of work. Delays are not necessarily a red flag. Bad communication is. A reputable contractor will communicate with you throughout the process, especially when obstacles present themselves.
If time starts to exceed the promised delivery time or you see shoddy quality, open up the communication channel yourself. If this fails, prepare yourself to reach out to the bonding agency.
At Peguero Construction, we only work with the best installers in the business. We’re here from the initial consult to the final inspection, and if anything should ever go wrong after the project is completed. If you’re not happy, we’ll do everything in our power to make it right!
Peguero Construction has the resources you need!
Finding a good contractor is vital for roofing repairs and replacements. Trying to save on expenses by selecting an off-the-books operation could mean a much higher price than the cost of going with a reputable business in the first place. It could even mean hiring an attorney and heading to small claims court! Once you’ve found qualified roofers, then you can be a little pickier about price.
Peguero Construction has the resources you need to find the most qualified contractors in your area. Contact us today for a free estimate!