Miss Wesson shakes her head in disbelief as she recalls being scammed by a “commercial roofing contractor.”
It all started when a man showed up at her office. Claiming to be a professional roofer, he advertises himself as the best person who can fix Miss Wesson’s pesky leaks.
“I’ll track and fix those leaks and in no time, you’ll be able to resume your business operations. But first, you need to pay me 50% of the total price,” the so-called roofer says. Trusting the words of the man, Miss Wesson made the upfront payment – in cash.
On the day the roofer promised he’d begin work, he didn’t show up. Miss Wesson tried to contact him several times. She searched the internet for records. But he was nowhere to be found.
If only Miss Wesson had been more careful.
Why Hire a Good Roofer?
First-time business owners and the elderly are the usual victims of roofing scams. Sometimes, one is able to detect a bad roofing job weeks or months after the roof has been built. Usually, when it rains.
It’s great to have roofers who know what they do. These are roofers who’ve passed licensing requirements, carry insurance, and adhere to safety practices. Finding them may take some time but it’s all worth it. Good roofers give you more than your money’s worth. For your business, it means a higher return on investment.
8 Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing a Commercial Roofing Contractor
1. Do ask friends and family for suggestions.
A practical and useful way to begin your search is to get recommendations from people you know. Maybe they run their own local business too and had their roof fixed. Perhaps they know a friend who just got an installation. News spread in local communities like wildfire. Word-of-mouth is indeed powerful. It helps you discover complaints and praises based on others’ feedback.
Pay attention to comments about the quality of work, cleanliness, and the manufacturer used in the roofing process. Remember that price isn’t a reliable indicator of a good contractor.
2. Do stick to contractors within your area.
Some building owners are confused as to whether they should choose local or out-of-town roofers. Pick local contractors at all times. Imagine for a moment that you’re in the midst of running your business and it’s a rainy day. All of a sudden, water starts dripping from the ceiling.
Can the same contractors who installed your roof immediately come to your aid? Or do you suspect that you need to wait because they’re unavailable? Obviously, you wouldn’t want people who are out of reach.
3. Do insist on checking examples of past work.
Whatever commercial roofing contractors tell you won’t matter if they cannot show you work samples. As a business owner, go the extra mile by asking for solid proof. Some roofers put up a portfolio section on their website. Others take photos and short videos (while on the job) and upload them to their Facebook page.
In your research, find out if they can handle the kind of service you look for. It doesn’t matter if it’s a roofing restoration project or a simple repair.
4. Do check with the Better Business Bureau.
The Better Business Bureau (or BBB) is one of the best websites to check a contractor’s reputation. You get to explore many details about a prospective company. These details include contact information, physical address, and the date the company started their business.
BBB’s most recent news encourages people planning renovations to check contractor profiles on their website. If you come across negative reviews on a profile, BBB advises that you find out how the business responded to the complaint.
5. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Believe us when we say that good commercial roofing contractors want their customers to make informed decisions. With that, they do their best to respond to questions. If a contractor shows impatience and hesitation in answering your queries, then he’s probably hiding something. Could it be that the contractor isn’t licensed or lacks experience?
After your collect names and contact details of your prospective contractors, call them one by one. Here’s a list of interview questions to ask:
- Do you have a website that I can check?
- What is your complete on-site address?
- Can I have a copy of your license?
- How long have you been in business?
- What kind of training do you provide your employees?
6. Don’t base your choice on price alone.
Extremely low and enticing bids are a tell-tale sign of poor workmanship and materials. Roofing scammers claim to have the most competitive prices. They show up when there’s a storm – a reason why we call them “storm chasers.”
They do this to attract clients who want to save more money. At the end of the day, what seems to be cheap is actually expensive. With a bad roofing job, you end up dealing with more repairs. Worse, you replace your entire roof. In such situations, we realize how essential it is to be extra picky about whom you hire.
7. Don’t forget to ask for a written estimate.
Beware verbal agreements. No matter how approachable or professional a contractor is, always request a written estimate. A written estimate is a document (a contract) that outlines everything involved in roofing projects – whether they’re commercial roof repairs or installations.
One contractor’s estimate can differ from another contractor’s estimate. But make sure to receive an estimate that helps you understand the scope of a project. Common details that you should expect to find include:
- Start and completion dates of the project
- Type of commercial roofing material to be used
- Charges of the project
- Proof of a roofing contractor’s license
- Guarantee of work
Putting everything in writing is always the best way to seal the deal.
8. Don’t hire unless you compare apples to apples.
Last but not the least, never proceed with a roofing contractor unless you’ve considered (and interviewed) at least three. Rushing to hire without looking into the contractor’s background will put you at risk for being scammed or getting poor quality results.
Consider comparison points such as years of experience in the business, warranty, materials, labor, and hidden fees.
As long as you follow these tips, you should be able to hire a contractor that can provide you topnotch commercial roofing results.