6 Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Roof Contractor
1. Not Researching Your Roofing Contractor.
While most roofing contractors in the Ottawa area do good work and are professional. It is always good practice to do your homework. It is always best to meet with the roofing contractor before you hire them. Check as much as you can about the company by searching them in the Better Business Bureau, or the Ministry of Consumers Services and the Consumer Beware List. This is to make sure they have no unresolved complaints. Remember that no company is perfect, having one or two resolved complaints, doesn’t mean they are a bad company, but to have three or four unresolved complaints, usually means trouble.
2. Not Asking For References.
Even after checking with the Better Business Bureau, you should still ask for references, and follow through with them. Plenty of homeowners ask for references, but they just assume they are good, so they don’t bother calling. Calling references will reveal a lot about the way the roofing contractor does business. You can find out what they did poorly, or what they excel at. Were there any issues with their work? If there was, how did they go about fixing it? Etc…
3. Hiring a Roofing Contractor Who Is Uninsured or with No WSIB Coverage.
The reason here is simple; Roofing is a dangerous job where accidents can happen. Your home is a very large investment and should be respected! It might be tempting to hire a “handyman” to help save money, but it can also turn into a very expensive nightmare. You always want to check their insurance and WSIB coverage. Do not take their word for it, call them yourself. If there is a problem or accident on the job, you need to know that you will not end up getting sued or bear any additional cost of having to pay an employee’s wages until they recover, or their medical bills. The best plan here; is to only hire reputable, insured and licensed roofing professionals.
4. Not Getting a Written Estimate with a Contract and Warranty.
This is a big problem for you if your contractor is dishonest or not reputable. Do not be tempted by a contractor who doesn’t have an address, doesn’t want a written contract and offers discounts if you pay cash. This type of underground economy involves many risks that offset any savings to the homeowner. The best strategy is to get everything in writing including the materials they will use, labour involved, schedule, payment plan, warranty details (for the contractor and the material used) and what happens if anything on the job changes. This will also help you in comparing bids and making your selection. Lastly, NEVER pay by cash, always by check, or credit card. Cash is untraceable, you will have no proof you ever gave him that money.
5. Don’t Insist On Hiring a Company That Can Start Right Away.
Any business that is so quick to respond and can start the next day, clearly does not have enough business. Do not be tempted by the amazing deals he might have if you sign with him to keep his crew busy. A roof is a long term investment, so you need to hire someone who will be around to stand behind their work. Check everything you can to determine how long companies have been around and the strength of their financial position. Does not mean, hire the oldest company, a company that has been around for three years can easily stand toe to toe with that company. Check the condition of their vehicles is there any signage, etc… A poorly maintained vehicle is a sign of financial instability, trucks that are not proudly displaying their company with signage could possibly mean that they do this part time, and might be relying on other sub-contract work to keep them busy.
6. Never Hire Someone Based On Price Alone.
This problem is practically the most universal one when it comes to purchasing anything. Don’t look for the cheapest price. The general rule applies that “you get what you pay for”. The workmanship of a roofing company can vary widely and often the difference is applied toward the price you pay. One possible difference is the existence of workers compensation and insurance. These are necessary and very expensive items. A contractor without them will be able to propose a price well below one that does, but could obviously cost you more in the long run. The best advice here; is to get comparable estimates for the same type of roofing job. At least three or four. This should give you a good idea as to what a reasonable price should be. $100.00 or even $400.00 difference between estimates should not make a difference, but $1000.00 to $2000.00 below the others, should be setting off alarm bells.