You need a Bay Area roofing contractor to help with skylight installation, solar roofing or emergency cleanup. But unless you have a company on call that you trust, you face a difficult task – sorting good firms from bad using only your own due diligence.
Here are 5 questions to ask before you make a decision.
1. Has the company been in business for 5 years or more?
Shockingly, the vast majority of roofing contractors go out of business in 5 years – possibly 90 percent or more. Just because a contractor weathers the first 5 years in business doesn’t mean that the company will do a great job. But if you’re looking for a good quick “rule of thumb” to eliminate potential problem businesses, eliminate all but the older, established companies.
2. What insurance does the contractor carry?
Roofing can be dangerous, challenging work, even for experienced professionals. There are many risks involved. A reputable company should offer proof of coverage, such as Completed Operations Insurance, Comprehensive Liability, and Workers’ Comp. Look at the dates on the policies. Most coverage needs to be renewed every year. Follow up on references and verify insurance coverage. The contractor should also have what’s known as a safety plan – an OSHA required document – and should be happy to share that plan with you.
3. Does the company have effective processes to deal with complaints and warranty issues?
The project should be warranted for at least a year. But even more important than the duration of the warranty is the business’s reputation for standing by its work. A good business should take care of its customers and help after a warranty elapses to build loyalty and brand trust.
4. Is the business licensed and registered? Are there any complaints registered about the company with the Better Business Bureau? Are there any other “red flags”?
The contractor should be more than willing to discuss any complaints with you and to provide coherent, sensible explanations for any “black marks” on the record.
5. Do you have any intuitive hesitation about hiring the contractor?
After you do your due diligence, you may still feel weird about a particular company for reasons that you can’t quite put your finger on. Pay attention to that intuition. Our brains can pick up on subtle signals that our conscious minds miss. If a company doesn’t “feel right,” trust that feeling and keep looking until you find a good firm.