The roof is a first line of defense against natural hazards for your business and it is also the most vulnerable part of your building. Roofs are repeatedly exposed to weather and other elements that contribute to decay and deterioration that can weaken their protective properties. For this reason, they require periodic repairs and occasional replacement so they do not fail when put to the test by severe weather.
When your building needs roof work, these basic questions and concerns come to the forefront:
– Who should you select? How can you find an honest company that will not take advantage of you?
– What should be done? If there are roof leaks, will the roofer do the repairs needed or try to up-sell you into replacing an entire roof?
– When should the work be done? Is there a better time of year to have a roof replaced if immediate repairs are not needed?
Roof repair and replacement can be a very expensive. Hiring a roof contractor is like finding a good auto mechanic—identifying someone you trust to perform an important service you know little about and for which you cannot see the work or evaluate its quality. Recognizing this challenge, below is a list of items to help business owners make informed decisions about choosing a dependable roof contractor with a track record for ethical business practices and quality work.
Continuing Education and Professional Certifications
Several organizations offer roofing contractors continuing education, expertise and information on the latest technologies and industry trends. While membership is not a seal of approval for participating companies, it does suggest that a roofing contractor has made an investment in learning and implementing best practices.
Bid Solicitation and Contractor Selection
Once you have asked and answered the basic questions about potential contractors, you should solicit several bids before making a selection. Whether this is done through a formal process or more informally, be sure to request the supporting documents to demonstrate the contractor has a clear understanding of the purpose, services, scope, and objectives of the roof project.
While it is tempting to go with the lowest cost bid, all of the above considerations should be included in the decision process. It is important when evaluating the bids, that the business owner has a clear understanding of the capabilities of the potential contractor, and the contractor fully understands the parameters of the job. The key is to avoid any miscommunication that could lead to a roof system that does not meet expectations.
If possible, try to have major roof work done when the weather is most cooperative in your geographic region. Be aware that some roof cover systems require a certain temperature for proper installation, so the scheduling must take expected and unexpected weather of the season into account. Your contractor can provide more information.
Warranties are typically available from the roof manufacturer and the installing contractor. Pay close attention to what the warranty does and does not include, particularly what is contained in the “Terms, Conditions, and Limitations” section, which may reference specific wind speeds, types of weather or “Acts of God.”
Roof Contractor Basics
What to look for when hiring a roofing contractor checklist:
– Look for a well-established, licensed and bonded roofing professional with a federal tax identification number and a permanent address.
– Check references that specifically include other commercial buildings in your area.
– Contact your local Better Business Bureau to check for complaints filed against the company.
– Ask to see the company’s certificates of insurance. Make sure its coverage for liability and workers’ compensation insurance is current.
– Discuss available material warranties from the manufacturer and installation warranties from the contractor.
– Check to see if the company is a member of a roofing industry organization that provides continuing education and up-to date information about roofing trends and developments.
– Obtain several bids for services.