A new roof & even minor repairs can be an expensive proposition and it would be wise to spend time evaluating the roofing contractor before awarding your contract. Here are some things to look for:
The Contractor – Make sure they have a permanent place of business with a shop for making needed sheet metal flashings. They should have an office, telephone number, a GST number and business license.
History – How long has the company been in business. Check to ensure the Contractor your are considering is an active member of the Better Business Bureau and has no complaints filed against the company. Ask for the addresses of two or three completed jobs of the type you are considering and check them out.
Financers – Beware of Contractors who ask you to purchase supplies for the job or ask for a substantial deposit to enable them to purchase supplies. This may be an indication that there is a credit issue with the Contractor.
Insurance – Ask the contractor to provide a copy of his current liability insurance. You could be held responsible if anything goes wrong and the contractor does not carry adequate insurance.
Worker’s Compensation – If the business you hire is not registered or not making its payments to WorkSafeBC, you could be liable for insurance premiums owing in connection with the work or service being performed on your behalf. That is why you should always obtain a clearance letter before a business or contractor starts working for you… and again before you make the final payment. Check out www.WorkSafeBC for more information.
Safety and Education – Choose a company that emphasizes safety and education adhering to the Safety Regulations at WorkSafeBC.
Price – Be very skeptical about the lowest price. In roofing, probably more than any other trade, that old saying “you get what you pay for” is probably true. Low bidders are often uninsured, do substandard work, and will be unavailable if there is a problem after the work is complete.
Written Proposal – Insist on a written proposal even if the amount of work is very minor. Look for a complete description of the work, what material will be used, terms of payment, etc. Make sure all details are covered.
Supervision – Have the contractor explain who will be in charge of your job and who you can speak to should you have any questions or wish changes.
Extras – Does the contract include protection of the surrounding area and is cleaning of the gutters and removal of all debris stipulated? Is there a note listing any possible extras that cannot be anticipated?
Products – Make sure you are getting a quality product. Most products have substandard grades that are available at a cheaper price. Again, “you get what you pay for.”
Approved Installers – Some manufacturers are only interested in sales and are not concerned with how well the product is installed. A few manufacturers are more concerned with their product’s reputation and they have designated approved installers who have gone through their training program. Often these companies will not issue a warranty unless an approved installer has been used.
Product Warranty – Make sure the contractor provides you with a product warranty when applicable. Without this warranty you may have no recourse against the manufacturer if the product fails.
Workmanship Guarantee – Approved installers guarantee that their work will meet or exceed all provincial and local standards and will be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Payment – You should not be expected to pay anything up front unless something has to be custom made or has to be special ordered and cannot be returned. Never pay for a larger percentage of the work than has been completed and you should have 30 days after completion of work before final payment has to be made so any possible discrepancies found can be taken care of.