How to Hire the Right Roofer
Let’s be honest: not all Calgary roofing companies were created equally. It’s best to equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible so you can make the right choice when it comes to hiring a roofer.
Yes, we are a reputable family business, operating as a full-service roofing company in the city since 2002, and Peter (our owner) has more than 30 years of experience himself. But if those qualifications don’t quite fit the bill for you, We have also had to deal with many of these conflicts on an individual basis that you yourself are probably facing as you read this post.
I myself have had to deal with my condo board to get my small condo re-roofed along with the rest of our building before I could sell. And then with the “new” house I subsequently bought had to go through the process of inspection only to find out that it too needed a new roof! Without a doubt, this is the most expensive, but also the most useful of home-renovations/upkeep, I have ever had to perform on my home[s].
There are no legal requirements in place that need to be met before you can start telling the world you are a roofing contractor. Lots of fix-it types start up their own “roofing company” when other employment options fail them. Have a truck? Tools? Know what shingles look like? BAM – You’re a roofer! Unfortunately, these people over-saturate the market, and under-bid projects. Pushing legitimate companies out of the running, and causing the homeowners/strata companies lots of headaches!
It is often tempting to go with the cheapest company, but you will inevitably be paying us to fix someone else’s mistake after the fact. More than half of our business stems from calls regarding another company’s mistakes. Doesn’t really feel like you’re saving money anymore, does it?
So now you know you need a new roof, and you know that it’s likely going to be a costly fix to get it done right, but where do you go from here?
There are lots of great resources for finding the best possible company for your home, business, or condominium, and the internet has made them infinitely more accessible. Just a few of the places you should look for answers are:
Better Business Bureau – (www.bbb.org) In order to get accredited, a business has to adhere to a fairly strict set of standards, including ethical business practices. You can search a business name directly to view their BBB standing/reviews, or you can search by city.
Homestars – (http://homestars.com) This is a free online service dedicated to helping people like you find just the right company for their home-renovation/construction projects. They use the culmination of reviews (both good, and not so good) to generate a rating on a “recommendation meter”. If a company has lots of good reviews, it has a high recommendation rating, and vise versa.
You can pick from just one of those resources, or you may want to compare which business are found to have good recommendation rates on all three, if you’re finding your list of contractors is still too long. This will really help weed out any company that’s less than the best.
We are already off to a great start! We have a short list of reputable names found using one or more of the above methods, and now it’s time to narrow it down further. What comes next?
Any and all professional roofing contractors should be able to provide you with a few basics:
- Permanent Business Address – If they are in fact an established contractor, they will have a permanent business address, a telephone number, and a GST number. What is the easiest way to gather this information? Call and ask the roofer about the key items of a legitimate, professional company.
- Affiliations to Industry Organizations – In any industry, there are organizations dedicated to maintaining the standards for that industry. With roofing, some of the affiliations a viable contractor should have include Alberta Allied Roofing Association, Workers Compensation Board, or the Calgary Construction Association, just to name a few.
- Certificates/Expertise – As mentioned earlier: there are no legal requirements you need to meet before you go out and start calling yourself a roofer. However, there is lots of education provided to those actually interested in maintaining high standards. In fact, you should always look to see that the company you’re researching has a Journeyman Roofer on staff. Some application processes actually require a specific set of skills so be sure that your roofing contractor is educated in the products/application required for you.
- Licensed and Insured – Call and ask to see a valid Business License. Any professional roofing company will be able to provide this as well as proof of insurance to the tune of a five-million liability policy.
- Estimates – Always get this in writing. It should include a complete description of the work to be completed, as well as payment procedures, approximate dates, and any additional issues as they pertain to your roof.
- Warranties – This is a two-parter. There is a warranty on the materials used, provided by the manufacturer, as well as a warranty covering the labor which will be provided by your contractor. If your contractor does not provide a labor warranty, you may find your product warranty is void due to improper installation techniques – YIKES! Make sure to read the fine print on both to avoid a nasty surprise.
What about price?
There aren’t many people who feel it’s a good idea to go with the cheapest possible surgeon when it comes to their health – they just want the job done right. A screw-up could end in years of numerous costly surgeries just to try and fix what the initial surgeon did wrong in the first place!