1 - What is the full name and address of the company?
Getting the complete address of the company can be an important factor in determining a company's time in business. If a post office box is given, ask for a full street address as well.
2 - Does the company carry insurance?
A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance (not required in Texas) to protect you in the event of a roofing accident. This can be verified by asking to see the contractor's certificates send to you by the insurer before the job is started.
3 - Is the company a licensed or credentialed contractor?
Not all states require contractors to be licensed. If your state does license contractors, then he might have to pass a written examination in his specialty, although few licenses make this a requirement. A number of cities also require professional licensing. Check with your local licensing authority for details.
4 - How long has the company been in business?
Needless to say, longer is usually better. Under three years may signal an unstable business or one low on the learning curve. On the other hand, everybody has to start somewhere! References will be helpful to double check any business, and are especially important when dealing with a new business.
5 - Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?
- Ask for photos of completed work. Many roofers will not have photos.
- Request a list of 10 names and phone numbers of recent customers (last 12 months).
Typically, contractor workmanship warranties are for one year or more. Longer warranties are not always more valuable than shorter warranties. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the roofer to stand behind his warranty. That is best evaluated using customer referrals. Ask his customers about these four things:
- Did he perform his work on a timely basis?
- Was he responsive when asked for information and changes?
- Did he act as if he cared about the customer's interests?
- And finally, would you call the company trustworthy?
- Try to find out how your contractor handles problems when they do arise. Request a referral from a job that involved a complaint.
- Ask the contractor if he has ever lost a job-related court case.
- As if his contractor's license has ever been suspended and why.