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Roofing Contractors—Avoid the Cowboys

Find a Reputable Business, for a Reasonable Price

© 2013 by Hillary Ealey; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

Roofing contractors preparing the roof; photo courtesy Hillary Ealey

My family has always been involved in property management. Whether it has been buying and converting, renting, demolition, building, you name it, we’ve done it all at some point.

Unfortunately, being in this business, you get to meet a number of unsavory characters who cut every corner they can, risking your equity investment. It would be extremely unfair for me to tarnish everyone with the same brush.

I have worked with a lot of good contractors. and continue to give them repeat business as a reward for their great work.

A recent bad, and costly, experience with some roofing contractors has motivated me to write this blog post. Hopefully in this blog I can prevent you from getting your television debut on Rogue Traders or Watch Dog!

Plan Your Roofing Project Ahead

Look for your contractor early! Most good contractors are booked in advance. If you ring Dave from down the road and he can start work later that day, chances are he isn’t the best option.

Business may be quiet for him, but I’d say it is more likely that he isn’t in high demand because of his work quality.

Contractor’s Liability Insurance and More

A roofing contractor should have the appropriate insurance to cover the job. If he doesn’t then don’t go ahead with the deal.

What kind of insurance should you look for? You’ll want to verify contractor’s liability insurance, bonding, and workers compensation. The workers comp insurance will help to protect you from a mechanics lien.

Get References

Often contractors are suggested by friends. If this is the case ask your friend if they are happy with the work that was carried out.

If possible, go and look at the finished product and see for yourself if you would be happy if that was done to your property. If you don’t know anyone the contractor has worked for, ask them to tell you a local site they have worked on.

Many contractors maintain a photo portfolio of projects they have completed in the past. Ask to see one; he should be glad to showcase his past successes.

I don’t recommend knocking on the door of a stranger asking to see his roof if you want to avoid being sectioned, but you can definitely have a look on a drive by or on a walk.

Agree on the Work Needed

It is perfectly normal for a contractor to assess a job and tell you there is more work then you first thought; after all; they are experts and may well know things you do not about the job.

Ask them to explain the work in layman terms, get a full satisfactory understanding, and if you don’t feel sure then get a second opinion. You might reference any of the other roofing articles listed in the links below.

Determine a Reasonable Time Scale

This kind of ties in with the last point. Once you understand what needs doing, agree a time scale. One of the most common causes of going over budget is time!

When possible I agree a fee, regardless of how long it takes the contractor to do the work he gets paid the same; you’d be amazed how much quicker things seem to get done.

This may not be possible, for example if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, so do your best to manage the time a job takes. Be sure that once the work starts the crew will be dedicated to your home and not spread out over a lot of others.

A lot of the issues I’ve covered are common sense but you’d be amazed on how many times I hear people saying they have been ripped off by a contractor.

Some jobs will take longer than expected, most will be more expensive than you thought (definitely more expensive than you would like) and most will largely be out of your control once you hand the work over to a contractor.

Remember, your home is your biggest asset and hopefully by following my advice you will get the high quality finish you want without breaking the bank.

About the Author:

Hillary Ealey is a new blogger with a keen interest in anything Home Improvements or D.I.Y. The services reviewed here are from Leafield Projects.

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