How to find a roofing contractor ?

Replacing a roof can indeed cost a small fortune.  For larger homes, it will cost more.  If you are doing this as a necessary upgrade because of a devastating natural disaster, you will be paying for this out of pocket and not relying on your home insurance company to be writing a check.  Researching local roofing contractors can indeed be an eye opener.

Get as many estimates as you can from contractors who are experienced.  If you want to change from shingles to Mexican clay tiles, you need someone who has done this over and over.  In other words, don’t just go by estimates but even consider the experience of the contractor in your wished changes.

Before getting estimates, however, you should have your own work plan written down.  Without this, you will be getting estimates on work you don’t need, understand, or want.

When the contractors show up for the estimate, watch what they are looking at.  If someone wants to add services you didn’t know you need, or you don’t believe you need, ask other contractors if they see the same problem.  For instance, if you have a roof leak over your kitchen yet one contractor is telling you that you must have your entire roof replaced, don’t do anything until you get a second or even third opinion.

Don’t go after the lowest estimate, either.  Typically you get what you pay for.  If there is a reason you like the lowest estimate – the contractor is local, has great references, or can start the next day – ask how he can do the work so cheaply.  This is important to know.  He may already have the supplies from a canceled project, or maybe work is slow.  You need to find out for sure that he isn’t missing anything important.

Look for a contractor who is licensed, insured and bonded to ensure that you are getting the right person for the job. Contractors listed on HireContractor.com typically include detailed profiles with past projects, insurance, license, certification and reference information. It’s also a good idea to find contractor ratings at hirecontractor.com.

On his estimate look for something that includes the cost of cleanup.  Many installers forget about this and do a very ineffective job of removing trash and debris.

Next important factor to understand is your financial obligations.  A deposit is sometimes required, but the amount, the reason, and the method are what you need to think about.  If a contractor tells you he wants a deposit to make sure he is being paid, he already knows he can put a lien on your house until he’s paid in full.  If he needs supplies, offer to buy your own or even go with him and pay for them yourself.  Try not to give him too much cash up front.  Some people can take the money and disappear forever, or at least, not show up for weeks or months. Discuss the payment plan with the contractor where you can pay the contractor in a progressive manner (3 to 4 installments) as the work is getting done which makes it easy for both of you.

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