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How to choose a roofer


1.      Interview your contractor. Whether you speak with the owner or a sales rep, they should be able to explain the details of what your installation will require and answer your questions about a new roof or replacement roof. The salesperson should show pride and enthusiasm in discussing the project. The salesperson should also be knowledgeable in the actual job and steps involved.

2.      What is the full name of the company? Do some investigating. It should have an address, not just a P.O. box number. Try to hire a local company. The likely hood of better service and quicker response time is greater if the company is based near your home.

3.  A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance to protect you in the event of a roofing accident. This can be verified by asking to see the contractor’s certificates of insurance (workers’ compensation and general liability). Let the contractor know you want current certificates sent to you by the insurer before the job is started. Contractors may also carry other kinds of insurance including health, life and auto insurance. Bland assurances of insurance coverage may refer to these. Don’t be confused. Ask for proof of general liability and workers’ compensation coverage for roofing projects.

Worker accidents. Be aware that if a worker is injured on your property, the homeowner might be held liable for all costs unless the employee is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Hospital bills for serious accidents can be extraordinarily expensive. Contractors who carry insurance and follow safety guidelines on fall prevention endure higher job overhead costs. These expenses could be the cause

of price variations between contractors who follow the standards versus those who ignore them. 

Uninsured contractors. Roofers who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper to hire as they do not have the large insurance premiums to pay. Workers’ compensation premiums can increase wage costs from about 20% to as much as 100%, depending on the state. There are a variety of reasons why full insurance may not be carried by a contractor, such as:

Not a full-time contractor

Operates as a partnership or self-employed without employees

New in the business

Can’t afford insurance premiums

Doesn’t stand behind work

It is up to you to determine if it is worth the risk to hire a contractor who does not carry insurance.

4.      Ask for referrals, preferably in your area, and call them as well as drive by. Ask his customers specifically  for information about these four things:

a.       Did he perform his work on a timely basis?

b.      Was he responsive when asked for information and changes?

c.       Did he act as if he cared about the customers interest?

d.      Would you call the company trustworthy?

5.      Is the company a licensed or credentialed contractor?                                                                  

When you pose this question, you are, in effect, asking if the contractor is licensed by your state and/or city. Not all states require contractors to be licensed. If your state does license contractors, then he might have had 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.         

6.      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. A newer business may have a great future but it is only reasonable to be more careful when considering its referrals. The failure rate of small businesses in the first three years is very high.

7.      Expect the estimator to go up on the roof to inspect it and take accurate measurements. He should also evaluate siding, soffits, fascia, decking, gutters and downspouts, chimneys and flashing and landscaping near the job site.

8.      Expect to be shown samples of roofing materials and to have the differences in their properties and warranties explained. Make sure you understand how various materials affect the cost to replace a roof.

9.      Be wary of any request for a deposit more than half on the price of a new roof or payment in advance for materials. Typically, payment is due upon invoicing or on completion of the project.


Our services include:

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* Roof repairs of all types

* Reroofs

* Tearoffs

* Flat Roofs

* Carpentry

* Skylight replacement or installation

* All types of flashing: chimney, pipe, wall, etc.

* All aspects of ventilation

* Insulation

* Gutter cleaning

* Inspections






© 2004 G. Klemm Roofing, Co.

G. Klemm Roofing, Co.   630-232-9010