At Advanced Roofing we believe that you as a potential customer should evaluate your contractor as carefully as you would choose a doctor, dentist or lawyer. With a decision as important as your home, it pays to be informed and to know that you are dealing with a reputable and capable company. As a homeowner it is important to look closely at the proposal offered, the products selected, and the price/value relationship of the entire package.
We believe that taking the time to evaluate a contractor is a cost and aggravation saving task on your part. We receive hundreds of calls every year from homeowners who need there houses repaired from poor craftsmanship. It is the old adage; you get what your pay for. We are not advocating paying the highest price, nor are we the most expensive contractor out there. We offer the highest quality work, at a fair price.
You cannot choose a professional roofer by looking at an estimate and comparing prices. Many potential customers ask us to leave an estimate at the door and they will review it. An exterior remodeling job is a major investment, would you trust hiring someone without meeting them?
You should allow yourself an hour of your time to sit down with the contractor. Both you as the customer and us as the contractor, need to discuss the proposal and the options available. You will be surprised at how many options you have. There are often great value upgrades available to you, the homeowner, that most companies will not make you aware of. Often these upgrades do not add a large increase in price, but offer a better look, or a longer warranty, or the chance to have something different from everybody else.
Questions to Ask Contractors that you are interviewing
1. Is the company licensed?
Illinois requires that all roofing contractors be licensed; in this process Illinois requires a bond and verification of insurance. Licensing is non-negotiable in Illinois and a crime if a contractor is not in possession of one.
Illinois has a website that allows you as a consumer to check to see if the contractor that you may do business with has a license and whether they are in good standing with the state.
2. Does the Company carry insurance?
A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance to protect you in the event of an accident. This can be verified by asking to see the contractor’s certificate of insurance (for workers compensation and general liability) prior to the start of the job.
Be aware that if a worker is injured on your property, that you as the homeowner might be held liable for all costs unless the employee is covered by workers compensation. Often a contractor has a lower price because he has inadequate insurance. We see this all the time when we try to price match a lower estimate.
This is important because the levels of insurance that the state requires in general are not adequate to cover you in the event of an accident.
Advanced Roofing is always happy to present you with a current certificate of insurance.
3. How long has the company been in business?
Needless to say, longer is usually better. Less than three years may signal an unstable or one low on the learning curve. In tougher economic times, the failure for new businesses is very high. Not to say that all new usinesses are bad, but the barriers to entry in contracting are high (licensing, insurance, bonds and advertising).
On average we do about a 100 new customer repairs a year. Almost 50% of the time we are repairing out of business (fly by night) contractor’s work. This is an unnecessary cost and aggravation that a homeowner should not have to deal with. We are a long standing family business with thousands of satisfied customers.
4. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?
Request a list of a least 10 names and phone numbers of recent customers (within the last 3 years). It may not be necessary to check all references, but you will be able to pick randomly from the list.
Ask to see addresses of work performed by the contractor that allows you to see the style and colors that you are most interested in. Ask to see photos of work preformed by the contractor.
Asking for references, referrals and the ability to see jobs for color selections, allow you as the homeowner, one more chance to verify the quality of the contractor. You would be surprised how many contractors can’t or won’t show you there work (a big red flag to future problems).
When trying to match reputable contractor’s prices, we run into inexperienced contractors all the time. This past summer we were working with a potential client of a complete exterior remodeling job. He wanted to use a single company for his work. In comparing companies, he was able to find out that the other contractor he was working with had only done three roofs! Needless to say he chose our company.
5. Do they pull there own permits?
Although some towns do not require permits, the majority of towns do require a permit. A legitimate contractor will always pull their own permit for a job. Many towns have their own licensing and bonding requirements, separate of the state. Often a contractor will have a homeowner pull the permit in the homeowners name because they cannot legitimately pull a permit. This is wrong, and illegal under Illinois licensing.
One thing to keep in mind is to verify if your town has permitting requirements. If your contractor fails to pull a permit and they are stopped in your town, the contractor will be told to stop all work until the permit is pulled. This is extremely dangerous for the homeowner! If the house is open (i.e. roof is torn off and not made water tight) and a storm comes through, the homeowners house can be severely damaged in an instant.
We always pull necessary permitting and follow each town’s guidelines for roofing. We will not take a chance with one of your biggest assets, your home.