The #1 Thing You Should Do Before Hiring a Commercial Roofing Company (Plus 5 Ways To Tell If A Company Is Reputable)

May 14, 2020Blog, Commercial Roofing, Roofer

No building owner wants to hear their commercial roof needs repaired or replaced. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and overwhelming, all for something you don’t even really think about most of the time. But just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean it should be out of mind.


Keeping your commercial roof in good shape is key to protecting your bottom line. Not only does letting your commercial roof fall into disrepair open you up to huge liability risks in the case of an accident, it can also cause your utility costs to skyrocket due to energy-inefficiency.


So now that you know that maintaining your commercial roof is in the best interest of your budget, how do you go about choosing a commercial roofing contractor? We’ll give you 5 steps to help you choose a reliable contractor, along with the #1 thing you MUST do before signing on the dotted line.

Metal Roofs Service


Sticking with contractors who are based in your area has several benefits. A business with a permanent physical address (a P.O. Box doesn’t count!) in your community will be far more likely to be invested in their reputation within that community.


A local address also means they’re less likely to be running a scam. Scammers can’t do what they do if you know where to find them. That’s why they often use a P.O. Box or an unverifiable out-of-town address for their “business.”


While verifying a company’s local address requires more than a simple Google search (and here’s why), it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.


In most places, it’s as simple as finding the website for your Department of State and complete a business entity search. Here’s Pennsylvania’s, for example.


Hiring a local commercial roofer also makes your life easier should your roof need repairs in the future. Having a local contractor who can get to you quickly in the case of an emergency can sometimes be the difference between minor repairs and widespread damage.

Request a quote


Getting quotes from multiple contractors does more than help you find the lowest bid. It can help you spot deals that are too good to be true.


If the majority of your quotes are in the same ballpark and one comes in significantly lower, it’s a good indicator you should probably examine it more closely. Is the lower quote using subpar materials or come with a more limited warranty?


Chances are the bargain price comes with a trade-off. Having multiple quotes to compare it to will help you pinpoint what that trade-off is.


With a big investment like a commercial roof, it’s almost inevitable that you will have questions for the contractor. But, even if you don’t, ask some anyway.


A contractor that takes the time to thoroughly answer your questions is more likely to apply that same conscientious consideration to their work.


You’re paying good money and trusting them to protect your building. They should be happy to take the time to put your mind at ease!


Online reviews are a great way to quickly get an idea of what a company might be like to work with. But, for good and bad, they don’t tell the whole story. Stellar reviews can be faked and negative reviews may be biased by circumstances the reviewer conveniently left out.


Taking it a step further by asking for references (we recommend asking for the contact info of at least 5 clients they’ve worked with in the last year), allows you to speak to other business owners who have recent experience with your potential contractor.


Getting reviews and testimonials from multiple sources is a great way to ensure you’re not missing any red flags when it comes to your potential contractor.


Not offering a warranty on their work is a good sign that the contractor cuts corners and only cares about making a quick buck.


When asking about warranties, be sure to clarify what applies to the materials and what applies to the actual labor. Roofing materials may come with their own warranty from their manufacturer so be sure to ask if the contractor provides a separate warranty covering their own work.


While what is included may vary from business to business, a contractor that cares about the quality of their work and their reputation among former clients should offer some sort of warranty on their projects.

The #1 Thing You Must Do Before Signing a Contract: Ask for Proof That They’re Licensed, Bonded, and Insured

Maybe you’re in a hurry to get your roofing project underway and feel like taking a risk on a contractor you haven’t fully vetted. We’ve all had times where we just can’t research a decision as much as we’d like before pulling the trigger.


If that is the case, the one thing you absolutely MUST do before signing a contract is asking for proof that they’re licensed, bonded and insured.


Any reputable contractor should have no problem providing this proof. If they do, it’s a giant red flag that you should not be signing with them.


Licensing requirements differ by state and county so you should check on what the requirements are for your location and be sure anyone you let touch your commercial roof meets them.


Being bonded and insured means you, the customer, are protected if an accident occurs while they’re working on your building or if the contractor doesn’t meet the terms of their contract.


The last thing you want is to be stuck with the bill if someone gets hurt, or left in the lurch if the project isn’t completed as promised. This simple step protects you from both scenarios and is well worth the time it takes to make it, even when you’re in a rush!


Are you a Central PA business owner on the hunt for a reputable commercial roofer? We’d love to answer your questions! Contact us today!

9 Questions To Ask Potential Roofing Contractors 

Hiring a contractor can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of roofing contractors in  Eastern PA alone. How are you supposed to choose one? 

We can’t decide for you, but the following 9 questions will help you pick a competent contractor and avoid ending up with a bad one. 

  • Are you licensed and insured? 

It’s essential to ask about insurance for several reasons. For one thing, when a contractor has all their papers in order, it shows they care enough to follow proper procedures. 

And secondly, having proper paperwork protects both you and your roofer should anything go awry. 

The requirements to become a licensed roofer differ from state to state. In PA, contractors must meet the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act requirements and register at the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. 

Regarding insurance, PA law requires roofing companies to provide their employees with worker’s compensation insurance. Worker’s compensation protects you, as the homeowner, from being financially responsible for any injuries that might occur on your property. 

Your contractor should also have general liability insurance. This protects you from being responsible for any damage or injury to non-employees that might occur on your property, such as a bystander being injured on property damage.  

Roofing contractor insurance
  • Are you local? 

Some roofing companies like to move from town to town following storm damage. These companies may not be familiar with local laws and regulations, and if there is a problem with your roof after installation, they wouldn’t be available to help you. 

We aren’t saying this is a bad or dishonest business model. Just keep in mind that these companies won’t be around long-term.  

Hiring a local company is normally better, so ensure your contractor has a local address and phone number. Then if complications arise, they’ll be around to assess the situation. 

  • How long have you been in business? 

The longer a contractor has been in business, the better they understand their trade. And while it’s not wrong to hire a new company, it’s more risky. A roofing company that has “been around the block” understands all the ins and outs of a roofing system and will likely do a better job. 

Plus, the longer a business has been around, the more likely they are to be in business for years to come, and that means they’ll be around if you need them in the future. 

  • Do you offer a warranty on your products? 

Roofers may offer warranties for 1, 5, 10, or 25 years or even for life. Normally the roofing company’s warranty covers the work, and the materials manufacturer offers another warranty for the materials, so there are two separate warranties. 

Roof warranties typically last a year, and an extended warranty may add to the overall cost of your project. 

understanding roofing warranties
  • Do you use subcontractors? 

Some companies use subcontractors to help them get the work done. You should know if your contractor uses subcontractors for several reasons. 

  • One, you don’t want to be completely surprised and confused when trucks with an unknown company name on them show up at your place and strangers start working on your roof.
  • Two, you should ensure that all subcontractors have adequate licensing and insurance. 
  • And three, sometimes disreputable contractors neglect to pay their subcontractors, and in such a case, you could be held financially responsible. You may want to consider getting a lien waiver for the project to protect yourself from this. 
  • Do I need a full roof replacement or just repairs? 

You don’t want to fork out the money to replace your entire roof if you could fix your issues with some simple repairs. Alternatively, you don’t want to put a bandaid on a broken leg by replacing a few shingles when the problems go deeper. 

Knowing the extent of your roofing damage will allow you to make the best possible decision for your home. 

know the extent of your roof damage
  • Will you remove the old roof?

When fixing a roof, there are two options: tear off the old roof and completely replace it or install new roofing materials over the old roof. 

Roofing over old materials is faster and cheaper since you save the time and labor to tear the old roof off. However, if you go for this option, you won’t see your roofing system’s actual state as clearly. If there are underlying issues you missed, you may need to replace the roof a few years down the road anyway. In that case, the money you spent on roofing overtop would be wasted. 

An expert contractor can help you make a wise decision about repairing or replacing your roof. 

  • Do you have a cleanup policy once the installation is complete? 

Installing a roof is a messy project that leaves a lot of scraps and debris. You don’t want to be left in the lurch with a huge mess in your yard. 

Ask your contractor what their cleanup policy is before you hire them–a quality contractor will have policies in place. 

Will there be a dumpster sitting in your yard? Or do they hire a trash removal service? Some trash removal methods may have implications for your property and yard, and it’s best to ask about them so you aren’t surprised. 

  • How will you protect my property and yard during construction? 

During a construction project, there may be scraps lying around, large vehicles driving through your yard, and strange people in your home. Your contractor should have policies to protect your property, so it’s left mostly the same as before.  

Some companies enforce mandatory foot traffic patterns so your flower beds and grass don’t get trampled. Some use large magnets to pick up any nails that might have fallen in your yard so your children and pets don’t get injured. 

You should make sure your contractor is conscientious enough to treat your property like their own.  

Tips For Hiring A Competent Contractor 

Those are a few questions you should ask your roofing contractor before signing anything. As a bonus, here are a few miscellaneous tips for hiring a good roofing contractor: 

  • Ask for some references or previous jobs you could look at. Talking with previous customers and asking about their experience with a contractor is one of the best ways to learn more about them. 
  • Request roofing price estimates from several contractors in the area and compare them. That gives you a good idea of a reasonable price. 
  • Know your needs. Do you need to complete the project by a specific time at all costs? Or do you have a specialized roofing system requiring unique expertise? If so, these things affect what contractor you should hire. 

There are lots of good contractors out there! These questions and tips should help you make a good decision for your home. 

tips for hiring a roofing contractor

We hope this article has been helpful for you, and we wish you luck with your roofing project. 

If you want to hire a contractor in Eastern PA, contact us at River Run Roofing! We would be happy to help with your project. 

We specialize in residential roofing, light commercial roofing, and siding.

Give us a call today to get an estimate on your project! 

We look forward to hearing from you.