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.
STEP 1: SHOP LOCAL
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.
STEP 2: GET MULTIPLE QUOTES
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.
STEP 3: ASK QUESTIONS
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!
STEP 4: CHECK REFERENCES AND ONLINE REVIEWS
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.
STEP 5: ASK ABOUT WARRANTIES ON THEIR WORK
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!