Choosing an affordable roofing contractor is more important in today's market than it ever has been. Below I'm going to go into some points to keep in mind when choosing an affordable roofing contractor, as well as how to get the most bang for your buck.
- Get at least 3 bids …. preferably not bids from Service Magic or other "for profit" lead selling sites … they charge roofing contractors $ 50 to $ 200 or more per lead and that can start to add to a roofing contractors overhead pretty fast ….. not to mention they just send 3-4 contractors that anyone can find on their …… so just pick 3 based on your own research and criteria
- Go with architectural shingles instead of 3-tab shingles. It should not cost much more, and the look is so much nicer. Do not get raked over the coals for the upgrade though ….. When I personally roofed peoples homes I'd sometimes give free upgrades if the homeowners could not afford the difference, just because architectural shingles were simply easier to install and looked much better from a neighbors perspective (for future referral business). The cost of shingles has increased greatly over the last few years, so free upgrades are not realistic anymore, but do a little research and get an idea of what the price differences are. WARNING: Menards Generic Shingles are not of the same quality of GAF, Tamko & Certainteed …. so do not base your research on their specials in the weekly ads !! (it's not an apples for apples comparison, but if you're OK with less quality shingles, than communicate this fact with your chosen roofing contractor)
- Stay away from companies that are still blowing money on old school marketing like Yellow Page ads, TV and Radio ads, Billboards, etc …… these marketing areas are overly expensive and rarely produce results compared to how much they cost. They are also simply no longer the ways people find service providers in today's marketplace ….. so any company wasting money on them is probably desperate for work or flat out spending more then they are getting back. Any roofing contractor using these outdated methods will have to figure out ways to cover their losses … or they will simply be out of business soon. (If you are a Local Contractor reading this time to focus on the future of marketing, not the past)
- Make sure you're getting a 10 year warranty. Any company that knows what they're doing and stands behind their work will give a 10 year warranty on their work as a standard procedure. If it costs extra to get a 10 year warranty, then compare bids when all is said and done, and make sure you choose accordingly (warranty and product upgrades are a huge profit maker for slick salesmen)
- Do not ever get pressured into signing a contract , especially if told the price is only good for right then and there.
- Stay away from companies with obnoxious overhead in fancy office space. Roofing Supply companies and Lumber Yards generally have showrooms for clients to browse through, there's really no need for any company to have more office space then it is necessary to run their business. (If the building is owned by the company, than it may no longer be an overhead expense, but instead an additional asset, especially if renting out additional space to other tenants … so if that's the case, then it's a good thing)
- Be wary of contractors who are constantly driving huge brand new trucks and equipment. This may be my own personal opinion, but the last time I checked, roofing was a dirty nasty, tar infected trade, and using brand new trucks simply does not make much sense (except for possibly hauling materials and equipment). This is not a hard and fast rule , but the closer you get to average looking used work trucks, and equipment, the closer you are getting to the companies and people who are actually doing the work. Sales people have an impression to make, so a nice vehicle is expected, but with today's gas prices, any salesman driving a brand new quad cab dually for doing estimates or sales presentations is not very conscious of waste spending ….. and that extra money is coming from somewhere …… probably their customers.
- Be wary of super low bids . If a bid is thousands of dollars less then others, make sure the Roofing Contractor is actually Licensed and Insured, and get proof of both. Now …. if you want to dance with the idea of acting as your own contractor on your roof, then using a Licensed Contractor may not be mandatory, but the liability is still a must, in case there is ever future leaks that don 't get handled and a claim needs to be made, and if no Liability Policy is around to make a claim on, then you'll be flat out of luck 🙂
So … Once you've picked your chosen Roofing Contractor, ask for proof of active Liability Insurance and call to make sure the policy is truly active. (not many people do this)
Sadly, some unscrupulous contractors have used certificates of expired policies and whited out dates to make it look like their insurance is still active … there's con artists in all trades and business, and the same holds true in the Roofing Industry.