The Better Business Bureau gives your family tips for finding a trustworthy roofer to help you with your home renovation.
The cooler days of September prompt many homeowners to tackle the roof repairs they need to do before the winter weather sets in. Roof work is a major investment and a job that requires qualified professionals using quality materials that will stand the test of time.
“Complaints to BBB about roofers often concern high-pressure sales tactics, confusion over contract terms, poor workmanship, incomplete work, disputes over warranties and overcharging on the agreed upon price,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the BBB Serving Metro New York. “Consumers can avoid these scenarios by taking the time to research and understand what they’re paying for, who they’re buying it from, and of course, what their rights are as a consumer.”
To find a roofer you can count on, homeowners should consider the following:
Recognize the red flags – Beware of any contractor that uses high pressure sales tactics or requires full payment upfront. Also avoid contractors that require you to get the necessary permits.
Be wary of door-to-door workers – Watch out for workers who claim to have left-over materials from a job “down the street” or who do not have a permanent place of business. If sales people go door-to-door, check to see if your community requires them to have solicitation permits.
Get at least three bids – Don’t always go for the lowest bid. Take time to shop around and get 3-4 estimates based on the same specifications and materials. Check out references that are at least one year-old, verify with your local Department of Consumer Affairs that businesses are required to be licensed/registered to do work in your area and check with your local building inspector to see if a building permit is required.
Check the qualifications – Verify the business meets all requirements including required licensing and insurance, that they are bonded and registered with the State of New York. Ask a prospective roofer for references from recent jobs.
Make sure everything is in writing – The full scope of the work should be explained in the contract. All verbal agreements need to be included in the written agreement. Pay close attention to the payment terms, estimated price of materials and labor, and any warranties or guarantees, a payment schedule and start and completion dates. Confirm whether the roofer will be subcontracting the job or relying on established, qualified employees. Be sure the contractor’s name, address, license number, if applicable, and phone number are included in the contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety, and don’t sign a blank contract. A copy of the signed contract is to be given to you at time of signature.
Know what to pay and when – Negotiate the lowest possible deposit, but keep in mind it allows the contractor to purchase materials for the project. A typical deposit schedule would be one third upon signing the contract, a third when work starts or halfway through the project, and a third upon completion, after you have carefully inspected the work to ensure it meets the requirements of the contract. Never pay the full amount upfront or with cash. Make checks payable to a company – rather than an individual.
Know your rights – If you have second thoughts about having the work done, the Federal Trade Commission’s “Cooling-Off Rule” gives you three days to cancel purchases over $25 that are made in your home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business.
Start with trust – Check first with BBB to make sure you are choosing a trustworthy company with a clean record and history of satisfied customers, or select one from our Accredited Business Directory roofing contractor listings. You also may want to ask friends and family for recommendations.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation. The BBB Serving Metropolitan New York was founded in 1922. Please visit newyork.bbb.org or bbb.org for more information.