If you’ve ever been in a neighborhood following a roof-ripping storm you know about storm-chasing contractors. While there are solid companies out there following storms many are simply looking to be the first in the door and take advantage of getting several jobs at once thanks to Mother Nature. Many of them come from other towns, or cities. Many are unscrupulous and when they get four houses on a block they tend to have trouble servicing their bid because they are spread so thin with their crews. Granted, following a storm with serious roof damage you want to get help asap. However, you can still do your homework and find an affordable, reputable roofer that’s a good fit for you.
Start with reputable, local referrals. Talk to your neighbors, co-workers, or family members who have had a good experience with a roofing company. Go check out their work. Keep in mind each job is different, but it will give you an idea of the quality of work. A local contractor will understand local/state building codes, permitting, and other regulations. They will also have relationships with inspectors, city/county offices and subcontractors should anything beyond roofing issues surface in their inspection, or during their scope of work.
After you have the name of several companies do your homework. Go online and research your company list and add any others that may pop up. Read the Google and other search engine reviews, but be mindful that some reviews can be influenced, or padded. When doing online searches beware of company ads that pop up on the search page It doesn’t mean they are not a solid company, but it is a paid ad put them on the first page. Go to the Better Business Bureau to check out their business rating (look for an A+) and to see if any complaints have been filed. You can also use sites like Home Advisor and Angie’s List to find out about local companies.
Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. If they are not DO NOT engage or you could be setting yourself up for a liability issue. Does the contractor have any professional affiliations? Do they provide a warranty on their labor, not just the shingles/roofing materials manufacturer warranty. Get the details on the warranty.
Do they provide a clean worksite? Ask for a job you can drive by to see if the worksite is clean, or cluttered with dumpsters, roofing nails, old shingles, etc.
Some roofers provide free inspections and others charge if you do not use their company. Typically, the quote/inspection fee will be backed out of the total price if you decide to go with them. Get multiple quotes/inspections and make sure they are compatible in terms of the scope of work being done so you have an accurate comparison. If the work is not related to storm damage (hail, wind, ice, etc.) you will need to do more homework than an approved contractor recommended by your home insurance provider. But even if you are making an insurance claim, remember that you handle the claim, not the roofer! Don’t get caught by the old (“we are also roofing claim specialists”) scam which is against the law in most states today. You are also responsible for paying your homeowners insurance deductible. If a roofing contractor states they can handle that for you they are committing insurance fraud. You are your own agent.
Ask the 2-3 roofing companies providing quotes to give you the names of three satisfied customers who have used them in the last six months. Ask if they provide any training for their workers specifically in the area of safety on the job, etc.
Gilstrap Roofing has been a family owned and operated business serving the Upstate and Midlands of South Carolina since 1935. We welcome your questions, and scrutiny in searching for a roofing contractor. We are a full service roofing contractor with an A+ BBB rating.
Brian Gilstrap, President
Greenville, SC 29611