The process of finding a reliable and trustworthy Seattle roofing contractor can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. It takes a lot of research and asking the right questions. To help you get started on your search for a roofing contractor, we’ve put together a list of qualifications and criteria that separate the great roofing contractors from just the good ones.
Did you leave the contractor a voicemail three days ago, and they still haven’t responded? Or perhaps you filled in a contact form two weeks ago, and they just responded to your inquiry today. Great contractors are prompt in returning your call or online inquiry. Not only that, but if you ask them to email you specific documents such as proof of their insurance, they will also do so in a timely manner.
If a contractor is late to return your calls or doesn’t follow up, then that’s a red flag. A contractor’s responsiveness during your initial contact with them is a precursor to how they approach both their business and their work. Just imagine if something went wrong on the job, and you needed to contact the contractor, but they never returned your call. You’ll want to work with someone who is responsive and communicative, especially since roofing work isn’t typically just a one-day job.
A great roofing contractor provides detailed write-ups
Adding on the communication theme—great roofing contractors will provide you a detailed write-up for the estimate of the job. When you have everything written down, it doesn’t leave wiggle room for contractors to use materials or do additional work that you didn’t mutually agree upon. Here are the things contractors should include in their write up:
- Activities that will be performed
- The cost of removing the old roof
- The cost of installing the new roof
- The cost of roofing materials
- The cost of any other materials that need to be replaced
A great roofing contractor has a portfolio of past work
You wouldn’t hire an employee for a job without reviewing their past work and references, so why wouldn’t you do the same for a roofing job? A great roofing contractor has a portfolio of their past work, and they’re willing to share that with potential clients. Some contractors may even share references in which you can contact and make further inquiries regarding the client’s experience working with the contractor.
In addition, roofing contractors these days have their own website or social media pages, where they showcase their work. Search for their page on Facebook, Yelp, or Instagram to find a contractor’s past work and reviews left by past clients.
A great roofing contractor is licensed and insured
Holding a license and being insured isn’t just for show. It’s confirmation that a contractor is serious about protecting their business and your property. There are three credentials you should always check for when inquiring with a contractor.
First things first: Washington state requires all roofing contractors to be registered with the Department of Labor and Industries. If a contractor isn’t registered (you can check by visiting the Department of Labor and Industry’s online verification tool) then that’s a big red flag. You’re doing yourself a favor by avoiding them. If an unlicensed contractor doesn’t complete their job to standards, you have the upper hand in being able to report them, and the contractor would run the risk of losing their license.
2. General liability insurance
When it comes to a job like roofing, there are many things that could go wrong—no matter how reputable a company may be. To ensure that you’re protected, make sure the contractor has general liability insurance which covers your property. If, during a roofing job, a contractor dents a gutter or damages your landscape then you won’t be stuck reaching into your pocket to cover the damage. Instead, the contractor will be responsible for doing so.
Before you sign the contract, make sure to confirm the exact amount the contractor is covered for under the insurance and also ask for a copy of their liability policy. Taking these precautions ensures that a contractor isn’t fibbing about being covered and you have proof just in case anything goes wrong.
3. Workers’ comp coverage
General liability covers your property, while workers’ comp coverage covers the employees working on the roofing job. This is a vital piece of protection because roofing jobs involve employees climbing ladders and standing on top of roofs that are high off the ground. If an employee injures themself while on the job then workers’ comp coverage will take care of the medical costs. This means that if a contractor doesn’t have this coverage then you could be liable for paying for the injured employee’s medical costs.
Similar to general liability, ask contractors how much workers’ comp coverage they have. If a company is willing to take their chances by either skipping this coverage or skimping on it then imagine the chances they’re willing to take on the quality of their roofing job.
Along with being covered by general liability, a great roofing contractor takes the essential precautions to prevent property damage. Start by asking specific questions about how a contractor will protect your property such as:
1. How will you protect the gutters?
To get onto a roof, a contractor will need to use a ladder, but gutters can’t support a ladder’s heavy weight. You’ll want a contractor to use stabilizers or a similar mechanism to protect your gutters.
2. Where will you store heavy equipment such as ladders?
You want to make sure a contractor has a plan or place in mind for storing their heavy equipment instead of scattering them across your lawn, potentially crushing your well-maintained lawn.
3. Where will old shingles and refuse go?
You’ll want to hear that old shingles and refuse will go into a container dump truck that the contractor has supplied. That way, you won’t be responsible for cleaning up and hauling off the refuse on your own.
4. What happens if there’s bad weather?
A responsible contractor will cover your roof with tarp or underlayment to make sure that the interior of your home is protected from wet weather. Make sure the contractor has a plan for wet weather and that there’s a 24-hour emergency line or someone you can contact in case the covering becomes loose.
Not all roofing contractors that you come in contact with will meet all of the requirements listed above. If that’s the case, simply toss them in the discard pile. Find contractors that take precautions to protect your property, are communicative, and provide a written outline of the job details.
If you’re looking for a great roofing contractor in the Seattle, Snohomish, Olympia, Bellevue, and surrounding areas, give us a call at (360) 205-3100 or fill out our contact form.