10 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Roofer

Investing in a new roof is a huge step for any homeowner. The question you must ask yourself is: “Will my roofing contractor provide a roof that will last?”

Unfortunately, there are some unprofessional roofing companies who engage in disreputable practices – from improper installation to refusing to guarantee their finished product.

Since we believe you deserve a quality roofing system installed by a contractor you can trust, our team at Kelly Roofing has taken some time to research the most common ways roofing contractors rip people off. Here are our top 10 questions to ask before you sign on the dotted line:

1. How long have you been in business?

When a roofer goes out of business there is no recourse or warranty; leaving customers to pay for work which should have been covered by their warranty. Sadly, there are many roofers who do this every few years, only to open a new business in a similar name. It’s an illegal practice but isn’t enforced. Protect yourself by verifying how long the license holder has qualified the business.

2. Who owns your contractor’s license?

Some roofers will purposely change license qualifiers (the licensed contractor of the company) every year to erase their warranty obligations and license complaints. When a customer calls the licensing department or BBB to check on a roofer’s complaint history they are misled into believing the company has a clean record, simply because the qualifier is new.

3. What is your insurance coverage?

Insurance premiums are based on volume. To save money, roofers will under-report sales to the insurance carrier. Trouble arises if damage occurs during your job. After the insurance company performs an audit and discovers the fraud, they will deny the claim and leave you paying the bills.

4. Do you use sub-contractors?

Under-reporting wages to the insurance carrier is the most widely abused cost savings in roofing today. By under-reporting wages, paying employees cash, and pretending to be exempt from worker’s comp, roofers immediately cut 25% off their labor price. Wonder why some bids are lower than others? This is the most likely reason. Without proper coverage, you could be paying the medical bills.

5. Do you have Workmans’ Comp?

Exemptions are NOT allowed for workers. Only one (1) person in the company can file an exemption, the owner. Everyone else must be covered under worker’s comp. Roofers have one of the highest injury records in the workplace today. The last thing you want is a lawsuit because an employee was injured on your job and the roofer didn’t have that employee covered properly.

6. Do you know and follow my local building codes?

Very few roofers actually know the latest codes. Every day new roofs are installed that are already obsolete. Worse, homeowner’s insurance companies are looking for any excuse to drop coverage. That’s why they are using their own inspectors to perform such thorough inspections. Don’t be a victim. Make sure the roofer you chose is active in code updates and can prove to you they know the law.

7. Are you manufacturer certified to install this roof system?

Manufacturers look for any reason to limit their warranty liability. The easiest way is to claim a product outside their specification was used. Roofing systems today are tested as assemblies. If all the correct components are not used exactly as tested the manufacturer will void their warranty. Watch to ensure the products used match brands. Ensuring the roofer is certified to work with the manufacturer brand can also help.

8. Will you pull a permit?

You want an official record to prove to your insurance carrier your roof was replaced; they could drop coverage otherwise. Permits today are hundreds of dollars. By not pulling a permit the roofer saves money on permit fees but also knows there is no one checking the work. This often leads to them cutting corners. You can also check the status of your permit.

9. Will this roof system require yearly maintenance to keep the warranty?

In our opinion, this is a scam. A year after the new roof is installed you’ll receive a call from the roofer informing you the required yearly inspection is due. Refuse and you’ll receive a letter from the company revoking your warranty. Accept and you’ll pay 5% of the new roof cost every year for the dog and pony show. Good roofing companies will perform free yearly inspections and charge for only what repairs are needed. While it’s a good idea to have the roof looked at on a regular basis, don’t allow it to become a profit center at your expense.

10. Do you follow OSHA safety regulations?

The last thing anyone wants is an injured worker. Too often customers are pulled into lawsuits because the roofer failed to follow safety regulations, leaving the customer’s insurance to pay the bills, therapy, or disability. 

Kelly Roofing is a second-generation family-run business, serving South Florida since 1972. Our dedication to combining old world building principles, cutting-edge technology, and continuing education allow us to provide you with the highest quality roofing systems on the market. Our teams are certified factory installers which allows us to provide you with the highest quality systems and the best warranties.