Finding the right roofer isn’t easy. You need a firm you can trust with literally staying dry. That takes both work and strategy.
Quick isn’t always better. In fact, in this industry, it can often lead to shoddy work. You might love the soft sound of drips on the living room floor as we desperately try to fall asleep. But if you’re like most of us, chances are you’d rather get a reliable repair or replacement.
That, in turn, raises an important question. Where do you start? How can you actually make sure that you will find the best roofing company in Oakland County, Michigan?
You’ve come to the right place. You won’t be able to evaluate quality without a bit of research, and some personal conversations with the professionals you’re considering. When that happens, ask these questions to find a roofing contractor you can rely on.1) What Areas Do You Work In?
First, the obvious. You have to make sure that any roofing expert you want to contract with actually does work in your area. Without this step, you risk talking to companies – and talking yourself into working with them – when it’s not actually realistic.
Here, it pays to be specific. Tell them your exact address, and ask for work they’ve done in your area. Even if they can technically service your town, that doesn’t mean they’ll like it. They might even de-prioritize you because the commute out is too long. It’s the first qualifier you always need to ask.
2) What Experience Do You Have with Michigan Roofs?
Next, it’s time to get more specific. This question takes the previous one, and gets down to what really matters. After all, someone theoretically being able to work in your area doesn’t mean they actually have experience doing so.
Working in Greater Detroit is difficult if you don’t have a lot of experience with it. The climate and daily weather can be a challenge. Streets can be narrow. A roofer that hasn’t had any previous jobs in Oakland County might not know what they’re biting off. That’s why it makes sense to tend towards professionals with specific, dedicated expertise in your backyard.
3) Are You Licensed, Insured, and in Good Standing?
You’ll see this tip and question in pretty much every contracting guide. There’s a reason for that. Whether you hire a roofer or an exterminator, you need to make sure they’re licensed and insured. Without it, you risk shoddy work and serious liability should something go wrong.
A non-insured contractor could damage your entire house without having to worry about it. A roofing company without workman’s comp could have a worker fall of the roof, and sue you for it. A contractor without a license can claim whatever expertise they want, without actually having to back it up.
That’s why you should only work with contractors who are licensed, insured, and (perhaps most importantly) in good standing. When in doubt, double-check their claims. It never hurts to do more research than necessary in this regard.
4) Can You Come Out for a Free Estimate on Our Roof?
Don’t trust roofers who don’t want to check out your property and what needs done before doing the work. Some contractors fall into one of two buckets:
- They tell you what’s wrong with your roof, and how they’ll fix it, based on your description alone.
- They want to make the evaluation and estimate part of the job, including payment for it.
Neither of those is a good idea. One typically overestimates the damage and overcharges you. The other ensures that the contractor gets paid, even if they don’t do any work. Instead, look for a roofer that can give you a free estimate, no strings attached.
5) Will You Provide that Estimate in Written Form?
Once you’ve worked with a roofer or any contractor for a while, you might be able to trust their word. When you first look for a partner, that’s not the case. A free estimate is worth little if the end price has nothing to do with it.
That’s why you should always insist, whenever possible, on receiving that estimate in written form. To be sure, the final price may change based on unexpected damage or extra repairs. Still, the estimate should be detailed enough to help you understand your budget before you sign anything.
6) What Materials Do You Recommend and Use for Roofing Repair/Replacement?
This one requires some preliminary research. It pays to know just what materials actually work well for your roof, depending on the project you’re looking for. When you do, you will be able to ask this question and immediately know whether the pro you’re looking to work with actually cares about quality or just wants to get the cheapest stuff possible.
Good roofers pride themselves on their materials. They’ll be able to tell you all about them. When someone seems resistant to do that, so should you. Even if you’re not an expert, their general reaction to this question can tell you a whole lot over whether or not you can trust then with your roof.
7) Will You Remove the Old Roof First?
Never, ever trust a contractor who wants to put a new roof on top of your old, damaged one. That does nothing but ask for trouble. The danger of leaking and further damage increases exponentially, and before you know it, you need their services again. In fact, that might just be what they’re banking on.
Instead, work with the roofing company that answers this question with a resounding yes. They might even tell you why it’s so important to take that step. At the very least, they’ll be appreciative of your knowledge of the process. Any quality roof replacement needs to start with removal of the old work.
8) How Will You Protect My Gutters While You Work?
It’s one of the most important, yet overlooked parts of the job. Too often, our customers tell us horror stories about past roof repairs that ended up costing double because, in the process of working on top of the house, the roofers destroyed the gutters. Simply leaning ladders against them is just asking for trouble.
Quality roofers instead use ladder standoffs. These extra arms take the weight off the gutter, and move it to the exterior wall of the house. Look for and work with roofing companies who use these types of methods, not their competitors who just want to get the job done quickly without regard for exterior damage.
9) How Much Do You Charge for Roofing?
Yes, cost matters. Probably not as much as you might initially think, but it’s still an important aspect. If two roofing companies of similar quality and reputation give you vastly different pricing for the same job, you probably have your mind set on the less expensive one pretty quickly.
It should not be the only differentiator for choosing the right pro. Quality work typically comes with a higher price than shoddy repairs that quickly need a follow-up. Still, it matters in the grand scheme of things.
Keep in mind that when you ask this question, your roofer may not be able to give you an exact estimate yet. They have to come to your house to do so. This serves more of a general purpose; you understand the price range, and you understand how they charge for the project as well.
10) Do You Have Testimonials and Referrals From Other Customers Like Me?
Never trust the word of a business on its own. They have an incentive to tell you how great they are; after all, they want your business. Instead, look for independent sources to back up these boisterous claims.
That starts with testimonials, which most companies will be happy to offer up. Sites like Better Business Bureau and HomeAdvisor can be great sources for user reviews of past projects. But especially for a complete replacement, don’t be afraid to go beyond that. Ask for referrals of past customers, so you can gauge exactly what it’s like to work with this roofing company and what’s expected of you.
11) What Will You Do If the Weather Gets Bad While You Work?
We love Oakland County, Michigan. But even we have to admit that the weather is not always identical. And yet, you probably won’t be able to wait for that calm and warm Michigan spring. What happens when the weather gets back in the middle of your roof replacement?
A contractor with experience in this area better have that answer ready. Rather than looking for a specific answer, make sure that they do, so that a plan is in place just in case. Most likely, that will include covering your roof as often as possible to avoid water and moisture entering the home and wood.
12) What’s the Warranty on Your Work and Materials?
Let’s make this simple: if a roofer doesn’t offer a warranty on their work, walk away. The roof could cave in a week after the work is complete, and the contractor wouldn’t care one bit. It’s one of the core conditions of any roofing work.
Ideally, that warranty includes both the work itself and the materials used. And if you get a preliminary yes, take it one step further. Compare warranties from roofing companies you’re considering as one of the major decision factors.
13) How Can I Communicate With You During the Project?
A simple roof repair might take a couple hours. Depending on the weather and the size of your home, a complete replacement can take anywhere from a couple of days to more than a week. For those more complex alternatives, you need a contact person.
Ideally, that contact person is one that you’ve worked with throughout the project. It might be a foreman, or someone else who is actually on the job site. Whoever it is, make sure you have their contact information so you can reach out even after hours should something go wrong.
14) How is Your Crew Trained to Work on Roofs?
Roofing doesn’t require any formal training. There is no bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or licensing exam. That makes finding quality workers a bit more difficult than other professions that require formal training. Difficult, of course, is not impossible.
Asking this question helps you understand how much your potential roofing partner values quality work as well as their own workers. They’ll have trained them, one way or the other, to get the job done. Get them talking about it, and you’ll gain a better understanding of whether you can trust them to keep your house safe and dry.
15) Will You Protect My Property From Any Damage During the Work?
Yes, they’re roofers. No, that doesn’t mean they can leave the rest of your property a mess. Just like basement waterproofers can’t just cut up your walls without repercussions, roofers shouldn’t be allowed or empowered to damage your driveway, landscaping, or any other part of your property. Some of that damage might be inevitable. If your entire house is surrounded by shrubs, some of them may need to endure ladders for roof access. But that doesn’t mean the workers can simply throw stuff on your driveway or tramp through your flower bed. Learn about the steps your potential roofing company is willing to take to protect your property, and you’ll learn a whole lot about their pride and way of working.
Get the Process Started
Ask these 15 questions, and you’ll undoubtedly find a roofer that’s perfect for your job. They’ll actually be perfect for any jobs. If you get all of these 15 questions answered to your satisfaction, you can be sure that the work you get will be high-quality, done right, and at a reasonable price.