For any business in any industry, a clean reputation is one key to success. If you’re a homeowner in need of a roofer, your first step when checking a roofing company’s local reputation is to ask for their basic business info: company name, business address, telephone number, federal tax identification number and website.
How you accomplish the next step will depend on which resources you have access to. Check as many of these sources as possible. Cutting corners during research will put you at risk of hiring a fly-by-night contractor or a roofer that provides poor customer service. Good sources of information include:
- Friends, family and neighbors who have worked with the roofer on past projects
- Business review sites like Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau
- Trade associations like NFRC and ARMA (Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association)
What to Look For
A+ and five-star ratings, glowing reviews and strong recommendations to hire are all good signs, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all of checking a contractor’s reputation. You’ll also want to ask yourself questions like:
- How well do they handle and resolve customer complaints? (The answer to this question can actually say more about a contractor than a 100% squeaky-clean reputation.)
- Do they practice good client-roofer communication before, during and after a project?
- Are they able to consistently meet deadlines?
- Are they easy to reach for concerns and inquiries?
- Are they upfront about materials, warranties, payments, and other important aspects of a roofing project?
- Do they pressure homeowners into signing up for services and add-ons they didn’t want in the first place?
Why Be Wary: The Reality of Roofing Scams
Many contractors promise quality roofing service and fast completion times, but only a fraction actually live up to these promises. Just a few months back, a series of roofing scams led to the arrest of five employees from NBRC Roofing Co., a Tampa area roofing contractor.
The five NBRC employees left almost a hundred homes with unfinished roof repairs and made off with a total of $525,000. According to Florida’s chief financial officer, their modus was to visit Tampa homeowners after a storm and convince them that their roofs needed urgent repairs. They would then help the victims file insurance claims, take the money and walk away without doing any of the promised roofing work.
Situations like this happen every so often across the U.S. If you want to protect yourself and learn to differentiate a good roofer from a bad one, remember your contractor credibility checklist.