If you live in Texas, you’ve likely learned to live with the expectation that hurricanes and severe storms could potentially cause serious damage to your home.
This means that you may have to deal with home repairs more often than most people do. If so, you know firsthand how difficult it can be to find a contractor you can trust to get the job done reliably, well, and on time.
When you’re having issues with your roof, whether from storm damage or normal wear and tear, you need to make sure you’re working with the right people.
How can you ensure you’ve connected with the best local roofers?
By asking these ten important questions.
1. “Can you give me a list of your references?”
Before you do anything else, you need to make sure that you’ve asked any local roofers you’re considering working with for the contact information of their recent clients.
Because often, this is the only way to get an honest opinion about the quality of their work and their customer service.
While a huge portion — over 80% — of customers rely on online reviews of companies and products over personal recommendations, taking anonymous online reviewers for their word isn’t always a good idea. Reviews and testimonials on the websites of local roofers are going to be only the reviews that the company wants you to see.
Why would any company post negative reviews about their services on their website?
They wouldn’t — but this doesn’t mean everyone had a great experience working with them. In order to ensure you’re getting the whole truth, speak with past customers.
Ask them what they paid, when the project was completed, and about company responsiveness. Also, be sure you ask these clients about the style of their home and the type of roof work they had done.
You need to make sure that the company you’re considering has the specific experience needed to handle your problem and your overall design. A company’s website may often include a portfolio of past work, but it’s an even better idea to connect with a past client who had a project that’s similar to your own.
If local roofers can’t give you a list of their past clients, it’s a huge red flag. They could be running a scam, or consistently delivering poor quality results.
2. “What kind of insurance do you have?”
When you’re having a roof repaired or built, you’ve already made a significant investment.
The last thing you want to happen is ending up being held financially and legally responsible in the event of an accident. However, there’s a common insurance loophole that less trustworthy companies will often try to use to confuse you.
If local roofers claim that they have an insurance policy, that isn’t enough. They need to have two main types of insurance: worker’s compensation insurance and general liability insurance.
Worker’s compensation protects the actual roofers and contractors that install, repair, and work on your roof. This means that if a worker is injured or worse, you won’t be held financially responsible.
General liability insurance is what protects your property from accidents or poor workmanship on the job. If local roofers don’t have this, you could be the one footing the bill — even if the error was committed by the roofing company.
It’s always a good idea to ask to see a copy of the insurance certificate. If you’re still unsure, never hesitate to contact the insurance company itself and ask for confirmation.
3. “What sort of licensing do you have?”
Many homeowners wrongly think that once they’ve asked about insurance, they’ve taken care of all the potential legal liabilities.
However, it’s important that you also ask about licensing. Interestingly, local roofers in Texas are not required to have a contractors license or registration. Instead, it’s either voluntary or varies according to the specific city.
For example, in both Austin and San Antonia, roofers must be licensed within the city. Always make an effort to familiarize yourself with the licensing regulations in your city, as it will impact your ability to get a permit.
To be on the safe side, always look for companies that have a license, and ask to see a copy for your records.
4. “How do you screen your employees?”
Because local roofers will be on your private property, and may even do a large amount of work when you’re not there, you need to know a roofing company has taken the necessary steps to keep you safe.
If you’re having a commercial roof installed, contractors and roofers may have access to sensitive data and customer information.
As a result, you need to be sure the company has ethical hiring practices with a thorough screening process.
Ask if they conduct background checks on their employees, as well as how they monitor their behavior on-site. Some companies have a project manager on-site during the entire project, while others trust the integrity of their workers.
This is also the time to ask about the experience of the people who will be working on your home or commercial property. You want people with years of roof installation/maintenance under their belts, not someone who is learning as they go.
In the end, it’s really about what you’re most comfortable with. Always make sure that you’re working with a company that puts your safety first.
5. “Will you install drip edge/edge metal along with the roof?”
Your roofer might be pretty impressed to hear you ask this question — but it’s a great way to let them know you’ve seriously done your research.
Essentially, drip edge/edge metal are smaller sheets of aluminum that go under a shingle. Despite its size, it’s actually one of the most crucial parts of your new roof. This is because it’s meant to direct the flow of rainwater.
Instead of having the water run behind your gutters, the edge metal directs the flow through your gutters. This helps to minimize the potential for expensive water damage.
Keep in mind that some companies won’t install drip edge/edge metal unless you specifically ask for it, as a way to cut corners. Bringing this up is an essential way to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth.
6. “Does an estimate include a removal of the old roof?”
If the price seems lower than you expected (and even if it doesn’t) make sure that you’ve asked if it includes the removal of your old roof.
Though most companies make it a standard part of their work, less reputable ones will see it as an opportunity to trip you up with a hidden charge. But it’s not all about cost, either.
It’s also a way to gauge whether or not the potential company is looking for shortcuts. You don’t want to work with a company that’s simply going to plaster shingles over an old roof that’s actually in need of a total removal, not restoration.
Plus, if the roofers don’t get rid of your old shingles, you’ll never know what potential threats to the structural integrity of your home could be lurking underneath.
Additionally, make sure that you’ve talked to your roofer about any potential costs that could arise if rotten plywood is found underneath the old roof.
7. “What’s your address?”
This might seem like a basic question, but you’d be surprised just how many people forget to ask this. So many, in fact, that scammers count on it.
If a business doesn’t have a local address and phone number, chances are that they’re looking to con you. Do some research to ensure that the address provided to you is legitimate and registered to the business.
The last thing you want is to run into a problem and realize that you don’t have the correct phone number or even the right address to track down the roofing company.
Another red flag to watch out for? Consistently getting phone calls from a variety of different numbers, or unknown ones. This is a sign that your company might be less than honest.
8. “How will you minimize disruption?”
Any home improvement project can cause a reasonable amount of disruption, but roofing projects have to take a lot of variables into consideration to keep their clients comfortable.
First, you need to make sure you’re fully aware of how long the project is expected to take. That way, you can plan a staycation at a hotel for a few days or longer, or simply know when you won’t be able to work from home.
Of course, disruption can also come in the form of bad weather! Without careful planning, this can cause serious delays in your project. Look for roofers who have experience in tracking weather patterns, and are always willing to offer a raincheck.
While no one can control the weather, your local roofers should tell you they will cover the job with tarps. They should also come back often to check on the security of these coverings, especially if the storm lingers for a few days.
Finally, ask local roofers how they plan to protect your lawn and other property. You need to work with professionals who are willing to use ladders and/or standoffs to help take all the weight off of your gutters.
They should also be willing to bring in a waste/refuse container to take care of old shingles and other building materials/trash. You don’t want them to be scattered across your yard. That’s not just messy, it’s dangerous.
Keep in mind that these containers shouldn’t go on any asphalt driveways, because their weight can cause your driveway to crack.
9. “How do you determine the cost of my project?”
Asking this question is a great way to identify unqualified local roofers. Keep in mind that there are lots of different factors that can influence the cost of our roofing project.
If a roofer charges a “flat fee” or offers you an estimate without first surveying your roof, it’s time to move on. This either means you’ve got a scammer on your hands, or that the quality of the work will be rushed and otherwise poor.
Factors like the age and current condition of your roof, the style you want, the cost of materials, and even the pitch and number of layers on your roof will all influence the price.
These aren’t things you can tell over the phone.
Plus, having local roofers come out to your house gives you a chance to meet them in person, which can make deciding whether or not you want to work with them a lot easier.
10. “Do you offer a warranty on your work?”
One of the main reasons that people rely on professional local roofers instead of attempting to repair their roofs on their own?
Because they know that professional work always lasts longer than a DIY patch job done with duct tape and whatever else you have around the house.
However, before you agree to work with a company, you need to know about their warranty policy. In general, roofing work comes with a minimum one-year guarantee.
Depending on the specific roofer you work with (and even the area in which you live) you may be eligible for a longer warranty. Always understand what is and isn’t covered by a warranty. Like everything else we’ve discussed in this list, make sure you get it in writing.
Where to Find The Best Local Roofers in Texas
Thanks to this post, you now know the ten most important questions you need to ask when you’re looking for local roofers in Texas.
While it’s important to do as much research about a company as you can before disaster strikes, sometimes Mother Nature and other circumstances just don’t give you that option.
If you need reliable, immediate help from local roofers you can trust, get in touch with us today. We’ll tell you more about our services, experience, and work together to find a solution.