Have you noticed that many roofing companies offer tips on how to pick a roofer, but the suggestions are vague, offer no assistance on how you can find out about their company and require you to waste hours being a detective?
It’s as if they hope you will skip the due diligence completely.
Here at 5 Star Roofing, we aren’t afraid to show you how we stack up to the best practices for picking a roofing contractor. And we’ll even share a few secrets the others won’t.
Avoid paying for your shingles twice
Did you know that if your roofing contractor fails to pay it’s materials suppliers and subcontractors, those entities can put a lien on your house. Even though you already paid once, you’ll be forced to pay again or risk losing your house at auction. This has become a common problem over the last few years as even financially strong roofing companies ran into cash flow problems or went bankrupt.
To protect yourself, ask your contractor for a Release of Lien. This document can work to protect you from having a lien filed against your property.
5 Star Roofing will gladly provide a Release of Lien, at your request, once your last payment clears and upon completion of work.
Reputation is about more than just positive comments
We love our customer’s testimonials. We really do. But we also know that, in this age of social media reviews, roofers can pay shady companies a little money to pump up the number of positive reviews they receive on many of these websites.
Reviews and review sites are a good start, but you should also balance them using trusted sources that focus on a roofing company’s complaints. That is, a third party who tracks consumer complaints and monitors resolutions. After all, sometimes a company’s true colors don’t appear until there’s a problem.
That’s why we recommend looking at a roofing contractor’s Better Business Bureau rating. Since most complaints don’t escalate to the BBB, anything but a high rating should be considered a red flag.
5 Star Roofing is proud to say it has a highly rated accreditation with the Better Business Bureau (click here to take a look). We can also provide a list of references and completed projects.
Who is responsible if someone falls off the roof?
You’d better hope that it’s not you. If a contractor is not properly insured, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property. Proper insurance will also protect you from damages to your home during the course of the project.
To protect yourself, never hesitate to ask a roofing company for proof of insurance, including liability coverage and workers’ compensation certificates. Check the dates and make sure the coverage is in effect through the duration of the job.
5 Star Roofing carries all proper insurance coverage and will offer documentation upon request. Don’t be shy. We’re happy to show it to you.
Not all warranties are alike
Many roofing companies will try to hide behind their manufacturer's warranties. While it sounds comforting to have a 30- or 50-year warranty, you won't feel so comfortable if your roof starts leaking after a few years and you realize the leak wasn't covered by the warranty.
There's a difference between a workmanship warranty and a manufacturer's materials warranty. The workmanship warranty covers defects due to improper roofing installation. Most roofing contractors in the Kansas City area offer a 2 year workmanship warranty. Some offer extended warranties for an extra charge.
5 Star Roofing is so confident of our quality that we now offer a 10 year workmanship warranty on residential roofs. And that's our standard warranty – no extra charge. In addition, our manufacturers offer warranties ranging from 20 years to Limited Lifetime Warranties. More about warranties.
Should your roofer even be in business?
This is a more common problem than you might think. Many so-called roofing contractors are not properly licensed, insured and bonded – not even a business license. Many may have had their licenses revoked while others may merely be frauds out to get you or your insurance company’s money without doing a bit of the work (what we call “stormchasers”). They may say they are just trying to cut costs, but you are the one shouldering the risk.
To project yourself, ask for copies of their business license along with bonding documentation and a tax identification number. Make sure they’ve got a working telephone number and a permanent place of business.
5 Star Roofing is a Kansas-based limited liability company and a Johnson County licensed contractor in good standing. Our representatives keep a copy of all official documentation for your reference.
The lowest bid can be very expensive
There’s nothing wrong with choosing the lowest bidder. However, the cost structures for all roofing companies in this area are very similar, so an unusually low bid should be a red flag.
As we mentioned before, some fraudsters don’t care how low they bid because they have no intention of doing the work. Others will complete the work, but cut corners to make a profit. Examples include using inexperienced workers that don’t have proper insurance coverage, or selling you a high quality shingle but installing a cheaper grade. A common problem we've seen is the improper use of flashings or not using them at all.
To protect yourself, conduct a little due diligence using methods we outlined above. Also, look to see if your roofing company is a member of any regional or national industry associations. Being a member of an industry association demonstrates a commitment to professionalism.
5 Star Roofing won’t always be the lowest bidder. We have high standards of quality and professionalism, and we will not consider a project that we wouldn’t want to attach our name to.
5 Star Roofing is a member in good standing with the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association.