What to look for in a Roofing Contractor

Cheryl Reisman
Be aware of scams

Please take the time to read the following tips on what to look for in a roofing contractor.  I have had quite an education working in the office of Eustis Roofing Co for the past 30+ years and have heard many a horror story  so I’ve compiled a list of what to look for in a Roofing Contractor to hopefully save an unsuspecting homeowner of having to tell their own story of lessons learned AFTER the fact.  I hope this is helpful to you!

  • Always hire a Licensed and Insured contractor.  Don’t just take their word for it!  Ask for a copy of their license and verify it  with the FL Department of Professional Business Regulations.  Any roofing contractor working in the State of FL must have a FLORIDA DPBR license.    Ask for Certificates of Insurance.  This is  KEY:  The Insurance Certificates must come directly from the Insurance Carriers — NOT a copy provided by the contractor.  Ask for  Certificates of Insurance for Workmen’s Compensation and Liability Insurance.  Ask the Roofing Contractor if he will be subcontracting out your roof job.  If so, you will need a Certificate of Insurance from the Subcontractor too!  And make sure the Subcontractor has been paid before you pay for your roof job by asking your roofing contractor for a lien release from the Subcontractor.   If you do not receive this release you are risking the subcontractor filing a lien on your home for the monies they are owed by the roofing contractor.  Also — very important:  Call the Insurance carrier direct when you have been given a Subcontractor’s Certificate of Insurance.  Many, many times in the past we have had crews stop in our office looking for work.  We ask for their Insurance Certificate –and guess what!  Their Insurance coverage DID NOT INCLUDE ROOFING!  By the way – Eustis Roofing Company does not subcontract out our work – we know better!  Do you want to know WHY??  Crews like this come and go — they are not trained by us – we have no control over their quality of workmanship. These crews come and go between companies wherever the work is.  They are not dedicated to stay at any one company.  They just follow the $$ trail until it runs out – then move onto the next one……….
  • Do not hire out of town companies!  If a company has a solid reputation in their own back yard they will not have to venture out further. Especially be careful after  a storm.   There are hail reports and other bad weather reports that are easily obtainable to storm chasers.  They come not only from out of town but also out of state.  Why does this matter??  Because they do not care about their reputation.  They’ll do your job, take your money and good luck finding them if you should ever have a problem with their work…..use a contractor where you can walk in their office and talk to someone face to face!
  • Do not put money down!   A reputatable contractor should only ask for money up front if it is a very large dollar job.   A reputable contractor will have a good credit rating with their local suppliers and will not need your money up front.  I’ve heard too many stories of money being paid with no work ever being completed – or of liens being placed because the contractor didn’t pay his supply bill.  Did you know the supply company can lien your home for supplies that were not paid for by the contractor that ordered them??  So think of this….you paid the contractor but the contractor didn’t pay for the materials installed on your roof – now you will have to pay AGAIN to satisfy a lien.  Don’t risk paying twice.
  • Do not open your door to solicitors!  After working here – I don’t open my door to ANY solicitor!   A reputable business  will not need to solicit!
  • Handle your own Insurance claim!  A contractor who says they can get your roof covered for free – or they are a “claims specialist” or can “handle your insurance claim” – beware!  It is not legal for a contractor to act on behalf of the homeowner when negotiating an insurance claim.  To get around this – an unscrupulous contractor will ask you to sign a form.  They will usually tell you to sign their form before they can get on your roof — any licensed and insured roofing contractor is covered to get on your roof with your permission.  An honest & reputable roofing contractor does not need you to sign anything to give an estimate or to look at the condition of your roof!  What most homeowners don’t know is this is most probably an Assignment of Benefits form or an A.O.B. form.  Signing an AOB form now takes you right out of the picture and you no longer have the authority to choose who ever steps foot on your roof — you’ve assigned it over to the contractor who had you sign the form.  All benefits from your Insurance Company will now go directly to this contractor.  Research an AOB – or Assignment of Benefits form!  Check it out yourself.  Bottom line to remember:  NEVER SIGN A FORM THAT THE CONTRACTOR TELLS YOU MUST BE SIGNED BEFORE HE CAN GET ON YOUR ROOF.  This is simply not true.  You can read more about an AOB for here.   Also, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to pay their deductible.  Any contractor who makes the claim that they can handle your repair without having you pay your insurance deductible is commiting insurance fraud and endangering you the homeowner!  The deductible is the responsibility of the insured and the contractor should not be inflating their estimate to cover the part of the deductible.  Flat out fraud.
  • NEVER make payment to any contractor by making the check payable to a personal name!  Always make the check out to the full company name!  If the Roofing Company is a person’s name – always include the full company name.  For example:   John Doe Roofing or John Doe Roofing LLC or John Doe, Inc.  NEVER JUST JOHN DOE!
  • You DO need a permit and you are not the one responsible for pulling it!  NEVER EVER EVER let a “contractor” talk you into pulling your owner permit!  A legit licensed reputatable roofing contractor will pull the permit themselves.  Guess who is responsible for the job including all local and state codes and regulations — THE ONE WHO PULLS THE PERMIT!
  • Do not give into pressure!  Any contractor who pressures you to make a decision fast or out of a fear tactic should be escorted right out the front door!  Don’t ever make a decision out of fear or pressure is good advice in almost every situation in life – including who you decide to hire to install your new roof!
  • Why wait for a company that has a wait list?  Many reasons! Let me just sum it up right quick.  Do you want to be the volunteer homeowner who wants us to send the subcontracting crew that showed up looking for a job Monday morning that may – or may not – have adequate Insurances?  OR the new hires that we haven’t had adequate training installing your new roof??  Naw, didn’t think so!  Take your turn in line – get what you’re paying for!
  • Research!  Check out reviews and ratings on companies you’re considering.  Check their rating with the  Better Business Bureau.  Stay away from contractors who don’t even exist on the BBB.  Either they don’t qualify or they’ve received a poor rating and did not renew their subscription.  How long has the company been in business?  A workmanship warranty that is issued by the roofing company is only as good as the company.  If the company goes out of business — your warranty is gone with them.  If a contractor installs a roof incorrectly it may take months or even a few years for the poor install to start showing the signs – insurance will not pay for this!  If the contractor cannot be found because they’ve already left the area – or worse is out of business — YOU will have to pay out of your own pocket for their mistakes to have your roof repaired.  I once had a homeowner call after the first year of having her roof installed by an out of state contractor with SEVEN LEAKS!
  • Ask your friends and neighbors, co-workers – people who you value their opinion for a referral to a reputable contractor.   Word of mouth is a good source most times.  Most people either know of someone to use…..or not to use 🙂

I hope you have learned something!    Most people don’t know until they find out the hard way – don’t just take my word for it –  research!   I have tried to cover the most important facts – please call if you have any other questions or need us to clarify any of these points.  We will be most happy to help you!



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