Published on October 1, 2017 by Jason Reisman

What to look for in a Roofing Contractor

Are you looking for a roofing contractor in Howey in the Hills, FL but aren’t sure what exactly you should be looking for? Here are some tips on what to look for in a roofing contractor.

I have had quite an education working in the office of Eustis Roofing Company 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!

Tips on What to look for in a Roofing Contractor

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 Florida 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 money 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 $$ 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 backyard 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 reputable 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! 

You should be wary of any contractor who says they can “get your roof covered for free” or that they are a “claims specialist” or that they can “handle your insurance claim!” 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 the 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 and reputable roofing contractor does not need you to sign anything to look at the condition of your roof or give you an estimate!

What most homeowners don’t know is this is most probably an Assignment of Benefits form or an AOB. form. Signing an AOB form takes you right out of the picture and you no longer have the authority to choose whoever steps foot on your roof. You’ve assigned rights over to the contractor. All benefits from your Insurance Company will now go directly to this contractor.

Research any AOB or Assignment of Benefits form!

Check it out yourself.  The bottom line is to remember:  NEVER SIGN A FORM THAT THE CONTRACTOR TELLS YOU MUST BE SIGNED BEFORE HE CAN GET ON YOUR ROOF. You can read more about an AOB form 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 committing 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. This flat out fraud.

NEVER make a 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…

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 and reputable 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 in to 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. This is good advice in almost every situation in life.

Wait for a company that has a waitlist. 

Why wait for a company that has a waitlist? Many reasons! Let me just sum it up for you. 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 insurance? OR the new hires that we haven’t had adequate training installing your new roof? No, didn’t think so!  Take your turn in line: get what you’re paying for!

Research! Research! 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 signs or wear. 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; her roof had SEVEN LEAKS!

Ask your friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

Ask 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.

I hope you have learned something! Now that you know what to look for in a roofing contractor, you should be able to find the right person that you’ve been looking for.

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.

We will be most happy to help you!

Jason Reisman

About The Author: Jason Reisman

Jason Reisman, ERC’s General Manager is a problem solver! Jason is hands-on with finding solutions to difficult problems as well as constantly researching, exploring new concepts, discovering new inventive ways and is passionate about being the most experienced, most knowledgeable and most dependable in the roofing trade. He’s hands-on with training and instruction ensuring every job have the up to date and state of the art equipment to perform with precision to be in and out without delays. Jason loves competing with his Dad on the golf course!