Getting a new roof is nothing to joke about. You might not even want to delay it for a single day. A single leak can turn into major water damage in your home. An early sign of damage can become a much bigger deal when left alone. When the warning signs are there, you have to take action.
Just how you take action, of course, is a different story. With this kind of urgency, it’s tempting to dive right in and hire the first best roofing contractor in Macomb County, Michigan. Of course, that might not be the best thing to do. Sure, there is a chance this contractor will work out just fine. But with a repair or replacement that can cost upwards of $10,000, do you really want to take the risk that they don’t?
There are a few bad apples in roof contracting, and you can typically find them relatively quickly through bad reviews on independent sites like Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor. What’s more difficult is making sure that you don’t just hire an average contractor, but the best contractor available to you. These 12 quality factors can help you make that choice. Beyond the basics, this is what you need to make the best possible decision in your situation.
1) Are They Local?
It’s an unexpectedly important question. You might think that whether or not your roofers are from and know the local area doesn’t matter. In reality, that’s not quite true. Sure, they could be a great roofer regardless of where they come from. At the same time, the mere fact that a roofer is local comes with a number of very direct benefits:
- They know the local weather and climate, and can recommend materials and timelines that work specifically for that climate.
- They know local building codes and permit requirements, and can help you through the process.
- They are generally more flexible when it comes to timelines due to the lower travel time required.
Add these up, and you get to roofers who can help you faster and more reliably. Yes, good roofers can come from anywhere. Great roofers, however, are almost always local to Macomb County, Michigan.
2) How Much Experience Do They Have?
When it comes to contractors, the experience factor can seem a bit unfair. If everyone only hires roofers with 10+ years of experience, how can anyone under that threshold get the work required to build up the same level of experience? From a homeowner’s standpoint, though, this is definitely an important factor to consider.
Generally speaking, you should always look to hire a roofer with at least 5 years of experience, preferably more. Ideally, that experience should come in your area. That way, you can make sure that any professional on your roof has encountered situations like yours before, and knows how to handle them.
A good roofer can have fewer years of experience. A great roofer typically has more than 10. It’s the only way to be prepared for the countless contingencies, nuances, and potential problems that roofing repair and replacement requires.
3) How Enthusiastic Are Their References?
Online reviews are not always enough. It’s easy to get at least a few customers writing a great sentence or two about a roofer. Especially for a full replacement, you might want to check the references more thoroughly.
Most credible roofers, good or great, will be happy to provide you with references. What separates them is the way these references typically talk about the work that was completed on their behalf.
Good roofers get matter of fact references about the work done. Great roofers tend to get a bit more. Enthusiastic statements about the quality of work, the timeline, and the friendliness of the contractors are not uncommon. When you come across references like that, the hiring decision becomes just a bit more straightforward.
4) How Binding is Their Evaluation?
When you have a problem, and you’ve done some initial work, chances are you want the roofer come out and evaluate the problem. Mostly every company will be happy to oblige. What happens next can tell you a lot about the contractor and their quality of work.
Good contractors look for problems. They find small issues, and try to sell them on hiring them to fix them. It’s the way to get business in a competitive market. They’ll still get the job done, but you might be leaving them with commitments on work way beyond the original scope.
Great contractors take a different approach. They know and trust in their quality of work. Their evaluation tends to be open and honest, with little to no binding elements. They don’t look for problems, but for solutions – and they’re willing to work with you to get them taken care of. They get enough quality work to not have to chase every repair, and instead have the homeowners’ best interest in mind.
5) Do They Subcontract Any Work?
Every contractor’s work and expertise is limited. The best ones, however, will keep the work in-house for perfect quality assurance. They know that outsourcing some of their work forces them to alleviate some of their own quality control and potentially compromise their work. As a result, they only contract out when absolutely necessary and the scope is far beyond their own capabilities.
At the same time, this is not an absolute statement. The right contractor also knows when to subcontract to actually improve the work done. The key here is a roofer able and willing to explain their decision, and how they will continue to assure high-quality work. When that’s the case, you can feel confident know you’re hiring the right expert.
6) How Pushy is Their Sales Team?
Consider this similar to the evaluation part above. It’s easy to come across a good contractor who sours their relationship with you because they get too aggressive. They tout their own services, brag about their experience, and want you to sign up sooner rather than later.
Ask yourself this question: what are they trying to accomplish? Why do they need to sell themselves so aggressively? Then, compare that experience with a contractor comfortable enough to avoid taking the same approach. Good contractors can be pushy; great contractors typically are not.
7) Do They Have Weather Contingency Plans?
You never know what could happen. In a state like Michigan, a snowstorm in April is just as possible as a heatwave in October. Of course, you don’t want to be caught in that snowstorm when you’re roof is under construction and your home is less than perfectly protected. That’s why you need a roofer who can give you the necessary contingency plan.
What that plan looks like depends on the situation. The more important part, at this stage, is that it exists. Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor a few questions about what might happen if the weather changes, and how their schedule and work would adjust. Only a contractor ready with the right answer should leave you feeling comfortable in the job.
8) Do They Offer Financing Options?
It’s not a requirement for a roofing job. It is, however, an important consideration as you go through your options. Some, but not nearly all roofing companies will offer financing options for you that allow you to not have to go directly to the bank for a loan if you don’t have the cash on hand.
Roofers who offer financing implicitly tell you a few things about themselves:
- They have a well-established, reputable business model that the bank they work with recognizes.
- They feel comfortable enough in their work to not worry about potentially not getting paid and chasing debt.
- They take a customer-first approach that allows them to offer additional options like financing.
9) What Services Do They Offer After the Fact?
When the roof is done, some contractors leave the site and never return. They did the job, got paid for it, and move on to the next one. In isolation, that’s not a bad thing. Still, it pays to look for roofers who offer more long-term relationship options with their customers.
That means warranties for their work. It means regular check-ups as needed (perhaps for a small charge) to make sure everything functions as needed. It also means simply taking the care to leave their contact information for any follow-up questions. Put simply, contractors who want to work with you long term are in it for more than just a quick buck, and are usually worth working with as a result.
10) How do They Clean Up After Themselves?
When the job is done, the evaluation of the professional you hired should not be complete. In fact, now is the perfect time to judge exactly how they clean up after their project to leave your home and property in the best possible shape.
Good roofers do the bare minimum, removing debris as needed. Great roofers go much beyond that process. They not only remove the debris, but clean the gutters to ensure free flow of draining water. Throughout the project, they make sure they don’t destroy your property or plants. In other words, the take all the necessary steps to leave not just your roof, but your entire project in as good a shape as they found it to ensure full satisfaction.
11) How Involved is Ownership in the Process?
Especially with larger contractors, you can get companies in which the owner mainly manages the team. That is not, on its surface, a bad thing. The company has probably grown for a reason, and knowing that ownership is not largely involved in that management can leave you with a peace of mind that all aspects of the business are well-planned.
There is something to be said, however, for a more hands-on ownership approach. An owner who is willing and able to join their team to help your roof gets finished takes pride in their work. More importantly, they know the tricks of the trade and aren’t afraid to continue using them.
That combination of factors can be incredibly powerful. Hands-on ownership allows you to estimate just how personally important each project is to the owner of the company. It’s not absolutely necessary to get that roof fixed; when it happens, though, the benefits can be immense.
12) What Feeling Do You Get When Working With Them?
This last one is a bit more intangible than all of the above. It’s not about hands-on ownership or financing opportunities. Instead, ask yourself a simple question: just how comfortable are you working with this roofing company after a single conversation on the phone, or a single evaluation of your roof?
Don’t underestimate the importance of this question. After all, the roofers will work on what is probably the most important part of your home. If you don’t trust them, would you really want them to climb around and potentially compromise its integrity?
Contrast that with a roofer who you trust and who seems both honest and skilled in equal measure. That’s why, in combination with all of the above factors, the simple feeling you get when first engaging the contractor is so valuable. First impressions matter; in roofing, especially when combined with these other factors, they can be absolutely invaluable.
Are You Ready to Go From Good to Great in Hiring a Roofer?
When you need a roofer, you can find plenty of options in Macomb County. Not all of them, of course, are of equal caliber and quality. These 12 factors help you determine which is the best fit for your need, and which you’ll least regret hiring in the process.
In isolation, they might not be very useful. Combine all twelve, and you get a powerful list of variables that help you make sure your next roofing project is in good hands. Are you ready to get the roofing project not just done, but done right? Use these factors as a checklist to find a great roofer in Macomb County.