Roofing Contractor Warning Signs: 4 Red Flags of a Disreputable Contractor
You’ve probably heard all the horror stories: contractors that balloon quotes, projects slow to complete, down payment requirements or projects that disappear altogether.
At Top Roofco, we have been called out to fix the work of less-than-reputable contractors on numerous occasions for roofs that were improperly installed, shortcut, or even left unfinished.
It leaves property owners and facility managers frustrated, high and dry with a leaking roof. We hate to see that happen. That’s why we wrote this article: to share some red-flag signs that the contractor you are talking to may not be the most reputable choice.
Why You Should Research Your Roofing Contractor
As with any service industry, you have good contractors, bad contractors, and people who aren’t contractors at all. As an owner/project manager, it’s important for you to take on your due diligence by researching and vetting all of your contractors and vendors.
The least expensive option may not always be the best option, and in most cases, the best value is the option that falls right in the middle of the prices. You not only want the service of the contractor, but you want it within budget, on time, and you want a long-lasting product.
When a roof is improperly installed or maintained, it could cost you more money than you saved in the first place, with work being redone and the potential damage the contractor causes to your facility.
Here are some red flags to look out for when hiring a roofing contractor:
Ask for a list of references. Any reputable contractor should have a list of happy clients that you can call and ask about their experience. If you do get a list, cross check the information online to make sure it is valid, prepare a list of questions and make that short phone call. It may not be fun, but those few minutes could save you big dollars in the long run.
No Insurance/ No License
Any reputable, licensed contractor expects to be asked by customers to see their license or letter of Good Standing up front. If the contractor doesn’t provide a license in the first meeting, don’t hire until you see it.
Also, hiring a contractor who doesn’t have insurance is risky. If the property is damaged, or someone is injured on your property, you will be held responsible. Liability insurance is important for your protection.
Most municipalities require contractors to provide a Health and Welfare Bond when registering as a contractor. This bond, as well as, the capability to provide performance and payment bonds is a strong indicator that the contractor has a sound financial portfolio.
The payment conversation should be made up front. Depending on the size of the project, there are a few ways a contractor may accept payment, but cash is usually not an option. And if cash is the only option, get away from that contractor right away.
Cash only payment should be a huge red flag; there are a few reasons for a contractor to only want cold hard cash from you…and most of them are no good. Always create a paper trail with quotes, bids, contracts, agreements, invoices, and receipts.
Also, make sure you review the payment terms you agree to. Never agree to pay up front in full; anything more than mobilization and stored materials up front should be questioned. Most quality contractors do not request payment upfront.
Any big purchase takes time; you have research, budgeting, planning and more. Any contractor with experience understands this and knows when to help and when to wait. You are investing in your facility, not purchasing a used car…and your contractor should act accordingly.
It’s a red flag is your contractor is pressuring you to move forward, make a commitment, or sign a contract that you are not ready for. It’s important to hold your ground and move your project along as you see fit.
On the other hand, a contractor should be available when you have questions or concerns. If your roofing contractor goes silent for an extended period, then reappears expecting a commitment….then you may have problems down the road.