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7 Questions To Ask A Contractor Before Hiring Them To Replace Your Roof

When it comes to maintaining your home, Central Florida roof replacement is one of the biggest jobs around. You should never go with the first Central Florida roofer you find, even if they are #1 on your favorite search engine. It’s crucial to get some information before you decide.

In fact, it’s not unusual to compare 3-5 Central Florida roofers before making a final choice.

While there are many Central Florida roofers out there, they are not all created equal. Price is often a consideration, but the best price does not always mean the greatest service. With that in mind, you want to be sure you choose a Central Florida roofing contractor who:

  • Provides total clarity, including a written scope of work and easy access to customer care
  • Delivers years of experience planning and executing roofing projects on time and budget
  • Upholds the highest quality standards before, during, and after a Florida roof replacement

Whether you choose Sheegog Contracting or someone else, we want to be sure you make an informed choice you are completely happy with. Many homeowners have asked us about the best way to evaluate Central Florida roofing contractors. This is the key to success if you have never used one before.

It’s especially important to take some time to do your research here in Central Florida.

It’s not unknown for Central Florida roofing scams to cost homeowners thousands of dollars. This is by far most common right after storm season, when homeowners with damaged roofs are more likely to be desperate. However, it can happen any time. Being vigilant is essential.

Of course, most roofing contractors you will meet in Central Florida are legitimate and want to do a good job. But a newer roofing contractor may not have the expertise to do a roof replacement the right way. Poor installation practices or other cut corners can lead to leaks down the line.

Here are some of the most important questions to ask when you need to choose a roofing contractor:

1. How Long Have You Been in Business?

This is one of the most vital questions you can ask any contractor doing work around the home.

For a Florida roofing contractor, it’s best to look for someone with at least five years of experience.

There are three big reasons for this:

Project Management Requires Experience

Roofing calls for a lot of skills. For a big job such as a full roof replacement, project management is key. That means knowing how much the job will cost, how long it will take, and what tools are needed. A low-ball price often means a lack of awareness (or just plain wishful thinking) about a project. Better to get an accurate bid from the beginning instead of having unexpected costs creep up on you!

Experienced Roofers Get Quality Materials Cheaper

Experienced roofing contractors bring with them a strong history of work with top roofing brands. They can get better prices from roofing manufacturers and pass those savings onto you. Smaller and newer roofing companies don’t have the same trust or level of buying power. The more costly your roofing materials are, the more it helps to be sure you are working with a known name in the industry.

Florida Building Codes Are the Toughest

Ever since Hurricane Andrew, Florida has had some of the toughest building codes around. This not only applies to coastal communities, but to the entire Sunshine State. Roofers need to know more about how to meet these regulations so your roof will last longer and stand up to the Atlantic storm season. This is even more valuable if you will be using insurance to pay for any part of your Florida roof replacement.

2. Can I See Proof of Your License and Insurance?

If a Central Florida roofing contractor gets insulted about this question, run the other way!

It probably comes as no surprise that Florida has some strict standards for roofing professionals to meet. They must be licensed and fully insured. Only licensed roofers can do work that will be recognized by insurers, home inspectors, and any future buyers of the property.

Likewise, they need to be insured. This protects you as well as them in the event of an accident.

All roofers need to follow OSHA safety standards while on the job, including going to and coming from the project site. Insurance is there to prevent accidents from having financial repercussions for the homeowner. Roofers can’t practice without it, and no reputable roofer would allow it to lapse.

You can use Florida Roofer License Search to verify a license. If you can’t be sure of one, move on.

Note that a certified Florida roofing contractor can have multiple entries in the database, including if they are also certified as a general contractor. The lookup tool will tell you whether the license is now active and the end date by which it should be renewed.

Because you can also get the original licensing date, this will also help you verify the firm’s experience. If the name or address doesn’t match up with the information you’ve been given, something is up and you should move on. This information from the Sun Sentinel will help you file a state complaint online.

Remember, if an unqualified person is coming to you for roofing work, they are probably doing the same to many others. Taking a few minutes to flag the situation can save your fellow Floridians from losing thousands of dollars or ending up with an unsound roof that may cost more to fix than to replace.

3. What Is Your Initial Consultation Free?

An initial consultation should always be free, whether you are doing a roof repair or roof replacement.

Long story short, even the most experienced roofing contractor needs to see the roof in person before making any but the most general claims about how much the project might cost. In the case of a full roof replacement, the roofer needs to determine the best way to remove the existing roof.

This initial consultation isn’t the same thing as a full site assessment. The assessment includes all of the planning and preparation the roofer needs to do to be sure that the team can get in and have access to the resources they’ll need to finish the job right. However, it is a major step toward getting things done.

Getting charged for an initial consultation is a red flag in a few ways.

It usually means that the roofer either does not believe they will actually get the job or has no intention of bidding for it. If you pay $50 or $100 for an hour of time, you have made their day and they can move on while doing very little for you. Instead, a consultation should be a serious step to doing the real work.

Ideally, a consultation should also be scheduled within just a day or two of your initial call. A long wait for a consultation might happen at the peak of storm season, but it should be out of the ordinary. If you are always waiting, you might be dealing with a solo contractor who can’t keep up with demand.

4. Do You Have a Warranty or Guarantee?

A warranty generally applies to the products or materials used in your project, while a guarantee is a more general promise that the workmanship will meet a particular standard of quality.

The warranty usually comes directly from the roofing product manufacturer. On the other hand, the guarantee is the promise from the roofer to make things right if there’s a workmanship defect.

The right roofing manufacturer can have a terrific warranty. For example, GAF is world-famous for the warranties that cover both its roofing systems and its solar power technology. These warranties often only apply when the roofer has earned a certification of quality from the manufacturer.

For example, Sheegog Contracting holds the distinction of being a GAF Certified Master Elite Roofing Contractor. Our team has undergone extensive training according to GAF’s high standards. This means that when we replace a roof with GAF products, it falls under the company’s ironclad warranty.

You don’t have to be the best of the best to have a guarantee. And a guarantee isn’t an admission that something will go wrong, either. Instead, it shows that your roofing team is willing to stand behind the work done no matter what. So, there should always be some level of guarantee to protect you.

You should always receive any applicable warranty or guarantee in writing.

A roofer should also be willing to help you understand the warranty and when it does or doesn’t apply. But if you want to get a second pair of eyes on a guarantee, you shouldn’t be rushed into making a decision. Anyone who doesn’t want a lawyer to examine their promises is playing a game.

5. How Will The Project Get Done, Step by Step?

At Sheegog, we’ve developed our famous five-step roofing process to make your life easier.

There are three things any roofing contractor needs to be able to assure you of:

There Is a Plan in Place for Projects Like Yours

Your Central Florida roof work shouldn’t be someone’s “learning experience.” They should already know how to tackle the problem inside and out. That means they should be able to explain exactly how things will get done, one step at a time, and answer any questions you might have. Don’t go forward with any contractors who seem like they’re “winging it” or can’t provide complete responses to your questions.

You Can Get Access to Your Project Manager Any Time

Designating a project manager is key for any big roofing job. The project manager is the person who is responsible for customer contact, including any questions or concerns you have throughout the process. He or she may not be the same person as the team foreman, but should always have the answers you need. A direct phone line during business hours is the best way to stay in touch here.

You Don’t Have to Worry About Unexpected Issues

Knowledge and proper planning prevent most issues from popping up by the time your project has started. That’s especially true when doing a roof replacement. But sometimes, tearing into the existing roof will uncover issues that need to be dealt with, such as damage to structural elements.

You shouldn’t be left in the dark if anything out of the ordinary happens in your project.

Before any roofer charges you a single penny more than anticipated, you should have the chance to go over the issue and the options. So, when you’re in the early stages of questioning your roofer, you should get the lowdown on precisely how mid-project changes are taken care of.

6. Can You Connect Me with a Satisfied Customer?

If you’re still not sure, or you just want to see which contractors are fast on their feet, ask this.

Yes, there are plenty of places you can look for online roofer reviews. And reviews will generally give you a fair idea about what you’re getting into. But there are some caveats. Competitors can leave fake reviews, for example. To be thorough, the best way to double-check a roofer’s work is to ask.

A roofer who can put you in touch with a recent satisfied customer is on the ball when it comes to customer care. This means they not only do good work, but ensure that those relationships continue. They are more likely to be there for you when you need roofing work done in the future.

All the better if the customer you connect with had a project similar to yours done.

It’s not a huge red flag if a company has stellar reviews but can’t produce a testimonial right away. After all, it’s unusual for people to get random calls about their roof. But if the reviews don’t look right or there are other issues at play, you may want to think twice.

7. Can I See Your Contract?

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the contract.

It all goes down like this:

The initial conversations result in a scope of work. Once all your questions are answered and the details are worked out in full, you get the written contract.

There should never be any pressure to sign on the dotted line right away. That said, it’s reasonable for a contract to be valid for a limited time. It includes several baked-in assumptions about the cost of materials and labor that are sure to change if too much time elapses.

A good contract is one of the highest signs that a roofing contractor really has it all together. Although your roofer can’t hold your contract forever, you should always have enough time to read it, consider it, and get a legal expert to take a second look if you wish.

Once the contract is signed, any reputable roofer will abide by its provisions to a T.

At Sheegog Contracting, We Welcome Your Questions – Even the Tough Ones

At Sheegog Contracting, our family-owned business prides itself on making roofing easy for you.

We know that getting your roof replaced is an investment. It’s not one you want to make with the wrong people – or at the wrong time, either. Replacing a roof too early may mean losing years of sound service, while replacing it too late usually means paying more for repairs than you otherwise would.

Every Sheegog Contracting customer receives a dedicated project manager for the life of their project. We are willing and able to invest time in you before you ever become a customer because we believe in lifetime relationships of trust. We live where we work and strive to serve the community with integrity.

We want you to have a secure, efficient, beautiful roof that will serve you well for many years to come. That should come with a roofing team you can feel confident about working with. We welcome you to reach out any time – we’re ready for even your most challenging questions.

Contact us to learn more or get started.

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