Hiring a roofer in Central Florida can be easy, but it’s not simple.
As you read this, there are probably hundreds of people in your town who say they can do roof work. But almost no one uses the title “roofing contractor” – that is, a profession with legal standards and quality controls. Instead, they might call themselves “handymen” or some other name.
Even if someone says he’s “a roofer,” you should scrutinize that.
Here in Florida, anyone who wants to provide services as a roofing contractor needs to have a roofing license. You can check the status of someone’s roofing license on the official state website. Still, that doesn’t stop people from claiming they can “repair your roof for cheap.”
There are all kinds of problems with that.
First of all, Florida is estimated to be the #1 state in the United States when it comes to roofing scams. Almost all of these scams come in the same form: A wannabe “roofer” goes door to door after a storm.
By offering to do your roof repair for cash, they claim to be able to cut out the insurer and get the work done for less. But that’s not really what happens. Since cash makes the transaction untraceable, most supposed “roofers” vanish with the money. If they actually try to do the repairs, it can be even worse.
Make no mistake about it: Just the same way your homeowner’s insurance can drop you for the age of your roof, it can also drop you if it later comes to light that an unlicensed “handyman” was on your roof. All in all, there’s no benefit to hiring a roofer who can’t do the job with integrity.
So, how can you protect yourself from these kinds of “roofers”?
It all comes down to asking the right questions.
Always Check a Roofing Contractor’s Credentials Through Their Website
Contacting a contractor directly with your questions can save you a lot of time in the long run. But if you want to narrow down your options to a short list of favorites, you can always start on the website. Every professional roofing contractor in business in Florida should have one – no exceptions.
You’ll notice that when somebody is going door to door, they usually don’t even have a business card, let alone a website. A website shows you a company has a legitimate interest in attracting new clients. Without one, they might as well be saying they don’t want you to be able to find them later.
Once you’ve found a website, another good place to look is Sunbiz. Every business in good standing in the state of Florida has official records through Sunbiz, even if the firm was incorporated somewhere else. Using the Florida business records search, you can find out when they opened to the public.
Three Roofing Contractor Credentials to Always Look Out For
While there are many different ways a roofing contractor can prove they have what it takes, some of the most valuable credentials are held by only a handful of professionals. Instead of looking for the absolute basics (like licensure and insurance), why not zoom in on the ones who’ll do the best job?
With that in mind, let’s check out some of the leading credentials for legitimate roofing contractors:
1. GAF Certified Master Elite Roofing Contractor
Want to work with the top 2% of roofing contractors? Look for this first.
GAF is one of the most trusted manufacturers of roofing materials in the United States. Only a tiny fraction of experienced roofing contractors have the opportunity to go above and beyond with the brand by training with their products, roof installation methods, and more.
This represents a grueling, long-term process that even roofing contractors with five or more years of work behind them often don’t get through successfully on the first try. Qualifying for GAF Certified Master Elite status represents the best, those with the skills to get the job right 99%+ of the time.
Not only do you get superior quality with a Master Elite Roofing Contractor, but you will also tend to pay less for a higher grade of roofing materials. That’s because only GAF Certified Master Elite enterprises get the best prices on premium roofing materials. At Sheegog Contracting, we pass that savings on to you.
Once a roofing team obtains certification, that’s not the end of the story. There’s a continuing education component to ensure they’ll stay up to date on the latest roofing trends. If you are looking for a roofing team that really knows its stuff, be sure to scan for certification from GAF.
2. 10 Years of Roofing Experience (or More)
There’s no substitute for experience when it comes to roofing. Nobody without a substantial amount of experience would be able to become a GAF Certified Master Elite Roofing Contractor, for instance. The similar credentials offered by roofing brands like CertainTeed also require plenty of proven expertise.
While anybody can learn the basics of the roofing trade in two or three years, it takes a lot longer than that to offer the excellent customer experience you deserve. Being able to plan, price, and execute the project in the stated timeframe is something that only comes from hands-on experience.
As discussed earlier, you can find out exactly how long any business in Florida has been operating via Sunbiz. Remember that individual members of a team, especially leaders, can have many more years of roofing under their belt before they decide to start their own roofing company.
Be sure you understand exactly who you’re working with. Don’t settle for subcontractors who might not have the kind of experience you expect from a true roofing master. And, of course, get everything about your project in writing!
3. Unbeatable Reviews from Real Roofing Customers
Okay, so it’s not a formal “credential,” but it can be worth more than many of them.
Even the best contractors have a few negative reviews. You really can’t avoid it – there’s nobody out there to fact-check reviews, and anybody can leave them. But the vast majority of reviews should be positive. A great place to start is with the Better Business Bureau, which collects consumer complaints.
An “A+” Better Business Bureau score is your best bet when choosing any contractor.
In addition to familiar websites like Google, be sure to check out the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Angi (formerly Angie’s List). A reputable roofing contractor should be getting consistently high marks. When there is a problem, check to see if the business responds and how they handle it.
At Sheegog Contracting, we’re proud to note that we’ve received an average score of 4.8 across 130 Google reviews. By the time you read this, there will probably be even more. Our Facebook score is a healthy 4.9 (with 30 reviews) and we have a 5 out of 5 rating on Angie’s List.
Contact us to find out more from the Florida roofing contractor you can count on.