Everybody likes quizzes, so here are three simple questions: How do you find a good roofing company? What insurance should a roofer have? What should you look for in a good roofing contractor?

Stumped? At the end of this, see if you could score 100 percent. 

How do you find a good roofing company?

Local roofers, those with local physical addresses and a presence in their community, usually help local charities. This is an excellent way to find a good roofing company. Roofers can help with groups like Habitat for Humanity, and if you get a chance to see their work, you know you have a reputable roofer. 

Another great way to find a reliable residential roofer is to ask your neighbors, find online reviews and customer testimonials, and ask other contracting trades (plumbers, carpenters, electricians). If people you trust recommend a roofer, that roofer should be in your list of prospective roofers.  

Reputation distinguishes good roofers. Unfortunately, the building trades sometimes attract some unskilled, boastful types who try to outrun their shoddy work. They do not last long, so ask a prospective roofer some basic questions:

  1. How long have you been in the roofing business? A contractor with only a year or two of roofing work will not be very experienced.
  2. How long has your crew worked together as a team? Some ruthless roofers may hire day laborers without the needed experience.
  3. Does your business provide a written estimate? An itemized estimate is a sign of a trustworthy contractor; it shows exactly what you will be paying for.
  4. What is the cleanup and debris removal process? Knowing how the job site will be cleaned up helps you know you are working with a reputable contractor.

What insurance should a roofer have?

Quality local roofers will have at least workers compensation insurance and liability insurance. This helps protect you, the customer, from worker liens and individual lawsuits. 

In addition to insurance, ask any prospective roofers about their licensing. Some general contractors claim to be licensed but have no expertise in roofing. In California, a roofer should have a C-39 Roofing classification, which Straight Line Roofing & Construction has, on license #763434.

Another kind of “insurance” is a roofer’s longevity and history in your geographic area. Storm chasers and fly-by-night roofers seldom have physical addresses, return customers, or good reputations. Ask any prospective roofer how long the company has been around, and how long the company has been at its current physical address. 

What should you look for in a good roofing contractor?

Roofing is a marvelous balance of working with and against Mother Nature. Roofs by definition defy everything nature throws at them: heavy rain, blazing sun (and snow and ice in some parts of the state). Repairing an existing roof, or installing a complete new residential roof, requires good weather.

Expect your roofer to communicate about scheduling, changes to delivery times, or even postponement of work depending on weather. Clear communication should be part of every aspect of the work:

  • Sales representative’s initial, thorough inspection (including going onto the roof and into the attic)
  • Project manager’s on-site supervision
  • Roofer’s business office returns calls promptly, prepares an accurate invoice, and explains payment terms clearly

An easy up-front test: cold-call the roofer before you sign any contract. Expect a courteous, professional call, with your questions answered knowledgeably and politely. 

Look also at the roofer’s estimate, which should include a scope of work, providing line-item detailing specifics of the work to be done, the extent of the work (roof surface, underlayment, sheathing, flashing, attic ventilation, and so on), and the cost per item. 

The cost should be fair. This doesn’t mean a local, reliable roofer will have the lowest cost — you may scrape up some other “handyman” roofer who offers lesser quality at a lower price. The fair, accurate cost reflects service, expertise, equipment, and the crew’s high levels of training. 

Highly professional roofing contractors do not ask for full payment before the job. They may ask for one-third at signing of a contract, one-third at the start of work, and one-third after final inspection. 

You find a good roofer using every channel at your disposal. You check the roofer’s documents (license and insurance), and you screen good roofers by their professionalism and communication. 

And now, about that quiz …

  1. How do you find a good roofing company?
  2. What insurance should a roofer have?
  3. What should you look for in a good roofing contractor?

Did you get every answer right? When you contact us at Straight Line Construction, you can be certain your roof will be right, right from the start. We have all the correct licensing, insurance, and protections for our highly skilled workers. We provide realistic, accurate estimates, enjoy good customer reviews, and make customer service a priority.