We recently came across an ad in a community mailer for a roofing company offering “10% off any other company’s written estimate”. It certainly got our attention, which means it is time to share some insider knowledge about how to choose a contractor. That huge discount sure sounds great at the surface level, but that should be warning sign number one as a company you might want to examine carefully before hiring. In this industry, We see a LOT of shenanigans. Hopefully this post will help educate you before hiring someone to perform work on your home, and some of the things you need to look for up front.
Let’s go through common advertising claims:
“Licensed and Insured”
As a homeowner, you should always ask to see these items.
Licensed: There is NO state license for roofing in Georgia. (Scary isn’t it? Your roof protects your entire home!) More than likely, the roofing contractor is referring to their business license anyone can purchase at their local city hall for around $100. Don’t believe us? Find a friend and place your bets before asking the company to produce their license. Only a small percentage of companies are participating in a voluntary program that you can learn more about here: Georgia Roofing License Info
Insured: A Certificate of Insurance is a one page sheet that proves insurance for a business. Beware of companies that attempt to pass off other company’s policies as their own. The business name you are hiring should be in the box for “Name of Insured”, not down at the bottom as a certificate holder. This link will help you understand more of what you are seeing on the certificate, including where to look for dates that show the policy is active: How to read an insurance certificate. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the producer to confirm the policies are still active and not cancelled due to non-payment of the company’s insurance premiums. You really want to make sure they have General Liability and Workers Compensation. Other policies such as Commercial Auto and Umbrella show a further commitment to responsibility.
Years of Experience
Claims like “25 years of experience” are often indicators of a new business, not a claim of how long they have actually been in business. Otherwise, they would say something like “serving your area since 1992”. We did a quick Georgia Secretary of State Corporations search on the company with that ad we mentioned earlier, and sure enough, they started their business 6 short months ago. You can quickly search and be an educated consumer at this link: https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/BusinessSearch
Time in business really does matter! Many roofing companies advertise labor warranties that are in excess of the time they’ve even been in business. Any successful company will have had their share of warranty calls, that just the nature of any business, but time is the true testament to a thriving company and their understanding of the true claims to their warranty.
Googling a company’s name online and searching for reviews are very important. You’ll want to look at sites like: Facebook and Google as these will more than likely have a larger review pool and better snapshot of a company. Yelp is another good resource, but they tend to hide reviews from users who are new or have only reviewed a few companies. That can skew the ratings a bit. The BBB is a great resource too for checking complaint history.
This is the fun one. When a company advertises massive discounts or “We will beat any competitor by X dollars”, it is another red flag. When a home improvement / construction / roofing company advertises something like that, they knowingly are misleading their customer. There is always the chance they will come into many cases where they will have to turn business away. (In other words, dishonesty to get a customer in the door.) This is a big indicator of everything this article is trying to shed light on.
Putting it bluntly about some of the quotes on the market: There are a lot of startup companies out there. Many operate out of their home, aren’t properly insured, don’t do proper work to code, and don’t have an established record of business. Unfortunately, these type of companies pop up over night and quickly disappear because they attempt to do and price work that they are not properly prepared for. We know this because we are often called to correct their work.
Be an Educated Homeowner When you Choose a Contractor!
Here at Total Pro Roofing, we love an educated homeowner! A solid and well-built roof is something you deserve to sleep soundly under. We are happy to answer your questions and are proud of our reputation, history, and continued growth. Give us a call and let us surpass your expectations: 770-624-1009