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How to Choose the Right Roofing Contractor

By Satta Sarmah Hightower

September 11, 2020

Male contractor getting out of white truck

Whether you're purchasing or repairing your roof, you'll need a trusted professional to help you make the best choices for your home.

But if you've never been through the process of hiring a roofing contractor before, it can be difficult to know what to look for. From referrals and licenses to manufacturer designations, here's how to decide which roofing professional to trust with your home.

Ask for Recommendations or Referrals

One of the best ways to find a roofing contractor is to ask people you trust for recommendations. If you have a friend, relative, or neighbor who has had their roof repaired or replaced in the last few years, ask them who they used. Many communities and neighborhoods also have local Facebook groups or message boards. You can use these resources to get recommendations for experienced local contractors—and find out what roofing companies you should avoid.

Do Your (Online) Research

Whether you first connect with a contractor though a recommendation, a quick Google search, or the contractor knocking on your door while canvassing, it's important to do your research before hiring someone.

Check different sources for online company reviews, go to the contractor's social media pages to see what customers say, and see if they have a website that offers details on their products, services, and the number of years they've been in business. You're looking for a company with a good track record and reputation. Once you've gathered all this information, you'll be able to make a more educated decision.

Check the Contractor's License and Insurance

You want to work with a contractor who is licensed (in areas where licensing is required) because knowledge of local codes and regulations is extremely important.

If your state does require roofers to be licensed, you should be able to do a license check on your state's Department of Consumer Affairs website or on the site of its business licensing office. If your state does not require licensing, check with your municipality. You can also ask your contractor for a copy of their business license.

It's also important to make sure your contractor is insured with coverage for all their employees and subcontractors. This will protect you if a worker gets injured on your property. Working with a roofing contractor who is properly licensed and insured can help reduce your financial risk and increase the chances that you will get a professional installation.

Check the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau has a database of information about businesses in different industries all across the country. You can search by business name or business category (i.e., roofing), and then enter the name of your town or zip code to find companies that have accreditation from the Better Business Bureau or that have been given a high BBB rating. Some listings also feature customer reviews, which is another way to figure out if you want to work with a company you've come across in your research.

Look for Manufacturer Designations

Manufacturer designations can be helpful because they mean the contractor is likely familiar with the products you are looking to install. Additionally, you can check the manufacturer's website to understand the criteria for meeting a specific designation, which might tell you more about the contractor's business.

For example, only 2% of roofing contractors are certified as GAF Master Elite® Contractors, which involves ongoing training and requires contractors to be properly licensed and insured. Master Elite® Contractors must have at least $1 million of general liability coverage and are required to have a satisfactory Better Business Bureau rating to maintain this designation.

Working with a GAF factory-certifed contractor* can instill confidence that you're getting a professional installation with quality materials that offer the best protection. You can also get an enhanced warranty, which may reduce your out-of-pocket expenses in the future if the problem arises out of a manufacturing defect in the products or in some cases, their misapplication. Carefully review the manufacturer's warranties before making a final selection.

Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Home

When you choose someone to work on your home, price shouldn't be the only consideration. Experience, quality of service, and reputation also matter.

If you need work done on your roof, take the time to do your research. Ask for recommendations, check the Better Business Bureau's website, and look for manufacturer designations that indicate a potential contractor is licensed and insured. Following all these steps can help you enjoy peace of mind about picking the right professional for the job.

When you're ready to begin your search, consider the questions you'll want to ask on the phone and in the home, and then find a GAF factory-certified contractor* in your area.


*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products.

About the Author

Satta Sarmah Hightower is a freelance writer who covers business, healthcare and technology topics for a wide range of brands and publications. A former journalist, Satta holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School.

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