Choosing the Right Contractor

There are many ways to search for and choose a roofing contractor. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of roofing contractors throughout the state of New York, many that have been in business for several years. To locate a good roofing contractor one might consider any of the following:

Ask friends and family for referrals
Do a Google search, as there are many great roofing directory sites that will provide a short list of roofers in the area
Check out the contractor’s own website
Speak with them over the phone, or
Meet with them and ask them some questions

Doing a little digging might seem time consuming but what is even more time consuming, not to mention costly is to fix a botched roof job. So how does one select a roofing contractor? Look at his qualifications, work, and past.


Do not hire a roofing contractor who is not licensed. However, just because a contractor is licensed doesn’t necessarily mean the contractor is a committed professional who will do excellent work. A lot can be said about a contractor’s commitment by seeing if the contractor is a member of a trade association, or has taken any continuing education training. If the contractor says yes, call the trade association and ask to see certificates of the continuing education.

Make sure they have a permanent business. Selecting a contractor requires some confidence that he o she will be able to complete the work they promised to do. One of the best ways to have this confidence is to select a contractor who can financially commit to finishing the project. The contractor should have a permanent phone number and address. Visit their business to see if they have the equipment and employees to complete the project successfully.

Ask for proof of insurance and just how much coverage they have. Just because they have insurance, it might not be very much coverage. Have the contractor provide a certificate of insurance. Contractors can get a certificate of their insurance that shows coverage dates and policy limits from their insurance carrier. Also ask if they have workers’ compensation coverage.

Property owners can be held liable if a contractor doesn’t provide coverage

Because property owners can be sued for accidents that occur on their property, it is very important that all contractors have workers’ compensation insurance. All contractors also need to have a safety plan so ask a potential contractor to provide one. Safety plans are important for making sure projects get completed and are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Find out how long the contractor’s warranty on work performed is. A typical time period is one year or longer. The length of the warranty doesn’t matter so much as whether the contractor plans to stand behind the warranty. Good contractors often will work beyond a written contract. Keep in mind that the manufacturer provides product warranties and often warranties are only valid if a contractor is “certified” to install the product.

Check out their track record

Though a contractor in business for a year or two might do excellent work, it would be better to select a contractor who has been in business for at least five years. Often the longer a contractor has been in business, the more experience they have, which often means more choices and better workmanship.

Ask to see pictures of the contractor’s work and for references from past customers. Get this information on the contractor’s website or by calling previous customers and asking what they thought of the work performed.

All contractors, even the best, have had to handle complaints. Complaints are not necessarily bad, but the way they are handled can be. Find out how they have dealt with complaints in the past or call the Better Business Bureau to find out. Another worthwhile tip for selecting a roofing contractor is to consider two or three contractors for the job and have them submit bids in writing.

Having two or three bids in writing is useful to compare prices and products the contractors will use to complete the project. If one bid is significantly higher or lower than the others, this could be a red flag.

Even if the contractor manages to meet the above requirements but something doesn’t seem quite right, reconsider before hiring that contractor. With a home improvement job as important as repairing or replacing a roof is, a person needs to hire a roofing contractor whom they feel very good about in terms of getting the work done right.