Finding the right person to re-roof your home isn’t always easy. Since roofing can be a major expense, you want to make sure you choose the right roofing contractor to do the job, but you might not know what exactly it is that you need to look for in a good roofing contractor. If this is your first time hiring a roofer, the most important thing to pay attention to is their proposal.
Most homeowners opt to collect bids from several roofing contractors and then choose the one that makes the most sense for what they’re looking for, based on budget, materials, and timeframe. To be able to choose the option that’s best for you, though, you need to know a little bit about understanding roofing contractor proposals. That’s where this blog comes in. We’re going to break down the roofing proposal process, so you know exactly what to look at, and how to tell which roofing contractor is the best choice for your home.
First things first. Before a contractor can create a proposal, they’ll need a bit of information from you first:
Budget – You’ll need to tell potential roofers how much you’re willing to spend on your new roof. Though you might not have a specific number in your mind yet, do a little research to see what is reasonable for the material you’re looking for, and the size of your home, to give potential contractors a ballpark figure to start with.
Preferred Material – Are you looking for a metal roof? Asphalt? Something different like ceramic tile? Whatever aesthetic you’re going for, you’ll want to let your roofer in on it so they can put together a proposal that reflects the end goal. Different materials, different finishes, and different colors will have different price points, so make sure you’re clear about what color and material you plan on using.
Timeframe – Do you need your roof completed by a certain time? If you’re building a new home, the time frame will be really important, because you’ll have to have a roof installed before you can move onto interior construction. If you’re just re-roofing an existing home, the timeframe may not matter as much to you, but you’ll need to loop potential roofers in any way.
Description of any Current Problems – Of course, any quality roofer is going to inspect your roof before they give you a final estimate, but if there are any issues you know about beforehand, you’ll want to tell potential roofers. Then, they can put the price of those additional fixes into their proposal, giving you a fair look at how much you’ll be spending.
Once you’ve given roofers a basic idea of what you’re looking for in your roofing project, they’ll put together a proposal and send it to you. The proposal should serve as an outline of everything the roofer plans to do, when they plan to do it, and how much it will cost.
What to Look for in Roofing Proposals
- Materials Used – The roofer should include exactly which roofing materials they plan on using, from the name of the manufacturer to the style of the shingle to the grade of the material. This will allow you to compare multiple proposals evenly, and give you a better idea of what type of quality to expect from each roofer.
- Scheduling – A roofing proposal should also include a detailed schedule of when everything will happen. Most roofing jobs shouldn’t take that long, but they are inconvenient for those who live in the home, so it’s important to know exactly when roofers will be there, and how long it will take them to finish the job.
- Explanation of Liabilities – A quality roofing proposal should include an explanation of any potential liabilities, and how the roofer’s insurance will cover those liabilities in the event of an accident. This is an important line in the proposal to look for, because it will tell you what insurance the roofer has. If they don’t have insurance, then you’re liable for any injury that occurs on your property, and it’s possible that your roof won’t be in compliance with local building code.
- How Waste Will be Removed – Roofing is a messy job. There are nails and shingles flying everywhere; roof debris falling on your plants, landscaping, and lawn. You need to ensure that whoever you hire has a plan to clean that mess up before they leave, and the proposal should state how they plan to clean up. Many roofers have a giant magnet that they go around the home with to pick up any fallen nails, and others make sure to throw all old shingles and waste into a giant dumpster that they provide, but you need to make sure they offer clean-up, or you may end up paying a lot more.
- Explanation of Warranty – Roofs often have multiple warranties. There’s the warranty on materials, and then there’s another warranty on the work the roofer and their crew completes. The proposal should outline the specifics of each warranty, and explain what is covered under each warranty. This helps to ensure you’re protected in the event that the shingles fail, or the work was not completed to expectation.
- How the Roof Will be Paid For – A quality proposal will also outline what you need to pay, and when. Some roofers take payment in installments, while others prefer part up front, and the second part when the work is completed. The proposal will outline when you need to pay, and how much. A good proposal should also contain an itemized list of costs.
- Additional Costs – If there are any additional costs associated with your roofing job—repairing subroofing, installing flashing around the chimney, etc.—the proposal should also outline those. Most likely, any additional costs will come from existing issues in your roof that the roofer has to fix before they can comfortably put on a new roof.
Things to double check the proposal for:
While everything on a roofing proposal is important, there are a few things you’ll want to double check for, as a quality roofer will include them, while a shadier roofing contractor might leave them out to get your business, and then charge you more money than you expected later.
Itemized List of Costs
Not every roofer offers an itemized list of costs automatically, but if you’re comparing bids, it’s a good thing to ask for. An itemized list will let you know exactly what you’re paying for each aspect of your roof, from labor to material costs. When you ask for an itemized list, it’s clear exactly what you’re paying for, and you’ll be able to assess if there are any hidden costs you may not have known about without the breakdown. This also lets you compare each bid fairly against others. You’ll be able to see who charges more for labor, and who charges more for materials, giving you a better sense of which roofer is the best for your project.
Licensure and Workers Comp
Another key line item you’ll want to watch out for in your roofing contractor proposal is the one about licensure and workers comp. You need to make sure that any roofer you hire is licensed and provides workers compensation to their crew members. This protects you from any liabilities that occur on your property, and ensures you get a quality roof that will be cleared by your city or township code requirements.
In the end, when you’re choosing between roofing contractors, it’s important to make sure you read through each proposal thoroughly. Quality roofing contractors will be as upfront as possible with cost estimates, and will have the permits, licensing, and insurance necessary to make sure their crew, and your home are protected.
If the roofing proposals you’ve been looking at still don’t seem to make sense, feel free to give Werner Roofing a call. We’ve been working in the area for decades, and provide roofing services you can trust. For a free estimate, give our office a call at 616-844-5382, or submit a request for a free roofing estimate online today!