For most homeowners, the most stressful part of a home remodeling venture is not the work itself, but rather hiring a contractor to take on the project. So where is a homeowner to start in locating someone reputable, competent, and experienced? Here, we offer some helpful insights on where to get started, things to consider, and how to identify trustworthy review sites versus confusing complaint boards.
Understanding that even with an experienced contractor, remodeling projects can be stressful, expensive, and possibly locate unexpected surprises, such as wood rot under previous roofing components, water damage around windows, or possibly electrical wiring issues in a kitchen remodel. Despite these potential issues, choosing a reputable and experienced contractor can mean the difference between success or disaster for your new roof.
Where to Begin with Choosing a Roofing Contractor
Once you’ve decided that you need a roofing company to handle a project on your home, you’ll need to find a company you trust to perform the work. Knowing what you want can help you determine which roofing contractor is right for you and help keep your roofing project on track. After identifying the issue you are looking to resolve or update, take some time to research what you envision the end result to be before getting estimates. This will help give your contractor a better idea of your expectations and will avoid last minute updates that may take you over budget.
Here are some tips and considerations as you get started on the process of vetting and choosing the right roofing company for your needs.
- Ask around – Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Most consumers are more apt to hire someone that a friend or relative has used and found success with versus taking a chance on the unknown. Take a look around your neighborhood. If any of your neighbors have recently had roofing work done, they’re a great resource for getting a referral and seeing exactly what type of work will be done. After all, your roof and home are likely very similar, providing you with a great way to assess that roofing company’s service and workmanship.
- Considering your project timeline – Know when you want to have your project completed and understand that a quality contractor may not be able to start immediately. When talking to different roofing companies, ask about their typical turnaround time so that you know exactly when you can expect your roofing project to be complete.
- Find the right company for the job – While general contractors are great for small to mid-size projects, a larger project (such as building an addition or replacing a roof) requires the right contractor for the right job. By hiring a specialist for your desired project, you ensure that they not only have the expertise, but also the tools to do things right the first time. When it comes to your roof, finding a company with extensive experience performing roof inspections, repairs, and replacement projects is essential.
- Check for licensing and insurance: A reputable roofing contractor will be fully licensed and bonded. You can learn about their licensing by requesting they provide you with a copy, or via the Better Business Bureau. Any roofing company that lacks these credentials cannot be trusted and should be avoided at all costs. Should any issues occur with these types of companies, you may be on the hook for resolving the issues yourself or starting over on your roofing project.
- Read reviews and check references: It is common practice to request several references in addition to doing research on the company via online reviews. A reference is a great way to find out what to expect throughout the project. When it comes to reading reviews, however, it’s important to understand that not all online review sites are created equally for reliability and credibility.
Identifying Trustworthy Reviews
A quality roofing company should follow the belief that an unhappy customer is their greatest source of learning. As we mentioned previously, even the best contractors can run into unforeseen complications that can cause stress mid-project. It is how those companies roll with those punches that makes or breaks their reputation.
Review Sites Versus Complaint Boards
The common phrase “you cannot believe everything you read on the internet” is especially true when looking at online review sites. Here are some things to consider when conducting online research:
- The “perfect” record – This should be a red-flag telling a consumer that the company they are looking at has paid to remove their “dirty laundry”, and more importantly, how they resolved (or failed to resolve) their issue.
- Complaints abound – On the flip side of the perfect record, there are sites like Yelp, Ripoff Report, Consumer Affairs and Pissed Consumer that can attack reputable companies without proper recourse. There is nothing stopping a competitor from creating a fraudulent account as a means of causing damage and creating misleading reviews.
*Note: none of these predatory “review” sites are accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and most scored an “F” rating on the BBB scale.
So, Which Review Sites Can You Trust?
While there are many sites online that lack credibility, there are still places you can turn to that are more reputable and reliable. Here are some of the top review sites for assessing different roofing contractors in your area:
- Angi – Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor are two reliable sites that provide insights into roofing companies and many other home improvement services. They merged in 2017 to become Angi, a trusted source for reviews and information about project timeframes and other useful information. This allows you to get a clear picture of the customer impression of the company, work completed, and approximate costs for their project.
- Better Business Bureau – With the BBB, consumers can view the history of the company with the BBB in addition to the lifecycle snapshot of a complaint resolution.
- Houzz – Offers design ideas to help homeowners get started in understanding what they want, as well as the ability to search for pro contractors in their area. The Houzz review function is verified for customer authenticity prior to going live on their site as a means of ensuring quality reviews for consumers.
At Erie Metal Roofs, we pride ourselves on helping homeowners through every aspect of their roofing needs. We strive to give consumers the tools they need to make informed decisions, even if that means they do not end up hiring us. Your investment is our priority, and we embrace the opportunity to work with our customers by helping them discover the look they love. Find out how our roofing contractors are different by calling us for your free estimate today!