Parts One and Two of this series covered the paperwork and numbers involved in your roofing project. To wrap up our discussion on Ensuring the Success of Your Roofing Project before It Begins, we’ll talk about “The Talk”, that crucial first interview and consultation with your contractor.
The first meeting between you and your contractor should come with no strings attached—that is, no paperwork should be signed or money exchanged. This meeting is meant to help you gauge your candidate roofer’s competence and—more importantly—set your mind at ease about the project.
In Person vs. Over the Phone
If you’re facing major roofing work, do everything you can to schedule an on-site meeting. Some roofers only do initial consultations over the phone, which can make it hard for you to discuss your roofing problems in detail.
Patient questioning by the roofer coupled with your willingness to provide accurate answers can paint a clear enough picture of the problem and help the roofer map out a course of action. But in the real world, this kind of interview is grossly insufficient. Remember that contractors aren’t just there to offer a fix; they should also help you develop an actionable and long-term preventive maintenance scheme.
What to Look for in a Contractor
Besides the details we already covered in Parts One and Two, there are a few other things you’ll want to consider before making a hiring decision, such as:
- Company history and reputation. Do they have a lot of customer complaints? How do they resolve these complaints? Has the contractor been involved in litigation of any kind? Have they declared bankruptcy within the last five years? How your candidate roofer answers these questions is a pretty significant tell.
- Project proposal. A comprehensive, clearly written proposal is a good indicator that your candidate roofer is thorough and transparent in their dealings with clients. In an industry that involves so many technicalities and potential pitfalls, thorough-and-transparent is good.
- Current workload. You do not want to work with a contractor that bites off more than they can chew. Any roofer making a bid should be able to guarantee that their schedule and available staff can make the project possible.
- Technical and “soft” skills. Technical skills are a given, but soft skills like communication also matter in a roofing project. While your contractor’s goal isn’t to make sure you’re a roofing expert by the time your project is done, they must be able to walk you through the project and help you make educated decisions.