Selecting a roofing, window, siding or skylight contractor can be stressful! Below are six suggestions that will help minimize your stress and make this process… a little more enjoyable. Remember, you’re not only selecting a contractor, your deciding exactly what work you need that contractor to do…Keep this in mind as you go forward.
1. Select Potential Roofing Contractors From Your Best Available Resources
The first step is to decide which companies you will request proposals from. Referrals are a great place to start. Ask friends and coworkers if they’ve had any work, similar to what you are looking for, done in the past. Referrals are great because you start out with a positive reference from someone you know and/or trust.
After compiling a list of referrals, search for them and other contractors on consumer publications websites like The Washington Consumer’s Checkbook. These publications rate contractors based on performance as reported by actual consumers in your area. Many of these sites not only rate the quality of the work but also the price. You can also check with the State Board of Contractors and the Better Business Bureau to see if they have had complaints filed against them and how those complaints, if any, where resolved.
Helpful Hint – Even within a good company, some of the salesmen or workmen are better than others. When contacting a company that was referred to you by a friend or coworker, request the people that they where most impressed with work on your home.
2. Take Your Time
Most people make better decisions when they “sleep on it”. It takes time to digest all of the information contained in a contractor’s proposal. Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics. You should never have to “sign on the spot” to get a great deal. Any valid estimate should be honored for 30 days. This will give you time to evaluate the company’s proposal, compare it to other proposals, and contact references.
Helpful Hint – If you are being pressured to sign a contract and are looking for an easy way to say no, simply tell the pushy salesman that you are expecting another estimate tomorrow and you will let him know.
3. Compare Roofing Apples To Apples
One proposal may explain their work process in great detail, while another proposal will be less specific. When asking questions of the perspective contractors write down their responses. Question the differences between each of the answers. If you like the way one contractor has proposed to do something ask to have that language added to another proposal. Understand that a proposal is a work in progress; the details will become more defined as the process continues. Work proposed by each company will vary slightly and you will need to hone in on the best course of action for you.
Helpful Hint – Focus on the differences. If all the proposals suggest you remove the old roof, then more than likely this should be done and its an easy decision. However, if opinions differ, you will need to pay close attention and ask for detailed explanations for one way, or the other.
4. Contact Roofing References
Do not be afraid of contacting someone on a reference list. Satisfied customers generally will have no problem taking a few minutes to tell you how they feel about their contractor. Try to be concise with your questions and do not take up too much of their time. In fact, much can be learned from simply allowing a previous customer to just tell you about their experience. They have been through this already and may have great insight. And who knows, you may even make a new friend.
Helpful Hint – The length of a warranty is not as important as the intent and ability of a company to honor that warranty. A good company will give you plenty of references and among them you should find evidence of this.
5. Talk With A Friend
It may be your spouse, a sibling or a good friend, but you may need to have someone help you think this through. Have a sit down and show them the proposals. Explain things as they have been explained to you and see if they have the same questions you have. Answer their questions as prospective companies have answered yours. Again, take lots of notes and reference these as you make your final choices.
Helpful Hint – Friends are more likely to help when you give them the option. Ask them if they would rather help you move furniture or discuss contractor proposals. J
6. Go With Your Gut
Now that you have done all the work and are simply left with the final decision, relax, you more than likely already know which company to choose. As you give a last look through all the proposals, follow your gut. This will help “the one” company emerge as your favorite.