Finding a reliable roofer is a critical decision because a new roof is one of the biggest repair jobs you can have in your home. On top of that, the roof is excluded from most home warranty policies, so it’s something you’re probably going to be paying for. The complication with roofers is that there are many available – some who work for big companies and others who do the work themselves and claim to be able to save you lots of money. The key is to interview anyone you’re considering for the job and look carefully into the roofer’s background.

Select a Roofer – Get Names of Potential Roofers

Talk to friends and family members to get recommendations for roofers they have used. It’s a good idea to get the names of at least 3 to 5 roofers. You may also consider finding names of roofers from ads in your local newspaper or the phone book.

Select a Roofer – Talk to Each Roofer in Person

There are a number of questions you should ask any roof you are considering. Make sure you determine the roofer’s experience and qualifications before moving on to the next step in the process. Here are some potential questions to ask a roofer:

License, insurance. The rules for roofers vary dramatically from state to state. For example, there is no license required for a roofer in Georgia. However, many states – like Illinois – require roofers to be certified. The roofer should be able to show any certification that you can verify, as well as general liability insurance.

References. Be wary of any roofer who balks at offering proof of insurance or references. That’s a major red flag. And be sure you follow up with the reference list and call customers. Particularly with a service like roofing, a shoddy job could become obvious weeks or months after the work is finished.

Number of jobs. Even more than the total number of jobs completed, you are more interested in the number of cedar shake or asphalt shingle or whatever type of roof you need. If the number is just a handful, find another roofer. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a roofer who has handled dozens – and more likely up to hundreds – of other roofs with the same material you intend to use. A roofer with that type of experience has run into every type of complication or difficult that roofing material can offer.
Contract in writing. Make sure you get the roofer to include details on the length of the job, as well as the cost and other issues such as cleanup.

Select a Roofer – Check Credentials

Depending on the state you live in, you can check with the licensing authority for contractors that includes roofers. Check also with the Better Business Bureau. What you want to know is not only the number of consumer complaints, but an idea of how the roofer handled those complaints.