Originally Published in the Florida Community Association Journal
By Stella Amador
Every year, around this time, you’re probably inundated with hurricane season guides, TV specials about storm preparation, and expert analysis like this one. What makes this different? Unlike most guides, I want to focus on what happens after a storm and the crucial steps to hiring a roofing company that can save you money now and for years to come. After all, we are talking about your roof, one of the most important components of your property.
After the Storm
The roof is exposed to the elements, and it is the primary defense against hurricanes and storms. At the same time, it is also the most vulnerable part of a property. When a storm or hurricane causes damages, dealing with the aftermath can be overwhelming. The following information will help you through the process of restoring your roof and your peace of mind.
Hiring a Roofing Company
Usually, soon after a storm, unscrupulous contractors and storm chasers try to take advantage of unsuspecting property owners. It is very important to stay calm and do as much research before committing to hiring a roofing company. This may seem difficult, especially if you need emergency repairs. Yet taking your time can mean the difference in the quality of work and the money you spend. You should especially be wary of any promise that sounds too good to be true because it’s usually an indication of deceptive techniques.
For a good list of roofing companies, contact a trade association such as the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association (FRSA) and the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). They usually have lists of contractors that are members in good standing. The information is also listed on their websites at www.floridaroof.com or www.nrca.net.
Now that you have a list of companies, you will need to meet with each one. According to the FRSA and NRCA, a professional roofing contractor should have the following:
• A permanent, local place of business. You can easily verify this by asking for their occupational license. You are encouraged to visit their offices to see their operation and learn more about them.
• Knowledge of various roof systems; they don’t only offer one solution.
• Be self-performing by hiring and training their employees, or by providing a list of subcontractors along with their insurance information.
• Proof of workers compensation and liability insurance. Preferably you want completed operations insurance.
• An effective and documented safety program.
• Evidence of industry professionalism through association memberships.
• Proof of training and manufacturer certifications. This is especially important when it comes to warranties.
• A written proposal, including a scope of work and manufacturers to be used.
• A license, either state or local.
• Warranties are important. Be wary of companies that offer warranties longer than they have been in business.
• References in your state (Proceed with caution if the contractor only provides out-of-state references).
• A maintenance program.
• Examples of their work.
Contractors: What to avoid
• Contractors that only want cash
• Companies that want more than 50 percent before materials are delivered
• Companies offering “specials” or “extra-cheap” work