things to consider
Keith Stern Roofing is Clay County's go-to specialist for all your roofing needs. We're here to not only provide efficient roofing services, but also to help educate you the consumer about best roofing practices in general.
Does the contractor have a permanent place of business?
All Contractor Selection Guidelines start with this question because most dissatisfaction involves low-bid under-capitalized contractors. If the contractor is not permanently established, how can you be confident he will complete the work or will still be in business tomorrow to handle any problems? Automatically reject any contractor without a permanent place of business. The courts are full of dissatisfied owners with worthless judgments against insolvent contractors. While there is no way to guarantee any business is financially stable, there are some telltale signs to look for.
Visit the contractor's place of business. Does it look like it has been established there for a long time? Does it appear that the equipment, manpower, and wherewithal are available to complete your project in a professional and timely manner?
Automatically reject any bid from a contractor without substance. Do not be swayed by a personable contractor or his attractive low price. It is not worth the risk. Select only a contractor that is financially committed to the business. Select someone you can call if a problem arises in the future. A professional contractor will have no problem giving you a tour of the facilities and provide whatever financial proof is required for your peace of mind. Don't be timid about asking. The professional respects these questions and knows that time is being well spent with an intelligent buyer.
Is the company a licensed, registered contractor?
Automatically reject any contractor who is not licensed. However, do not be fooled by a contractor with a license. Ask if the contractor is taking Continuing Education Training, similar to other up-to-date professionals. Ask to see certificates. A professional contractor will be only too happy to respond to these questions. Reject the Contractor who blows off your questions as not being important. There are probably a lot of other issues he deems unimportant and will blow off, maybe one being your satisfaction. NOTE: Keith Stern Roofing is a member of the FRSA (Florida Association of Roofing Professionals), and a preferred contractor with Owens Corning.
How long has the company been in business?
Needless to say, the more experienced the better. Under five years is often a telltale sign of a potentially unstable business. Most contracting businesses (90%) fail within the first five years. Examine new business with extra care before awarding the project. Check references carefully. Current references are only valuable to see if the Owner is happy with the contractor's work, but only long-term references are the proof of actual performance of the contractor's work. Most failed construction projects do not happen quickly, but deteriorate over a period of years. New project references should carry minimal weight in the decision-making process vs. long-term projects. A professional contractor will gladly provide references and want you to speak with his past customers. Automatically reject any Contractors who cannot provide a reference list of customers.
What is the contractor's record for complaint resolution?
Automatically reject any contractor who says they never had a complaint. The best of contractors find themselves in disputes for one reason or another. Ask the contractor for the name of a problem account and explanation as to how they rectified the complaint. Be forewarned that many quality contractors, in business for a long period of time, and with thousands of completed projects, are exposed to disputes. The question is not if they have had disputes, but what was done about the dispute after it occurred.
TIP: One easy way to find out how a contractor handles customer complaints is by checking with the Better Business Bureau or Angie's list.
What is the company's workmanship warranty?
Typically, contractor workmanship warranties are for one year or more. Longer warranties are not more valuable than shorter warranties. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the contractor to stand behind his warranty. The professional contractor often performs well beyond the written warranty period because he knows that this is what builds customer loyalty and referrals. Automatically reject any contractor with an unbelievable warranty. The warranty is just a sales tool to that contractor and you don't know what other "bill of goods" you have been sold.
Does the company provide sufficient details for the project being performed?
The contractor should be able to clearly explain how they plan to perform the work and what materials will be used. Compliance with local ordinances- Question the contractor about what is required. Contact the local building department for verification. Question if the permit is included in the cost and who is responsible for obtaining the permit. Product Selection-Make sure the proposal includes a specific reference to the product and color you have chosen. Your proposal will be your proof of purchase in later years. Clean-up- Call for daily clean-up to help minimize safety issues or exposure. Payment Terms- Schedule, terms and method of payment should be clearly detailed in the agreement. Establish an agreement regarding retainage if a certain portion of work is left incomplete or there is a "punch list.