I’ve talked a little in the past about how to choose a roofer – a good roofer and here it is again in a nutshell because let’s face it, this is the most important decision in getting a new roof.
If he is among the top rated roofers (at least 4 stars) on Yelp and Google, this is a good start though you should really choose someone who has at least 20 reviews, many of which are older. Of course Angie’s List is also an excellent source but not everyone is a member.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to 3 or 4 choices, you can call a local roofing supplier and see what they think of your choices. You may not get a lot of info, but you usually get some feedback that is at least interesting and sometimes very helpful. You may be surprised how candid they will be, after all, they service the roofers and if you are feeding them the names already, you can at least be assured you’ve not been fed a bad roofer from them since you already checked them out. Do not hire “X” roofer just because your neighbor did and had a good job. How does he know? Your neighbor isn’t a roofer and maybe the roofer he hired is horrible but just happened to do a good job for once. But if the roofer your neighbor recommends is also one of the top rated, then that is a good sign, but only that and should not be a decision point.
Then of course check license numbers at the CSLB for complaints. NOTE: The BBB is not, in my experience, any kind of reliable indicator of a good business any longer and should be ignored. Surprisingly, local community boards and even hardware stores are often good sources to check. If one roofer keeps popping up, then this is a good sign.
Taking a look at the bids is also important. A roofing bid scratched out, with minimal details on a single sheet of paper is not a good sign. You want detail, with strong, definite and legally binding language that will protect you as a consumer. Some people are turned off by long contracts with lots of language but this language spells out in detail your rights and unless you take the contractor to court, which you may not win, he’s not obliged to do anything he didn’t say he was going to do. Don’t skimp on this. It’s not fun, but it’s important.
Since you probably know little to nothing about roofing, you have almost no chance of ensuring that even a good roofer will in fact do a good job. But – you can ensure that he has a good rep and a good rep in this industry is critical so he will likely do anything to keep it. He’s going to do what he’s got to do in order to make sure you’re happy (before, during or after the job) and write great reviews about him. The goal of any good company is not a cliché, it is a “happy customer.”