Beyond the Quote – How To Properly Vet A Professional Roofer

John Maxwell | March 7, 2017

flat roof

Unless you’ve spent significant time in the roofing business, it’s hard to tell if you’re talking to an honest, professional roofer that knows their stuff and is giving you objective recommendations. If you want to choose a roofer you’ll be satisfied with, you should know the signs that you’re working with a true pro.

Communication Breeds Trust

Trusting a roofer is difficult. Roof work can be costly, and most building management teams don’t call a roofer until they’ve got a significant problem on their hands. It’s easy to see how someone could take advantage of the situation, so it’s important to feel you’re spending your money wisely.

Trust begins with communication. Roofers that don’t have a professional website with contact information that’s easy to spot, that are slow to respond to calls and questions, or who do not provide detailed assessments of their findings both verbally and in writing should not make the final cut when choosing a partner. Prompt responses, detailed written assessments and proposals, and honest discussion are usually a good sign that you’ll feel confident working with that roofing team.

Professional Quote, Professional Roofer

Contractors that pop up on the roof then give you a verbal estimate and move on, or worse, demand instant payment up front are red flags. Any roofing company worth its salt will spend a lot of time on the roof to get a full picture of what’s going on with the system. They will likely meet with you right afterward to explain what they found, but they should always follow up with a written assessment and proposal.

That proposal should be professionally prepared and should be extremely detailed, including pictures of the damage and deterioration they found. The project manager or point person should then walk through the proposal line by line with building management so everyone understands the problems and the suggested remedies.

Repairs Deserve Detailed Reporting

Total roof replacements require detailed proposals, but so do many repairs. Anyone can tell you a section of a roof needs to be repaired, but when you’re spending money to fix a critical portion of a building’s structure, you deserve to know what the damage is, why the repair is in order, and how the fix will be made.

Expert roofers believe wholeheartedly in detail and are committed to helping building managers make informed choices. When called to inspect a roof, they will provide a leak investigation report that provides important details including the location of the damage/deterioration, the size, the proper way to fix it, and the price. Furthermore, expert roofers will also document the finished work with photographs for record keeping purposes.

No Service Standards? No Thanks

Great roofers care about customer service. They know that roof repairs and replacement are a hassle for building owners, and they take steps to make the process as smooth and as pleasant as possible. Their proposals should include service standards that ensure the project moves quickly and efficiently.

Roofers should be upfront about noise, construction vehicles, the need for and timing of HVAC system shut downs, and any potential fume issues that will arise during repairs or installation. They should also work closely with building managers to minimize these potential intrusions.

Unfortunately, the industry has some participants who are “here today and gone tomorrow”. In contrast, professional roofers who are committed to service and who have dedicated, knowledgeable staff rarely disappoint. They will be willing to share manufacturer authorizations, history of performance, and references from satisfied customers.

In Roofing, There Should Be Some Guarantees

You can never predict how foot traffic, construction or Mother Nature will impact a commercial roof, but great roofers will guarantee their permanent repair work for one year. Any roofer that does not provide a guarantee or warranty on their work should be avoided.

No business wants to have to fix something for free – especially something they already did – so companies that stand by their work put several levels of quality controls in place to ensure the job gets done right, the first time.

Choosing a commercial roofer can be overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with major leaks or damage that require immediate attention. Take the time to vet potential roofers, and pay close attention to the way they communicate with you and your team before you ever sign on the dotted line. When you know how to choose a roofer, you’ll be much happier with the end result.


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