Roofing Contractor Checklist:
A new roof is an investment, do your homework!
Is the contractor licensed? A licensed contractor is required by law to display their license number on all vehicles, business cards, advertising and proposals. Simply look in the Yellow Pages or online, if contractor is not listed or the phone number given is different than the one provided, be very careful. Many so-called "contractors" will borrow someone else’s license and claim they are partners and in reality are just illegal contractors. Or maybe it’s a new company; do you really want to take a chance with a company not yet established? Will the qualifier or licensed roofer supervise the work?
Does the contractor have a place of business? Can you go visit their office and shop should you have a problem or see if they have adequate equipment to perform your job. Be very careful if an address is not displayed or given as many so called contractors try to hide the fact that they operate from their house or pickup truck. Google Map
Is contractor in good standing? Get copy of current contractor & occupational license. Verify license is for the roofing trade. Verify information by calling Miami-Dade County Contractor’s Section at (305) 375-2527 and/or the State of Florida DBPR at (305) 377-7115 or (850) 487-1395, additionally you can request from these agencies for any open complaints against contractor.
Is contractor insured? Licensed contractors must have various insurances in effect at all times. Ask for Certificates of Insurance for Liability, Worker's Compensation & Autos. Verify information, some contractors will falsify these documents as these insurances are very expensive or may have been canceled. Do not accept a Worker’s Compensation Exemption, this simply means they don’t have insurance for workers. If a worker is injured on your property, they may sue you personally. Mainland includes its certificates with all proposals.
How long has the contractor been in business? The longer a contractor has been in business, the more experience and quality of work they will be able to provide you and it's the best indicator that they will be around in the future. Most contracting businesses fail within the first five years, this would include (90%) of contractors. Will they be around to honor the warranty? Pay close attention to the legal name of Company as many are changed slightly due to law suits and bankruptcies. They may add for instance ‘A1’ to the name. Some of these Companies yet are claiming to be around for many years but are misleading the public. Verify years in business by calling Tallahassee Division of Corporations at (850) 488-9000 or visiting the web site www.sunbiz.org. Simply implying that they have ‘xx’ amount of years in business is not good enough. Our corporate records, d/b/a.
Are they members of the Better Business Bureau or in good standing with the agency? You may call 561-842-1918 or check online at www.BBBSouthEastFlorida.org. This agency has strict guide lines for acceptance and can help you resolve any problem with contractor. Mainland's listing with the BBB.
Is proposal disproportionably lower than others? This could be a sign of an illegal contractor who cuts corners or one with financial problems. It could also be that the contractor is low bidding & planning to make up the difference on extras. Be suspicious of any contractor who offers the fastest, cheapest job. The most expensive job is the one that is not done properly the first time. Is it really worth it?
Will there be subcontractors? Many nationwide & local companies use subcontractors to do the actual work. If so, why call them when you can use a contractor that doesn’t. Ask if any of the work will done by others, like shingle or tile installation or hot tar work. If so, who are they? Check them out, they may not be licensed or insured either? Subcontracted work is paid by price per square foot & not by time so workmanship & quality are very poor. If it’s a roof tile job, are they certified installers for Polyfoam. Mainland doesn’t subcontract any roof work!
Is proposal in writing? A contractor who isn’t willing to put all terms in writing is a sign of potential problems. Are they presenting all warranties in writing or are they implied.
Is a large down payment being requested? In order to be licensed, a contractor must demonstrate sufficient financial ability to perform work. This money up front could be a sign of an illegal contractor or one with financial troubles. Mainland asks for low deposits and only bills for work that is completed.
When will job begin and finish? Are they willing to put it in writing? This is a key problem area. Are they willing to obtain permit(s)? In Dade County a permit is required for any roof work which either exceeds $1000 or 200 square feet. A licensed contractor who is in good standing will always obtain the permit for you and not ask you to obtain it yourself or lead you to believe that it isn’t required.
Is contractor requesting cash payments or checks made to them personally? This is usually a sign of an illegal contractor or one that is trying to beat the system by not paying worker's comp and payroll and income taxes.
Is contractor suggesting to do work on weekends or Holidays? This is usually a sign of an illegal contractor wanting to do the work without permits when building officials are not working.
Ask for references. Call & talk to previous customers, see some of their completed jobs. Ask them where they are working today and visit that job, check the quality of the work, vehicles, appearance....
Be very careful in doing business with any “contractor” who fails in any of these areas. Do not be fooled. Protect your property and peace of mind.
According to Florida Statute 455.228, if you hire an unlicensed contractor, you may be imposed a civil penalty of up to $5,000.00 for aiding or assisting unlicensed activity.