Selecting a Syracuse NY Roofing Contractor

The process of deciding upon a professional roofer in Syracuse NY is far more complex than just getting acquainted with common estimates, and then attempting to chose the lowest price. In all practicality at least an hour should be set aside in order to not only go through the estimates of as many companies as possible, but also to ask questions, and discuss all available options as well.   Roofing companies in Syracuse can differ depending upon how many people are under their employment, whether the company is corporate or privately owned, as well as many other variables. It is important to communicate directly with the owner of the company you chose, the salesperson, or the person who will be performing the actual labor on your roof. It is also important to chose someone who speaks with enthusiasm about their work, and who shows that they have a great amount of knowledge and experience in the field. The person you speak to should appear enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about their profession. They should be willing and able to discuss any of their past roofing jobs, especially in terms of projects that may be particularly similar to your own.

Always keep as much information documented as you can including the company’s complete address. You will also need to do some simple research on how long the company has been in business, and whether they have gained positive or negative reviews about their prior roofing jobs. Remember that it can be beneficial to work with a local company with a central office closer to your home, this way they can get to you, and attend to your needs much faster than a company located further away.

Non-Insured vs Insured Roofers

Obtaining proof of insurance is extremely important and there should be no issue with the contractor presenting you with their certificate of insurance. This information will tell you if they withhold general liability and workers’ comp just in case there are any unforeseen accidents. The contractor confirming all of this for you is not enough, however. Make sure to have proof of coverage sent over to you by the actual insurance company before the work on your roof begins.

It is detrimental to have Workers’ compensation coverage just in case a roofer is personally injured while working on your property. As the homeowner, you could find yourself liable for all hospital bills and expenses of the worker, if the contractor you’ve hired is not fully insured. Roofing contractors without insurance will definitely be less expensive, but a lot of this is due to their wanting to avoiding large insurance premiums especially for their workers on unemployment.

Some other reasons contractors may not be fully insured include:

  • Contractor is not a full-time employee
  • Self-employed roofing contractor or partner without employees/few employees
  • New roofing company employee(s)
  • Inability to pay insurance premiums because of high costs
  • No work guarantee

The decision as to whether or not you chose an insured worker is entirely up to you but it is definitely not recommended.

Licensed Roofer(s)

To our knowledge there are not any towns in Onondaga county which require roofing contractors to carry a license. This license may show that the contractor was required to complete a written exam, and did so. Most areas however, do require building and zoning permits with full inspections.

Workmanship Policy of Roofing Companies

Most workmanship warranties are valid for at least twelve months after the job has been completed. The roofer who is confident and stands behind his work however, is far more important than the actual length of the warranty itself. The best way to go about collecting this information is to simply ask prior customers questions, like:

  • Did the contractor perform their work in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Did the roofer react calmly to providing further information or changes?
  • Were concerns taken care of promptly by the company?
  • When rating them would you describe them as a “trustworthy” roofing company?

While the roofers themselves guarantee their workmanship, the manufacturers of the materials used by the workers also guarantee their particular roofing products and materials from issues and defects.  These two warranties cover the shingle roof system. A roofer who is doing his job the right way will be able to provide you with an updated copy of the manufacturer’s warranty for any products they may be using on you roof. Some roofing manufacturers even offer programs to professional contractors. This puts on display their incredible knowledge, expertise, and overall competence in terms of the installation and complete use of their products.

Has the Roofing Company you selected been in Business for at least a few years?

Generally speaking, you’re usually better off picking a company that has been in business for some time. There is always a chance that a new business is a great business however, and so it is best to keep in mind that at some point everyone starts out somewhere. It’s vital to obtain good references about the company you may select to complete your roofing job. Check out as many references as possible, and thoroughly.

Are the referrals good, do they appear enthusiastic when describing the work performed?

Asking for photographs of the contractor’s previous jobs can help greatly in deciding if their work is up to par with your personal standards. If you cannot acquire photos for whatever reason, request a list of recent customer’s names and telephone numbers for a reference. Even with the acquisition of photos it is still a good idea to make a few calls from the list of references in order to get honest input. It could also be beneficial to ask previous references if you can check out the job their particular contractor did for them yourself. You will get a lot more honest information if you are able to talk to the customer in person.

Were you offered a Proposal?

Proposals are important for they present to hopeful future clients ideas, and examples of products that may be used on their roof. Themes such as  design, brand name, prices, service and some other supplies may be provided in the company’s proposal. Generally there are about three item choices which showcase the quality of the different products. The range is usually from good, to better, to best. Well arranged consumer-friendly proposals should not only contain product literature, but samples as well. If some sort of problem does occur with your roof, it will generally present itself right away. For this reason, a  “near term” warranty offered by the contractor or manufacturer is far more reliable and important than the “long-term” warranty they may offer.

How does the Roofing Company Deal with Complaints?

It is important to know how your prospective roofer may have dealt with past complaints.  When going through your referral list, inquire as to whether or not the customer had any complaints, and how the contractor dealt with them.  You can also obtain this information from The Better Business Bureau and licensing authorities. This is a good way to test your roofer’s resolve, reputation, and attitude. If there were any disputes, inquire as to how they were resolved.

An estimate or proposal will probably have to be implicated before you will be able to ask questions such as these. Estimates and proposals can reflect differently. Generally an estimate just offers a price, general product description, and several limited color options. Traditionally, this is the way roofing business works.

The Manufacturer’s Warranty

Inspecting the state and condition of the property first, is most important. Make sure all necessary documentation can be interpreted clearly and is saved so that any confusion of misinterpretation can be avoided, especially the terms of payment and the roofing schedule itself.

Make sure that all the methods used by your contractor match up with the manufacturer’s warranty and installation guidelines.  These things include: ventilation requirements, fastener requirements, ice dam protection, and low slope installation terms, as therefore specified in the shingle manufacturer’s literature or product packaging.

Make sure that you completely and thoroughly read through the contract you construct with your roofer. Sometimes if the company is a larger one, it’s contract may be longer and more difficult to understand.  A great deal of the time if misunderstandings arise, they are not so much from the work itself as from the details of the contract.

Local Building Codes

Make sure you have the proper help in terms of obtaining your permit. Plan inspections thoroughly and find out if they can/will be observed. Make sure you are clear as to whether or not permit costs are included, as well as provisions for posting zoning notices if they are required.

Choice of Roofing Products

Make sure you were offered a wide range of shingles in terms of quality, material, brand, and manufacturer. Don’t let you contractor walk away without explaining to you in detail the importance and differences between different brands and types of shingles. Make sure that they explain color differences, texture differences, style differences, as well as UV ratings and reinforcement. It is important that the contractor presents these options to you from a perspective that is equally technical as well as aesthetic. Finally make sure that the warranty for your shingles is written out clearly, and easy to understand.

The Schedule of Your Roofing Project

Although weather greatly effects the start and completion dates of your roofing project, you still have every right to initiate a “no later than” clause.  Just make sure that both you and your roofer are clear on the terms and comfortable with them as well.

Make it known from the beginning that you are not looking for the cheapest quote available, but for a decent quote that will provide the greatest overall value. Always let the contractor know how you found out about them especially if it was from personal referrals or other work done around your area. This will help to motivate the roofer as well as to help ensure them that you’ll be an excellent client. The roofer will also be looking to get good referrals out of you for future clients, and to make a decent profit.

Sadly, there are homeowners out there who try to trick contractors and take advantage of them   by filing frivolous lawsuits. At the end of the day, a contractor is going to want to work the most efficiently and productively with a client who has the contractors best interests in mind as well as their own. Following these simple tips can help to ensure that an excellent contractor will be willing to take on your job.

More Syracuse (Onondaga County) Roofing Information

To seek further assistance in deciding upon a roofing contractor, the best places to contact would be the Western NY Better Business Bureau or Roofing Trade associates. Make sure you always check in with your town about local zoning laws and perhaps even other information like what’s required for local roofing permits, or even inquire after a local referral list for contractors.