6 Questions to Ask When Getting a Roof Estimate

Homeowner Learning

Author: Lee Polevoi | April 21, 2020

Homeowners need to know what questions to ask when getting a roof estimate. Whether the project involves repair or replacement, you should gather as much information as possible before accepting a roofing contractor's bid.

Customer talking with contractor while touching tile roofing samples
Ask questions to get valuable information from a roofing contractor before hiring them.

Here are six questions to ask for an accurate, cost-effective estimate.

1. What Is Your Company Name and Address?

Ask about the roofing company's legal name so you can research the business online in federal and state directories. Any hesitation on the contractor's part to supply this information should be viewed as a red flag. Some roofers may also be accredited with the Better Business Bureau, or have reviews on sites like HomeAdvisor.

2. What Liability Coverage Do You Have?

A roofing company should have up-to-date general liability insurance and workers compensation coverage in case there's an accident while work is being conducted on your home. Otherwise, you, the homeowner, might be responsible for covering an injured worker's medical bills, and your homeowner's insurance may not reimburse you.

3. Can You Provide References?

Any reputable firm will be happy to supply you with two or three favorable references. When speaking with a contractor's former customer, ask about how closely the crew adhered to a promised work schedule; what, if any, were the reasons behind a delay; if the crew acted responsibly while on the customer's property; if unexpected charges appeared after an estimate was submitted; and, finally, if they can enthusiastically recommend the contractor. All of this information is critical for making an informed selection.

4. What Is Your Proposed Timeline for the Project?

Roofing companies sometimes encounter difficulties in sticking to promised schedules. Some delays, like extreme weather or materials on back order, can't be predicted. It's important to manage your own expectations by getting a realistic estimate of how long you'll have to wait for the project to get underway and how many weeks or months it may take.

5. What Kind of Warranties Do You Offer?

Different roofing materials such as asphalt shingles come with different manufacturer's warranties. Roofing contractors may also offer limited warranties for their labor, or a maintenance plan for an additional fee.

6. Who Will Be in Charge on the Jobsite?

Many thriving roofing contractors have multiple projects going on at the same time; the person you talk to about the job may not be the person you see every day on the jobsite. Larger contractors may employ a project manager who oversees scheduling, compliance and manufacturer guidelines, along with one or more supervisors who lead the crew. Ask to be introduced to your jobsite point of contact on the first day of work, or earlier if possible.

Knowing what questions to ask when getting a roof estimate is essential before making a decision about hiring a particular company. Don't hesitate to ask follow-up questions, either. Any reputable contractor will be happy to put your mind at ease before, during and after a big roofing project.

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