10 Tips to Help You Choose the Best Professional Roofer for the Job

Julissa Arangure
Written by Julissa Arangure
Reviewed by Ami Feller
Updated May 13, 2022
Shingles on the roof of a house
Photo: Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

Finding the right roofer can help make the whole job run much more smoothly

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A good roof is one of the most important parts of a home, protecting you from everything from downpours to ice to scorching summer rays. So when it comes to roofing projects, a big investment deserves the best person for the job. Luckily, finding the right local roofing pro can help you know that any roofing issues are in capable hands. Whether you’re replacing, fixing, or installing a roof, let these tips guide you to choosing the best roofer for the job.

1. Learn the Difference Between Independent Contractors and Roofing Companies

There are two different types of contractors to consider: independent contractors and roofing companies. While both will get the job done, one may be better suited for your specific project. 

An independent roofing contractor is best for quicker jobs like roof repairs. The advantage of having a single person on the job means you’ll only have one point of contact. This aspect can also be a disadvantage, however, because the job may take longer to complete. Also, if you have warranty issues, they may be difficult to track down.

A roofing company will take on larger projects like replacing a roof. With a roofing company, you may get better deals, a faster turnaround time, and a warranty. However, when working with a larger company, you may find yourself speaking to different people at different project stages.

2. Get Everything in Writing

No matter how big or small, every job needs to have a written quote so that you can plan financially and avoid hidden costs. From estimates to timelines, you should always be able to reference paperwork if any issues arise, and a written quote helps you both stay on the same page. Of course, this price may change a bit, but it’s always nice to know a ballpark of your costs. Have the roofer include the cost of materials, price breakdown, payment agreement, and any insurance coverage needed.

3. Check Their References

Word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted family and friends can go a long way when hiring any pro, including a roofer. Always ask them for at least three references from past customers so you can get a sense of their process and craft. Some questions to ask their references include whether they stayed on budget, any project delays, and if the customer was satisfied with the work overall. Don’t forget to check their online reviews. This information will help you decide if they are the right fit for your specific job.

4. Meet Them in Person

It’s always best to meet your potential roofer face to face so you can talk things over in person. You can also ask important questions and get a feel for the way they work. If you decide to hire them, you may feel more comfortable getting updates and reports about the status of your project, having met them first.

5. Hire Based on More Than Just Price

While getting a great deal and staying on budget is important, don’t rely solely on your quote. The average cost of a new roof is about $9,000, depending on the size of your house and the size of your roof, but many smaller repairs can vary greatly in price. Do your research to see if you’re being quoted a fair price, but make sure to determine other factors such as availability, working style, references, experience, and project type.

6. Include a Cleanup Strategy

Leftover debris and materials like small nails and asphalt can be dangerous to your family and pets if they’re still hanging around after the job is done. That’s why it’s important to develop a cleanup strategy with your roofer to ensure everything is covered. Not only should you schedule a final sweep-through of your roof and property, but be sure to ask how they’ll tidy up the work site each day to be sure you know what to expect.

7. Give Your Roofing Contractor the Full Details

To avoid complications or going over budget, plan out your roofing project before making any calls. Make sure to give any roofing pro you hire as many details as you can, including your specific roofing issues, past repairs, damage, and more. If you’re not exactly sure what the issue is, just give them as much information as you know and schedule time for them to inspect your roof to learn more.

8. Ask About Licenses and Insurance

Not every state requires roofers to be licensed. For example, Texas does not. But many states do, so check with your local government. If your state does not require licensing, ask the contractor how they are able to prove their experience and skill. To protect your home and everyone involved in the case of an accident, workers comp and liability insurance is also a must. Hiring anyone without proper documentation can put you both at risk.

Many pros recommend asking about specific manufacturer affiliations. 

“Most roofers prefer a certain brand of asphalt shingles or metal; because of the volume of material they purchase, they are generally able to offer extended after market warranties from these manufacturers,” says Ami Feller, Expert Review Board member and owner of Roofer Chicks in New Braunfels, TX. “If you want a certain manufacturer, you might want to go to the manufacturer's website to find their accredited contractors.”

9. Agree on a Timeline

Whether your project will take three days or three weeks, it’s important to outline a proper timeline so that both parties know what to expect. Of course, delays can happen, but setting expectations can help keep the project running smoothly. 

Talk through milestones, estimated completion dates, and any prep work needed before installation, such as cleaning or ordering materials. You’ll also want to find out any days you’ll need to be home during the project and when you can schedule a final run-through to make sure everything is to your liking.

10. Ask Lots of Questions

While checking off all of these boxes is important, you may not know exactly what to ask your pro to ensure all of these expectations are met. Below we’ve included a handy list of 30 questions you should ask your contractor before hiring them.

A roofer installing new shingles on a roof
Photo: Huntstock / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

Business Qualifications

  1.  How long have you been in business?

  2. Is your business local?

  3. Are you a licensed roofing contractor?

  4. What is your legal business name and address?

  5. Do you use roofing subcontractors?

  6. Do you have other completed projects that I can see?

  7. Who will be the main contact for this project, and what is the response turnaround time if I have questions?

  8. Who will be overseeing the roof installation for quality?

  9. Can I find reviews anywhere online?

  10. What is your specialty?

Estimates

  1.  When can you provide a written estimate

  2. Does the cost include materials?

  3. If you find roof damage, how much would it cost to replace the roof?

  4. Do I need a building permit for this particular job? If so, when will you have that ready?

  5. How do you handle payment?

  6. How will you avoid going over budget?

Timeline

  1. What percentage of jobs do you start and complete on time?

  2. How soon can you schedule my job?

  3. How long will my project take?

  4. Will you inspect my roof and let me know if anything is needed before starting the job?

  5. Has your team been trained in my type of roofing?

  6. How will the roofer leave the job site at the end of each day? Will everything be placed in a certain part of my yard?

Safety and Warranty

  1. How do you make sure safety is a priority for your workers?

  2. What will you do if there are unforeseen weather issues?

  3. Will you protect my house from any damage?

  4. Will my driveway be protected from any roof particles?

  5. What kind of warranty do you offer on your work?

  6. What level of roofing insurance do you have?

  7. What is your installation process?

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