Questions Roofers Should Ask Clients Before, During, and After the Job

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated September 22, 2021
A group of roofers installing ceramic tiles on a roof
Sirisak Boakaew/Moment via Getty Images

Asking the right questions can help ensure each roofing job goes smoothly from start to finish

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Roofers answer questions all day long about services, fees, and timeframes. But many don't realize that questions work both ways. Asking the right questions of your clients upfront has many benefits. It can make projects run smoothly, help you identify prospects who aren’t serious, and showcase your knowledge and expertise.

However, the conversation shouldn’t end once a client accepts your bid. It's essential to know how to handle a client during a job and after its completion to ensure you get good reviews, repeat business, and referrals. Here are the crucial questions roofers should ask clients at every stage of a project.

5 Roofing Questions to Ask Clients Before the Project

Save time by asking roofing clients the right questions before you start planning a project. Asking these questions can help you determine if leads are ready to act and show up prepared.

1. Would you like to see examples of our work?

Roofers should provide past work photos of homes or buildings with the same roofing type that a client is interested in. This helps to eliminate any last-minute surprises for the client. It also protects the roofer from unclear client expectations about the finished product. 

Viewing before and after photos of your work will also show prospects you have the expertise to get the job done. This will inspire trust and boost your credibility.

2. How many years do you want your new roof to last?

This answer will help you steer the conversation toward specific roofing options. A client looking for a "lifetime" roof will appreciate recommendations like tile that can last up to 50 years. Others will be happy with 25-year asphalt shingles. 

This is a great question to ask to measure client expectations while getting into the topic of price. Once you get your answer, you can talk about the different price tiers based on longevity and durability.

3. What happened with your last roof?

If a client is seeking a new roof installation, knowing what caused the previous roof to deteriorate puts you in a better position to make meaningful recommendations for the replacement roof. 

It can also help you avoid pitfalls specific to a home's style, age, or placement once you know how the previous roof deteriorated. If a client is interested in repairs, you can recommend specific weatherproofing elements to prevent damage and preserve an existing roof.

4. Do you need to remain open during the project?

This question is specifically for contractors who have commercial roofing clients. Knowing whether the business intends to shut its doors during the work can help you anticipate the hours and planning involved. You may also have to plan for enough crew members to get the project done as quickly as possible.

5. What day the week are you available for an estimate?

This is the ultimate question for weeding out clients who aren't ready to make a decision. While conventional wisdom says they're interested because they reached out, they may simply be trying to get a few questions answered. If a lead doesn't want to book an estimate, they probably aren’t serious or don't have a clear timeframe in mind. 

They may also simply be gathering information on behalf of the "decision-maker" of the business or household. Going back and forth without booking an estimate is a sign that a client isn't ready to buy.

4 Roofing Questions to Ask Clients During the Project

A quote getting the green light doesn't mean you're done communicating. There are some important questions roofing contractors should ask to help prep client expectations. These questions also keep the contractor and the client on the same page.

1. Is there an example of a roof you'd like me to see?

This question is all about meeting the needs of clients. It also gives you the ability to view a client's expectations, even if they're not perfectly communicating what they want. 

While clients don't always know how to describe what they'd like done, they can easily point to photos that show what they're looking for. Using visuals can confirm you're in agreement and help to avoid headaches caused by project misunderstandings.

2. What is your schedule like?

While you're waiting on the materials for the roofing project, ask the client about their specific schedule. Do they have preferences for which days of the week you will work on the roof? Are there any limitations for when you can work? Knowing these details in advance will help you budget time for a full calendar of jobs.

3. How would you like to pay for the deposit?

You should always ask for a minimum deposit to ensure you have enough to pay for materials and workers while the project is underway. A typical deposit amount can range from 15 to 50 percent of the total estimate. Don’t ask for a cash deposit: having a record of all payments protects both you and the client.

4. How often do you want updates?

Establish expectations for communication. Some clients expect routine progress reports to be part of the workflow. Others don't want to hear from you until you've completed the job. Ask if they would prefer to receive updates via phone call, email, or text—and how often—to keep satisfaction levels high.

3 Roofing Questions to Ask Clients After the Project

The end of a roofing project can be the start of a great relationship with a client if you ask some good followup questions. This is a time to ramp up customer service instead of simply wiping the dust from your hands to move on to the next job. It's all about paving the way for long-term communication.

1. Would you like to keep your investment in top shape with a roof maintenance package?

Let your client know you can help them protect their investment with maintenance services. This is a good time to remind them that most roofs are replaced prematurely, according to Roofing Contractor, and they can preempt major, costly issues with affordable maintenance plans.

You can go over how the routine maintenance and visual inspections you perform help detect problems like punctures, cracks, and shrinkage that might go unseen for years.

2. Would you like me to refer you to another contractor for an issue observed in another portion of your home?

While up on the roof, you may recognize another issue with the home, like improperly routed ducts, that might not be in your area of expertise even though you know enough to spot the problem. Sharing this "heads up" could save the client from high costs and headaches down the road. 

There's a good chance the client will appreciate the tip. You can also use this opportunity to recommend a contractor you trust as part of a strategy for sharing cross-industry professional referrals.

3. Would you mind leaving a review?

If a client appears pleased with your work, ask that they leave a review for your business online. You can also consider giving each client something small, like a succulent, with a business card reminding them to leave a review. This shows your appreciation for their business and keeps you top of mind for that review.

Roofers Shouldn't Be Afraid to Ask Clients Questions

While the client is the one paying you for the roof, you stand to lose money from wasted time or unsuccessful projects. That's why attracting the right clients is so important. Asking these questions will help you filter out clients who are either not serious or more trouble than they’re worth. 

So don’t be afraid to talk to your clients and ask in-depth questions. They’ll appreciate your attention to detail, and it’ll provide valuable information for you and your team every step along the way.

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