Finding a reputable roofing company is an important step of keeping your home in good condition over the years. When you maintain your roof and take care of any repairs as soon as possible, you’ll extend its lifespan and lower the chances of incurring steep repair bills later on. While there are thousands of roofing companies available within a simple Google search, not all contractors are created equal. You want to find someone that you can rely on and who won’t take advantage of your checkbook. To help, here are 9 useful tips for hiring an affordable roofing contractor.

1. Look at Training and Certifications

The first thing that you want to do when looking at affordable roofing contractors is make sure that the prospective company has adequate training alongside the proper certifications. Certain roofing manufacturers offer unique training or certifications to contractors to make sure that they know how to properly install, repair, or maintain them. Ask roofing companies if they carry any certifications and if so, which ones.

During this time, consider how long the company has been in business or at least how many years of experience their contractors have. While there are probably some great roofing contractors with only a few years of experience, it’s not the norm. Instead, you want to find someone who has worked on roofs for a while so that you can trust that your home is in good hands. Don’t fall victim to fly-by-night contractors—make sure that you’re able to review job history, verify training, and view certifications.

2. Ask for Proof of Insurance and Licenses

Your contractor should have worker’s compensation alongside liability insurance, at the very least. This provides ample amount of coverage if one of the contractors is injured and avoids potential problems with homeowners. Liability insurance will protect your home if damage is incurred during a contracting job. It’s also important to make sure that your roofing contractor is bonded. This means that the company has money available in case the customer files a claim against them. While experienced roofing contractors don’t tend to get in situations where this is necessary, having it is a sign that they’re trustworthy and reliable if anything were to go wrong.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that whatever roofing contractor you choose is legitimate. You can do this by confirming their licenses in applicable areas. You should also ask about their tax identification number and make sure that they have a physical address for their business alongside a website. This will give you peace of mind that you’re not going to be taken advantage of.

3. Do Your Research

Do you need a complete roof replacement or only a few repairs? In either regard, it’s important to do your research about what’s being done to your roof so that you can ask the right questions and monitor the work along the way. Similarly, you’ll want to research different roofing companies to get a better understanding about the scope and nature of their work. Since almost every company has some sort of online presence, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Look for companies who have well-built websites, ongoing blog content, and plenty of pictures of their past work. This will give you a better understanding of what you can expect and what kind of specializations a company has.

4. Get Local Referrals

After looking through some company websites, ask your friends, family members, or neighbors for local referrals. This allows you to ask specific questions about the company you’re interested in while simultaneously learning about the customer experience. Since all homeowners will deal with roofing issues at some point during their life, you’ll find plenty of local referrals. You can also utilize the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to find verified, accredited businesses that you can trust.

5. Go Over Permit Requirements

Depending on the nature of the work you’re getting, you may need to acquire one or more permits. In many areas across the country, this responsibility falls on the homeowner. Discuss the job with your prospective roofing contractor to get an idea of which permits you’ll need. If the company you’re talking to recommends simply skipping permits to save time and money, find a different contractor. You want to work with someone who is honest and has integrity, otherwise you may feel like you’re being taken advantage of down the line.

6. Ask the Right Questions

Don’t hire a roofing contractor until you’ve had a chance to ask questions and better understand their process. Interviewing contractors is not only common, but essential. Ask them about what types of roofing they install, if they work with homeowner’s insurance directly, their licensing, certifications, and permits, and whether or not they offer a free on-site roofing inspection. You can also discuss the specifics about their services, manufacture covered warranties, project timelines, cost of materials, and clean up. For homeowners looking for specific projects, make sure that you get a written estimate after the inspection and fully understand how the payment processing will work from start to finish.

7. Discuss Pricing and Labor

While the goal of your search is finding an affordable roofing contractor, you shouldn’t make a decision based on price alone. As we mentioned, inexpensive installations or repairs are often done improperly with shortcuts taken along the way. This will lead to expansive repairs down the line, oftentimes overshadowing the price of the original repair tenfold. Look out for roofing contractors with low prices and red flags.

Pricing and labor are competitive, and you should take into account the current market value of materials beforehand. This will give you a better understanding of labor costs for each company. If you get a written estimate after the inspection and have questions, ask your roofing contractor directly. At the end of the day, price isn’t the only thing that matters when choosing an affordable roofing contractor, but the choice is ultimately up to you.

8. Avoid Cash Payments

A huge red flag is when a company requires you to pay in cash. While you may prefer to pay cash for certain things, doing so does leave a risk. Without a paper trail, it’s much harder to overcome an issue or settle a dispute. If your roofing contractor tells you that they only accept cash, walk away.

9. Always Use a Written Contract

Once you find the right roofing contractor, make sure that you get a written contract between you, as the homeowner, and the company. If a roofing contractor is hesitant to sign a contract or outright refuses, find someone else to complete the job. This is a huge red flag and likely the beginning to an array of problems down the line. Any experienced, licensed roofing contractor will be more than happy to sign a contract.

The contract should include all of the details surrounding the project, the materials that will be used, any subcontractors that will be needed, and payment. It should also include a timeline and information on how your home and landscape will be protected during the job. If you are uncomfortable or don’t agree with any aspect of the contract, discuss it with your contractor. If you’re unable to agree on terms, find someone else to get the job done.

One thing to keep in mind is that affordable and cheap are two very different terms. In the short-run, choosing a cheap company that cuts corners or lacks the proper experience is only going to cause more problems in the long-run. This will vastly increase the overall cost of your roof over time. The more problems you have, the more repairs you’ll need or damage you’ll incur. Instead, finding an affordable roofing contractor means working with someone who has good experience and isn’t overcharging for their services.

First Star Exteriors offers affordable roofing services to residents in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley region. We have over 10 years of experience and specialize in roof, siding, and gutter installation and repair. Our crews and seasons supervisors have the experience you need and never complete a job that’s subpar. When looking for a reputable roofing installation company, contact First Star Exteriors. We believe there’s a perfect balance between hands-on, personable treatment, quality of work, and speed of delivery. We take the time to understand your needs and communicate effectively from the first quote to the last nail being placed. To learn more about our roofing options or to get a quote from us today within 48 hours, contact us at (479) 267-4800 or fill out our contact form here.