When you’re running a business, one of the things you’ll have to handle on a regular basis is to maintain your building. HVAC systems need care, electrical and plumbing systems may need some work, and any green space you have will need tending. One of the most important maintenance tasks you’ll have is keeping your roof in good shape.
Whether you’re replacing an old roof or repairing one that’s a little worn out, you need a good commercial roofing contractor for the job. Read on to learn how to pick the right person for the job and what qualities to look for.
Ask for Recommendations
When you’re trying to find a good commercial roofing contractor, one of the first things you should do is to ask for recommendations. Reading online reviews can be great, as we’ll talk more about later. But that only gives you a limited idea of what working with that company is really going to be like.
Talk to other entrepreneurs in your area and ask if they’ve had a new roof put on in the last few years. Ask what company they worked with and if they were satisfied with their experience. Make sure you ask what kind of work they had done so you can be sure you aren’t comparing apples and oranges.
The other good thing to do when searching for roofing contractors is to stay local. A contractor from outside your area may be fine during the installation process. But if there’s ever a problem with your roof, you don’t want to wait three hours or more for an emergency technician to make it to your business.
Look at local listings of roofing contractors and try to choose someone based in your area. You can even run a google search for “commercial roofing services” and see vendors listed in order of distance from you. These search results will often include websites and even previous customer reviews.
Look at Their Services
Once you have a list of potential contractors, you need to start narrowing it down to those you want to get estimates from. Start by looking at the services the different companies on your list offer. This will tell you not only if they can handle your job, but what sort of working relationship you can expect to have with them in the future.
In addition to looking for the service you need right at the moment, look at whether this company offers emergency roof repairs. Do they only do installations, or will they perform routine maintenance, too? Can they repair damage from storms or other disasters, and can they inspect your roof to make sure it stays up to code?
Check Their License
Depending on where you live, commercial roofers may be required to have a license in order to work on roofs. At the least, they will need a business license to run a legitimate company. And some states may offer a general contracting license to companies working on any section of a private building.
Talk to your shortlist and ask what sort of licensing they hold in your state. It may be a good idea to do some of your own homework first to figure out what your state’s individual requirements are. Even if your company doesn’t require a roofing license, a general contractor’s license can be a good indication of quality service.
Ask About Certifications
In addition to a license, a roofing company can earn different industry certifications. In essence, these certifications demonstrate that this company has worked hard to master all the best practices in its industry. They may have to participate in continuing education to maintain these certifications so they can stay up to date on the latest techniques.
Ask your potential roofers what certifications, if any, they and their employees have. Some roofers may be members of the National Roofing Contractors Association, a prestigious organization that works to maintain excellent industry standards. Some contractors may also specialize in solar panel installation or other types of specific roofing installation.
Check on Insurance
In addition to licensing and credentials, it’s incredibly important to make sure your roofer is insured. Roofing can be a dangerous business, even when working on buildings with flat roofs. If your roofer falls off your building and gets injured, you could be looking at the ugly end of a liability lawsuit.
Legitimate roofers carry insurance to protect themselves and their customers from these kinds of injuries. These policies also help to protect them if any of your property gets damaged during work on your roof. Make sure any commercial roofer you work with carries insurance so you know you’re covered.
Ask About Experience
During this initial phone call to your potential roofer, you should also ask them about their experience. Some things can only be learned on the job, and you want to make sure your roofer has the know-how to do your job right. Many years spent in the business can also be a good indicator that your roofer provides excellent service.
Ask your roofer about their experience and whether they’ve worked on projects like yours before. Ask about the most challenging projects they’ve worked on and how they handled problems when they arose. Ideally, your roofer should have a lot of experience handling projects like yours so there won’t be any surprises once work starts.
Look Into Their Reputation
Once you’ve talked to your shortlist of roofers, you’ll want to do some additional digging. A company may look great from the outside, but it may provide a terrible customer experience. It’s a good idea to look into a company’s reputation before you make a decision about working with them.
If you haven’t already, talk to fellow entrepreneurs who have worked with this company in the past. You can also check out the Better Business Bureau website and see how the business ranks. An A+ rating and/or accreditation can speak volumes about a company’s quality and reliability.
Look at Their Website
While you’re poking around online, take some time to head over to your potential roofer’s own website. While their business is roofing, not web design, a good website shows a dedication to quality and customer experience. It can also show the kind of resources a business owner is dedicating towards helping their company to succeed.
Take a look at how much effort a company has put into making its website beautiful and easy to navigate. Do they display customer reviews and make it simple to find information? While this criterion shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of your decision, it can give you a better sense of the company.
Talk to References
In addition to talking to friends and neighbors about your potential roofers, it’s a good idea to talk to their previous clients. These references may be able to tell you more about projects similar to yours and what their experience was like. This can include everything from the project timeline to whether the roofers showed up on time to how they handled seasonal maintenance.
Ask your shortlist companies for references you can talk to. If one of the companies refuses to provide you with information for any previous customers, find another roofing company to work with. That sort of refusal usually means the company has bad experiences they’re trying to hide.
Talking to references and friends is great, but you may also want to read online reviews of your potential company. For one thing, you’ll have more information to work with when you look at online reviews. You also won’t be getting only the hand-selected best of the best customers who will give a biased view of the company.
Keep in mind when you’re reading reviews that disgruntled customers are more likely to take the time to leave a review than happy ones. However, if you notice the same complaints coming up over and over again, that may carry some weight. Look for patterns emerging in the reviews, both in good and bad feedback.
Once you’ve figured out your top candidates for a commercial roofer, it will be time to start getting quotes. Roofing companies should provide free consultations and quotes before you sign any contracts. Every situation is different, and they’ll need to take a look at your particular roof before they give an official estimate.
When you’re comparing estimates, be sure you’re comparing the same things among companies. One company may be more expensive, but they may also offer extra services that the others don’t. Likewise, a cheaper company might not cover things such as site cleanup when the job is done.
Check on Warranties
Oftentimes, roof work will come with a warranty to cover both the materials and the labor for a certain period of time. Of course, normal wear and tear are to be expected, and your roof won’t stay in perfect condition forever. But if you wind up with some defective roofing or a mistake in the installation, these warranties can help to protect your investment.
Talk to your potential roofing contractors about what sort of warranty, if any, they offer on their products. Check on whether that warranty covers damage from natural disasters or other unexpected events. Also, look into whether the warranty is transferrable in case you move out of the building before it’s up.
Ask About Emergency Services
If your roof gets damaged in a storm, getting it repaired as quickly as possible is critical. Every second you spend waiting around for a roofing contractor to show up is a second water is destroying your building and inventory. You need to get things patched up absolutely as soon as possible so you can protect your company’s assets.
Check with your shortlist companies about whether they do emergency repairs. If none of them do but they offer a good fit in every other area, find another company who you can call in the event of an emergency. But ideally, the same company who installed your roof should do all the work on it, even outside of normal business hours.
Pay Attention to Professionalism
During all your interactions with potential roofing companies, it’s a good idea to pay attention to professionalism. It is true that at the end of the day, the quality of the roof on your business will matter far more than whether a company offers a firm handshake. But the level of professionalism at the beginning can give you an idea of what your entire experience working with this company will be like.
Take note of whether this company answers the phone, calls you back promptly, and is knowledgeable. They should be polite, show up on time for the consultation appointment, and send you a written estimate within a reasonable time frame. Companies that pay this much attention to detail in their customer interactions will likely carry that over into their roof work.
Find the Right Commercial Roofing Contractor
When your business needs a new roof, it’s important to find the right commercial roofing contractor for the job. You want someone who has a good reputation, is professional, and has all the appropriate certifications. From there, you need to compare warranties and estimates, as well as whether they provide emergency repairs.
If you’d like to find the right commercial roofing contractor for your job, check out the rest of our site at Reliance Roofing. We know that you need to maintain one of your biggest assets – your building – effectively. Get a quote from us today and start protecting your company’s biggest investment.