In Oklahoma, there is no such thing as state licensing for roofers, and insurance is not required. Anyone can hang up a “shingle” and call themselves a roofing company.
When storms hit, you may see an influx of out-of-town roofers (“storm chasers”), who often leave town not long after the storms do. How can you determine, as a consumer, if you’re hiring a legitimate, experienced roofer who will be around after the storm season?
Here are some important questions that the Oklahoma Roofing Contractors Association (ORCA) recommends asking about any roofing company you may be considering. Please use this list as an aid to ensure that the contractor you choose will be there to provide ethical and responsive service before, during AND AFTER your project is complete.
Are they in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?
Are they a member of a roofing association that holds its members to high standards, such as the Oklahoma Roofing Contractors Association (www.ntrca.com) the National Roofing Contractors Association (www.nrca.net), the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (www.rooftex.com), or the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (www.mrca.org)?
How many years of experience do they have as a roofing contractor in Oklahoma?
Are they insured? What type of insurance coverage do they have and what and how much does it cover? Don’t hesitate to ask a roofing contractor for proof of insurance and make sure the coverage is in effect throughout your project. You don’t want to be liable for accidents that occur on your property (and you will be if the contractor is not properly insured)!
Who will supervise your roofing project? How much experience do they have? How can you contact that person?
Where is the roofing company located? Has your prospective contractor just come to town with the storms? Drive by and check out their business address. You probably don’t want to hire a roofer who is operating out of his pickup truck or temporary P.O. Box.
What is the roofing contractor’s warranty on labor? What is the manufacturer’s warranty? Get warranty information in writing. Consider how long your contractor has been in business and where they are located when looking at their labor warranty.
Do they have credit references? Ask for a list of local suppliers, and call them to ensure the roofing contractor is in good standing. You don’t want to be left footing the bill for roofing materials.
Do they have customer references they can provide? Get a list of previous customers and call them.
Will they give you a detailed, written proposal with complete descriptions of the work, start and completion dates and payment schedule?
Is the contractor going to obtain the appropriate municipal permits?
Are they asking for money upfront? End users should beware of paying before the job is complete. A partial payment for materials, however, after they have been delivered to your project location, is not unusual.
Which roofing manufacturers are they certified to install? You can go to the manufacturer’s website to see which roofing contractors are certified to install their roofing system.
Is the roofer offering to “take care of” or “eat” your insurance deductible? Talk directly to your insurance company to ensure that any “deal” is legitimate and not insurance fraud.
If the bid is significantly lower than their competitors, why? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Price is only one consideration when selecting a roofing contractor. Make sure you don’t pay more later by hiring a contractor that is uninsured, performs substandard work and/or leaves Oklahoma shortly after the storms do. Also, a low price that is below other contractors’ costs is an indicator that the roofing materials being used may be stolen goods, a growing problem in Oklahoma that is a federal offense.