Getting a new roof is no laughing matter. It’s a major project, and one that could have significant ramifications for the rest of your home. Even a great roof will put a significant dent in your budget. But if you don’t get it just right or try to cut corners, you risk potential damage to your home and significant long-term expense.
That’s why strategy is key to success. You cannot simply find the next best roofing contractor, or be convinced by a single door-to-door sales person, and hope for the best. Instead, you need to complete significant research that helps you understand the professionals in your area, and how they can help you accomplish exactly what you need.
That’s a complex process, but it’s far from impossible. In fact, you can follow a relatively linear process to get to that point. Keep reading to find out how to find the right professional when looking to install a new roof in Canton, MI.
First, it’s crucial to cast a wide net. If you don’t take this step, you risk having qualified contractors fall through the net and only considering subpar alternatives instead. This general list can be in your head, or written down – depending on how you prefer to conduct your research.
At this stage, it’s important to avoid any judgment until later. Your goal here is not to pick the perfect contractor for your needs. It’s to get a general understanding of the professionals in your area who could potentially take on the job. In other words, it will serve as the origin point and baseline for all research below.
While you should avoid judgment during this first step, it does make sense to limit your initial search geographically. Local contractors will always be your best choice, because they have a good understanding of the conditions, vegetation, and climate as it relates to your home.
National contractors, on the other hand, tend to build a plan that’s looks identical in California as it would in Michigan. Naturally, that’s not as beneficial for your home. As you develop your list, try to stay local to leverage relevant expertise and minimize contractor travel time.
Once the general list is in place, begin to consider the reviews and ratings of everyone you’ve found through independent sites. Platforms like the Better Business Bureau, AngiesList, and HomeAdvisor all have relatively comprehensive directories in which you can search for contractors and read what other clients think about them. That way, you avoid those who fail to complete work or deliver questionable results.
At this point, it also makes sense to seek out the licensing and insurance of the contractors on your list. Any professional without either should not be in your consideration. Should something go wrong with the roof, or should someone get injured in the installation, you have to make sure that everything is covered and you as the homeowner will not be held liable.
With a more quantified narrowing of your list out of the way, it’s time to get more qualitative. Start looking at the experience level of all professionals and firms you are considering. Twelve Oaks Roofing, for instance, has installed roofs in Michigan for three generation. This type of experience level helps understand that when working on your roof, the contractor knows exactly what they’re doing every step of the way.
Expertise, naturally, matters as much as experience. Even the best roofing contractor will not be a good fit if they specialize in commercial roofing and you are looking for a residential project. The better you understand each contractor’s core competencies, the more easily you’ll be able to find a professional that actually focuses on the area(s) you’re looking for.
At this point, through a consideration of ratings, reviews, licensing, and experience, you should have narrowed your list to about 3-5 roofing contractors in your area. Now, it’s time to actually start the contact with the professionals to find one that fits your needs.
During this initial call, you should ask each contractor the same list of general questions, including (but not limited to):
Through these and other questions, you can gain a better understanding of the contractor’s approach and expectations. That way, you have a better informational base to make the final decision on which pro to choose when that time comes.
During your initial call, it also makes sense to ask for references from any recent past clients that your contractor has worked with. These references should be able to give you a better, independent idea of the quality of work, time required, friendliness and professionalism of the expert, and more.
Asking for references, therefore, is only the first step. Any pro who is proud of their work will be happy to share them. In addition, you should schedule a specific call that allows for a comprehensive, thorough reference check. The more information you gather at this point the better.
Once the references check out, invite the roofer to your property. Through this step, they can evaluate your roof, and provide you with an estimate of how much it would take to replace it. They might even give you multiple estimates depending on material and quality of work.
Ideally, these estimates should be free. Your roofing contractor should be confident enough in their work to not charge you for the estimate alone. That’s why it makes sense to get multiple estimates; now, you can compare not only costs, but also get a first idea of what it would be like to work with each pro you are currently considering for the process.
Of course, an estimate is only worth as much as the quality of work that actually flows into it. The cheapest estimate, therefore, is not always the best. In addition, it makes sense to consider the warranty that each contractor offers. The stronger the warranty, the higher the faith in their work; and the less you will have to pay in the long run should something go wrong.
At this point, it also makes sense to understand just how the contractor you might go with actually conducts their workflow. Do they subcontract some of the work, or take it all on themselves? How long will they take until project completion, and how many professionals do they estimate will work on your roof? All of these questions can give you a better idea of what to expect once you actually sign the contract.
Finally, don’t underestimate the simple importance of trusting your gut. You will note that all of the above are rational decision points. And without a doubt, they are crucial in helping you find the right roofing contractor in Michigan. And yet, even the most rational thought process is irrelevant if the person you choose simply doesn’t work well with you.
In other words, chemistry matters. At this point, you should have enough interactions with each contractor you are considering (if more than one are still in play) that you should be able to judge how you might be able to get along. After all, the professionals you choose will work on your property for weeks. You have to make sure that you actually like and trust them to do a good job and would do just as well on potential repairs in the future.
The above list of steps may seem complex. And indeed, it tends to be. But that’s by design. After all, you have to make sure that for a major project like your roof, you exhaust all options before choosing a contractor that fits exactly what you are looking for and need. Too much of your home depends on the quality of the roof that sits on top of it.
Once you begin going through the process, you will find that much of it comes natural. Asking the right questions, for instance, means finding out exactly what to expect at the same time. And when you stay local, the list of contractors will not be so big that you cannot possib