You can’t look at someone and make a judgment whether they are a good person or a bad person based on looks alone. It is a scary thing to have to rely on your instincts to decide whether to do business or not with a company based on your interactions with a few sales people. What if you were wrong? What if they won’t return if there is a problem? What if they don’t live up to what they sold you at the kitchen table? A thousand things run through your head when picking a roofer…is he a good roofer or bad roofer? Let me give you some advice that will help you have some peace of mind as you make your decision.
1. Credentials: What kind of credentials does this person/company have? For example, what kinds of credibility do they have with manufacturers? Are they certified to install many different product lines? How many jobs have they completed in the past 3 months? 3 years? What kind of credibility do they have with suppliers? Do they pay their bills on time? Do they have a good relationship with past customers that would not hesitate to give spectacular referrals? All of these things matter, without certifications how could you ever verify they can do the install on those products? Without a good pay history how could you ever know if they would leave your bill unpaid and allow a lein to be placed on your home for failure to pay for materials? Without a good customer referral list how do you know if they will not just take your money and do the job when it is convenient for them. Check them out further than the BBB, go to www.citysearch.com, www.angieslist.com, or www.kudzu.com. This will give you some further insight as to how credible they are as a contractor.
2. Professionalism: Did the sales person arrive when they said they would? Did they show up in proper dress attire? Did they call or alert you before they arrive to remind you of the appointment (people are very busy and we tend to forget things)? Did they park in the driveway behind you or leak oil on your driveway? These seems small and insignificant but they are indicators of how they view the working relationship. For example, if the sales person did not show up on time or had to reschedule they must not value your time above theirs. They likely think that it is acceptable to inconvenience you (the customer) because after all…they are providing you with a valuable service. GET REAL, you are the customer and deserve the proper respect since you are spending your money with them. Without you, they don’t have jobs so they should show that respect by doing the little things right. If not they are likely red flags and should be considered not worthy of doing business with. NOTE: There is give and take in the relationship, you are not the only customer but neither are they the only roofing contractor. All I am saying is these are first impressions and they are right more often than they are wrong.
3. What do your instincts tell you about this person/company? As they talk do you catch yourself questioning their motives or information they are giving you? Do you feel that something is not quite right about them? Is it something you have heard before, something associated with roofers in general? A few years back there was a study performed by a prestigious firm that asked the question…”who is the most distrusted profession to do business with”. Of all the people to do business with, consumers would rather do business with Used Car Salesmen and Politicians than with Roofing Contractors. We are not a trusted bunch. That doesn’t mean all of the apples on the tree are bad, it just means that we have to be careful to build trust with customers so we don’t have that problem. What does your gut say? Men…how many times has your wife told you not to do something and you did it anyway? If you were wrong you may have never lived it down. Women just have this intuition many times that we don’t have as much. If your gut says I am not sure about them then move on. It will save you a ton of second guessing yourself after a project has gone poorly.
Now you have some good roofer bad roofer decision making ammunition. I hope that you are able to make a wise decision on who to spend your money with, especially with the average cost of new roofs in the $7k-$9k range. Good luck with your search and here’s to a great re-roofing project.