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The one thing we’ve noticed at our company is the surprising number of calls we receive calls from homeowners whom are desperate to repair or replace roofs that are too new to normally require emergency service.

Apparently, when obtaining bids for their roof replacements, many of the homeowners had opted to proceed with the lowest bidders.  While there isn’t anything wrong with hiring a cheap contractor, there is a risk that the installer may sacrifice quality in order to keep costs low.  We’ve received reports from homeowners that once their roofs began to fail, they had found that not only were they unable reach their contractors (because the company closed at the end of the busy season), which meant that their warranties on their new roofs were suddenly no longer executable, and they faced significant repair (or even full re-roofing) costs to undo the sub-par work.

So before moving ahead with a low bid, we recommend researching the company to ensure that they are legitimate (see our previous blog post on this topic, “A Few Important Things You Should Know When Comparing Quotes”) and selecting a contractor with a long operating history.  It goes without saying that cheap work is the most expensive of all.

The home improvement industry is highly competitive with many contractors to choose from.  Apart from the bottom line, here are a few things to pay attention to:

  • Due Diligence – There are a few things roofers are required to have in order to operate: a contractor’s license, bond, and insurance. Licenses can be checked on the Contractor’s State License Board (https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/onlineservices/CheckLicenseII/checklicense.aspx).  As for bond and insurance, don’t hesitate to request from any potential roofers for a copy of their insurance certificate, which will provide you with information pertaining to the validity of their insurance and their insurance provider information.
  • Warranty – One of the ways a contractor can stand out from the rest is by offering a competitive warranty. Typically, the industry standard in the Bay Area is 5 years warranty for workmanship, but we have heard of instances where a homeowner was offered anywhere from a 15 to 25 year warranty.  Don’t be fooled – such extended warranties are risky, and far too often, are offered by inexperienced contractors who cannot weather the challenges of running a company long enough to honor their warranty.
  • Deposit – California law requires that contractors accept no more than $1,000 or 10% of the estimated cost (whichever is less) as a deposit on a roofing project. If your contractor requests more than the maximum, be sure to bring this to the contractor’s attention and considering hiring someone else.

Keeping these tips in mind when comparing offers will help you choose a qualified roofer, as well as sparing you the problems and expense that arise when basing your hiring decision solely on the lowest bid.


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