BEFORE HIRING A CONTRACTOR - READ THIS!!
Denver Metro is a storm area - hail and tornadoes that create thousands of insurance claims. Roofing companies will flood the area with salespeople to take this money. Many are honest, legitimate, local companies. Others are not.
Be an informed consumer. Ask questions and do some research before signing on the dotted line.
- How long has the salesperson worked for this company? Be wary of salespeople, many are recent out-of-state hires following major storms! Just as in many sectors, they will tell you what you want to hear and blur anything else. Salespeople only get their commission if they make the sale. Make sure you get a 'Yes' or 'No' answer to all your questions and that everything you discuss is specified in writing in the contract - after confirming that the salesperson is authorized by the company to make changes to their contract.
- Why do I have to sign up now? You don't. Avoid being pressured to sign on, even if it 'won't cost you anything'. It can be expensive in the long run - check 9News (
). Ask the salesperson to leave a copy of the contract for you to review at length as you research the company before signing.
- Is the business licensed in Colorado? Check online at the Colorado Secretary of State's Business Division (
http://www.sos.state.co.us/biz/BusinessEntityCriteriaExt.do). Look up the records to find out how long they have been licensed in Colorado and where they are located. You will find some new companies created shortly after the date of a major hail storm. Others are out-of-state companies that register as a foreign corporation, they are not committing to staying in Colorado.
- Is the business insured? Never take verbal assurances. Demand that your contract include a 'Certificate of Insurance' be issued, in your name, directly from their insurance company. This will verify the insurance is in force, its coverages and that it has been specified to your address.
- Will the business take out a building permit? They should! It should be in the same name as on your contract, using their local license and be posted on your home until final inspection. Visit your city building department and confirm the licensing, ask about the company's work record in the area. The inspector is your friend, he/she will ensure the work is done to local code.
- When will the work commence? Many large companies work extremely hard at selling contracts and planting lawn signs. They don't always have the crews to keep up the same pace or work. Get a reasonable estimate on start time. Remember that roofing is a weather-dependent service. High wind, extreme temperatures, and storms can delay schedules.
- Who is actually doing the work? Will there be a company supervisor or foreman on-site daily? Is a subcontractor being used? In some cities, even the subcontractor must be licensed and insured, check with your building department.
- Will work be done to local code? Codes can vary by city, make sure your contract specifies 'to code'. Some cities have special re-roof handouts to point out specific criteria they require. The building permit requires a final inspection before approval, many cities have the results available online to confirm it was completed. Due to the high volume of re-roofs after a major storm it can take several weeks for this inspection, call your building department and ask.
- What kind of shingles am I getting? Each manufacturer provides a variety of products from 3-Tab to Laminate to High Definition. Within each product, there are varying warranties from 20 - 40 years or more. Make sure your contract specifies the manufacturer, type and warranty period in years. Double-check when work is in progress that the shingle wrappers are what your contract specified.
- Will the work be done to manufacturer warranty? Each manufacturer provides directions for applying the shingles to meet their warranty. Not following their standard can void the warranty and mean a substandard roof.
- What is the workmanship warranty? Find out how long the contractor warrants the workmanship. Will they have a local office if issues come up? Remember, extreme weather damage does not generally fall under workmanship warranty.
- Isn't waiving my deductible insurance fraud? Yes, it is. You insurance agreement requires that you pay the deductible in full. Your insurance claim also specifies what work and supplies they are compensating you for, trading off for different work is also fraud. Upgrading to a better product is not fraud; some contractors offer a free upgrade while others negotiate the difference in cost.
- Why is the contractor's insurance invoice more than my insurance claim? Many insurance companies leave variables in your claim - cost of permit, dump fees, sales taxes, etc. These are valid additional costs and generally require receipts for the insurance company to review.
- Are there other expenses that the homeowner is responsible for? Make sure your contract specifies additional costs. A major expense is re-decking the roof. This may not be covered by insurance claims. There are 2 main reasons to re-deck: 1) Rotted decking due to roof failure or 2) 'Spaced decking' found in older houses does not provide a solid nailing surface and must be covered with an appropriate grade decking (make sure your contract specifies what they will use). Make sure your house really needs re-decking, some companies use this add-on to boost their profit.
- Can I cancel? Read the contract carefully before signing and ask. Some contracts have a substantial cancellation penalty. If materials have been delivered, there may be additional cost. Make sure cancellation terms are in the contract.