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Old 03-10-2010, 01:30 AM   #1
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How to find a reputable roofer


I have a friend that is a magnet for unscrupulous contractors. Now he is having someone repair missing and broken tiles on his roof, a job that needs to be done.

Besides checking that they have the proper current license, what can he do to try to ensure that they will do a proper job? He is located in Lake Forest, CA and I have suggested that he at least call the building division to see if a permit is needed.

Thanks.

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Old 03-10-2010, 06:17 AM   #2
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How to find a reputable roofer


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I have a friend that is a magnet for unscrupulous contractors. Now he is having someone repair missing and broken tiles on his roof, a job that needs to be done.
Thanks.
Most such magnets are those looking for the deal and the quick temporary fix, not even the cheapest real, authentic bid. Not sure you can help your friend if this is the case and especially if the mindset applies to roofing or roof repair contractors.

You do not want to do a cattle call as suggested and ask for bids from 20 contractors that may or may not know about fixing a tile roof in the first place. Work with a smaller short list. Ask around or do some online research to see who knows about such things and works in your area. Asking a general contractor or watching for work on a similar roof is a great idea.

Check license and INSURANCE please and especially when it comes to roofers. I personally would add dirt cheap umbrella liability insurance to my homeowner policy before letting anybody step foot on my roof.

Run the name of top contenders through the BBB to see about complaints. Things like Angie's list scare me but why not see if one company turns up more than others I guess. The State licensing and attorney general offices may also have databases you can tap.

Word of mouth is still the best referral source. Or seeing a job done right in the neighborhood (although most people looking at a roof could not tell the difference). People will be flattered that you asked who did the work.

I would address why the tiles are cracking and falling off and be open to a larger problem possibility that cannot be handled with a patch and replace job though. Even tiles have a life expectancy. Or the added support under them may need to be looked at, replaced or strengthened?

Where I am, good roofing contractors will start getting extremely busy again really soon and will be dragging good crews with them. You have a longer season and one without rain in California but still... Be prepared to work around the schedule of a good roofing contractor unless it is an absolute emergency and crisis. One you call later this morning and can start this afternoon would make me think twice.

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Old 03-10-2010, 06:24 AM   #3
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How to find a reputable roofer


Quote:
Originally Posted by Klawman View Post
I have a friend that is a magnet for unscrupulous contractors. Now he is having someone repair missing and broken tiles on his roof, a job that needs to be done.

Besides checking that they have the proper current license, what can he do to try to ensure that they will do a proper job? He is located in Lake Forest, CA and I have suggested that he at least call the building division to see if a permit is needed.

Thanks.
Take a ride through your neighborhood and look for roofers working near by.
Ask Family, Friends, Co-workers, etc., about roofers they have used.
Get everything in writing, never pay 100% of what you owe until your satisfied with the work they did.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:49 AM   #4
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How to find a reputable roofer


Thanks guys. I think one of the most important things here would be not just getting but checking references. Unless someone is really bad, all you can usually find out from sources like the bbb is if there license is valid. The rest of your advice is good. One thing it made me think of is his estimate and if he actually got in the attic or on the roof. In short, is it real or just a number thrown out to hook the homeowner. Then he discovers all the real work needed. I will ask why so many tiles are missing from a couple of areas. As for rain, we have been getting some lately in sunny So CA, which probably prompted him to call a roofer. I think he may be PO at me for already suggesting that he check the guys references and license out. Hadn't thought of insurance. Before retiring I had a commercial situation where a sub turned out to have given the general forged proof of insurance, which was only discovered after the general was dragged into a construction defect case. I should have thought of contacting the insurance agent.

I also like the idea of holding back part of the payment until you have a few days to check that the work was done right. That leads to something I suggested to him, which was that he calls the city to see if this requires a permit. I know a lot of folk don't like the inspector getting involved, but my own experience is it is for the best and the guys at the Building Division are pretty helpful. They aren't supposed to, but if I drop buy at the right time they would probably clue me in if a particular roofer had a really bad rep. They can't tell you that, but it is the way they ask if you have checked him out with the BBB.

Thank you both.
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:41 PM   #5
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How to find a reputable roofer


A trip to the local roofing supply house may be what you need----Go in the early afternoon and ask who pays their bills on time!

The suppliers know who's a square shooter and who's a skunk. You will need to go when they aren't busy.


They usually will not give out names over the phone.

Do ask any one else in the neighborhood with a tile roof,that is a specialty,easy work for a tile roof guy--not so the the average roofer.--Mike--


The BBB is not a very useful tool--a big outfit will have a larger number of complaints than a one man show---

If you do 500 jobs in a year and get 3 complaints you will look worse than someone that does 4 jobs in a year and has only 1 complaint.
They have no system to take volume into account.

Last edited by oh'mike; 03-10-2010 at 06:47 PM. Reason: BBB
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:24 PM   #6
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How to find a reputable roofer


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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
A trip to the local roofing supply house may be what you need----Go in the early afternoon and ask who pays their bills on time!

The suppliers know who's a square shooter and who's a skunk. You will need to go when they aren't busy.


They usually will not give out names over the phone.

Do ask any one else in the neighborhood with a tile roof,that is a specialty,easy work for a tile roof guy--not so the the average roofer.--Mike--


The BBB is not a very useful tool--a big outfit will have a larger number of complaints than a one man show---

If you do 500 jobs in a year and get 3 complaints you will look worse than someone that does 4 jobs in a year and has only 1 complaint.
They have no system to take volume into account.
Sound good and I now how a good product can look terrible on a gripe site, as they only here from people who get a lemon and if you do a lot of product there is always a lemon.

Also, I spoke with the manager of the city building division as to when a permit is needed. It is a gray area, but not needed to replace a few tiles and needed if any sheeting needs replacement. Buddy canceled doing the job this weekend to give him time to check license and all. I think dropping buy the local roofing supply is a great idea. I will probably take a look at the scope of work and what preparing the estimate consisted of. If he got on the roof and lifted some tiles up or just did a walk around then the estimate isn't worth spit. If the scope of work includes something more than replacing a few shingles and hot mopping the sheeting, if that is the correct term, I want to see what if anything it says about pulling permits.

For what this guy has paid in the past for other substandard work, he should get a decent contractor. I think he learned the hard way.

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