(This post has been updated since it was originally published on 11/05/15.)
If you’re a property manager, building owner, facilities director or someone else who’s responsible for a commercial building, you know the relationships that you develop with your service providers can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your property in good shape.
Finding the right providers can be a challenge, however, including finding a good provider of roofing contractor services. If you don’t already have a roofing contractor you like, where do you start your search? Here are some suggestions:
- Look for an experienced commercial roofing professional instead of a generalist
- Make sure they use only well-trained, skilled technicians
- Hire a company that can back up its claims
- Do thorough research … and then follow your gut
1. Look for an experienced commercial roofing professional instead of a generalist
First and foremost, you want to use a reputable contractor that specializes in commercial roofs. They should have:
- Been in business at least 10 years
- Experience working on roofs like yours
- A program to regularly maintain your roof and provide you with reports and photos after each visit
- A system for alerting you to any existing and potential problems, and giving you options to remediate them
- The ability to advise you on short- and long-term roof planning so you can get the most from your roof asset
A regular maintenance crew or handyman won’t have the kind of experience needed to spot potential problems before they happen, find the source of roof leaks that aren’t obvious, and complete repairs that meet the requirements of your manufacturer warranty. While it might appear to be less costly to go that route, in the long run, you could be making problems worse. Reputable roofers go through years of training and have worked on hundreds if not thousands of roofs.
Replacing flashing, for example, needs to be done with precision or water will enter your property and possibly damage what’s inside it. Improper flashing techniques are the cause of one of the most common types of roof leaks.
2. Make sure they use only well-trained, skilled technicians
Safety is a big issue. Without the right training, the chance of injury is much higher. It can also increase your out-of-pocket costs and possibly your Workers Comp premiums as well.
Training on how to work on your specific type of roofing system is also important. The state of Georgia doesn’t offer vocational training for the roofing industry so each roofing company does its own training. How good is the training your roofing contractor provides? The more experienced the company, the more likely the training will be well done. That will be part of the reason the company is still in business.
Inexperienced and under-trained technicians can be confused about which tools and materials to use to do the job correctly, so they’ll guess or use whatever is handy. Professional roofing contractor services know what to use and will have what they need on the truck. And they’ll be able to diagnose and fix your problem because they’ve trained for it and done it dozens of other times before.
3. Hire a company that can back up its claims
Obviously picking just any roofing contractor service off the Internet isn’t the best approach — unfortunately, most contractors aren’t in it for the long haul. To find a roofing contractor you can trust, start by asking your business colleagues for recommendations. They may not have the same type of roof as you but it’s the best place to start. Then look at the membership lists of professional organizations such as National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and Building Owners and Managers Association of Georgia (BOMA).
Once you get some names, find out the basics:
- What is the physical address?
- Do they have the appropriate insurance?
- Do they use subcontractors for certain tasks?
- Who do they send to do repair work and what kind of warranty do they provide for it?
- Are they approved to do warranty work on the type of roofing system you have?
- How many roofing systems like yours have they installed?
If you might need to replace your roof in the next few years (and even if you don’t), it’s best to develop a relationship with a full-service roofing contractor who will be able to handle anything that comes up with your roof. Plus, a full-service contractor who has been working on your roof for years will have much better insight into your roofing system and the different options you can look at when it’s time to re-roof.
Whatever you do, don’t use an uninsured or unlicensed contractors. It’s too great a risk. Also, don’t use contractors who don’t have a physical street address or won’t provide warranties for their work. And while subcontracting is sometimes unavoidable, you want a company with full-time crews that have been properly vetted and trained.
Finally, on each website look for testimonials (the attribution should include first and last names) and customer lists or examples of work completed along with photos. Roofing contractors who do good work will have this information easily accessible to the public.
4. Do thorough research … and then follow your gut
Providers of roofing contractor services who are not willing to take the time to answer all of your questions are probably not your best choice. Reputable providers will value your business and be looking to develop a long-term relationship, which requires excellent service from the first interaction. So it’s best to do your homework and then trust your gut. If someone seems somewhat shady or like they’re trying to do a sales job on you, they probably are.
At Sentry Roof Services, our goal is to develop ongoing business relationships based on trust, skill, competency, and value and longevity. We have been providing repair, maintenance, re-roofing, and new construction services for more than 30 years and have had many of the same customers for decades. If you’re interested in an estimate, roof inspection or Sentry Roof Care annual maintenance program, feel free to give us a call. We’re always happy to talk with you and answer any questions.