5 Tips on Choosing a Roofer in Grand Rapids
June 7, 2014
The average homeowner buys a new roof just once in their lifetime. It’s uncharted territory for many and also one of the most important decisions you’ll make with your home. Below are 5 tips to consider when choosing a Grand Rapids roofer.
- Choosing the right Grand Rapids roofer usually means not choosing the lowest bid – most of the time. Occasionally the better roofing contractor does have the lowest price, but it’s really the exception to the rule. There’s a reason why cheap companies are cheap. They may be just starting out. To make up for shortfalls, it’s tempting to take shortcuts (like neglecting rotted wood). A cheaper roofer may use inferior roofing materials, have a lower quality of work, not pay their workers enough, or ask for more money when the job’s under way. The novice is learning at your expense. Though everybody has to start somewhere, you don’t need to feel guilty for not being the guinea pig. This is too important of a job to not hire the best! A roofing trade journal says this: “Chances are, unless there’s a really big price discrepancy, for a quality roof with the least amount of headache, your best bet is to go with the highest bid. More than likely, that’s the roofing company that bid enough in to reflect the real cost of the job.” Rest assured though, a good roofing company is very aware of how important price is, and is trying hard to get you the best possible deal. Prices for a new roof can vary a lot, but generally the reputable and established Grand Rapids roofing companies are all in about the same range. Good roofing companies know they have to be competitive to stay in business. But they want the job done right – their reputation follows them. City permits (so your job won’t get shut down), proper training, safety measures, equipment maintenance and insurance – they all cost money. And how do you put a price on worker loyalty and years of shared wisdom and experience?
- Use a Grand Rapids roofer that’s local. A quality roofer that lives in, and is familiar with your area, will get the right permits. They’ll be familiar with local roofing installation codes and procedures, including homeowner association regulations. And they’ll also know about local trends in roof styles and products, and building materials in general. Also, a good Grand Rapids roofing company will have strong affiliations with local suppliers and insurance agents which means faster and better service – priceless when a ravaging storm blows through. And of course, a longstanding, local roofer will still be around to honor their warranty.
- A good relationship with suppliers and vendors is a common trait with good roofing companies. See who they do business with, and how long they’ve been doing it. These vendors will usually be wholesalers, as opposed to retailers like Lowe’s or Home Depot. Some homeowners call up roofing suppliers to get a recommendation for a roofer. But you can also call them to further evaluate and substantiate a roofer you may already have in mind. Well-established roofing companies usually go back a good ways with most of their suppliers, with long-term friendships that transcend traditional business protocol. These relationships are invaluable when you’re in a pinch and need a favor.
- Say no to roofing companies with bad phone manners. You’ve probably heard that whoever answers the phone is a reflection on the company, and it’s usually true. It’s an indicator sometimes of how your roofing project will go. A good company isn’t a drag to work for, and they care about phone etiquette. If your call is an inconvenience to them it’s time to move on. When you contact the roofing company don’t be surprised if they ask a lot of questions. (That’s another good sign!) Tell them your concerns and whatever’s on your mind. The more info you provide the better they can assist you. Don’t worry about asking stupid questions (there’s no such thing with a good company).
- A good roofing company will be happy to help you out whether your project is large or small. They’ve been in business long enough to appreciate the fact that every job, even the smallest repair, is important. And a really good roofing company is usually genuinely interested in helping you getting your problem solved – whether it’s offering some free advice over the phone or pointing you in the right direction. Roofers who’ve been around a long time have seen over and over that everything they do could lead to something bigger down the road.