Choosing a Buffalo NY Roofing Contractor

When choosing a Buffalo NY roofing contractor, the process involves much more than accepting quotes and looking for the lowest pricing. Homeowners must take time to go through bids carefully so that any questions and options may be discussed prior to making a final decision. Roofing estimates in Buffalo NY vary based on the company’s ownership, number of employees and quality of equipment. You need to have direct access to all parties involved in the project – the owner, salesperson and roofing team. When interviewing potential roofing contractors, the potential candidates should have expertise in the field and be knowledgeable about what needs to be completed for your job. Comparing the scope of contractor’s experience on previous jobs will help you determine if they are the right fit for your own project.

Part of the selection process should also include verifying details about the roofing company’s business history including location address, the number of years in business and previous customer reviews. Local companies offer convenience and an advantage over roofers outside of the Buffalo NY area mainly because they are close by should you need any assistance during the course of the project.

Do Buffalo Roofers Need Insurance?

When accepting bids from potential roofers, you may find that some quotes are much cheaper than others. One item to look for on these low bids is contractor insurance. Uninsured roofers may offer lower costs upfront because they do not pay insurance premiums. But, in the event of an accident, you are responsible for the cost of any injuries that occur on your property unless the roofer provides proof of liability insurance prior to commencing work. Always request an insurance certificate from any roofing contractor you consider. The certificate will detail the company’s coverage for general liability and workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers’ compensation or disability insurance coverage is also a necessity since roofing employees will be working on your property. Employee injuries are also your responsibility if the roofing company is not insured. Evaluate the situation carefully. Companies without insurance probably do not offer work guarantees, which could potentially result in higher overall costs if you have to hire a new roofing company to correct or finish a project from an uninsured roofer.

Licensing for Roofing Companies

City of Buffalo ordinances require that companies doing construction work or home improvement must have a city contractor license. Without this license, a Buffalo roofing contractor is subject to being charged with a misdemeanor, fines up to $1,000 and/or up to 60 days in jail. The Construction Board only meets once a month so all applications for a contractor license are reviewed at that meeting. In order to obtain a roofing contractor’s license from the city, applicants must submit proof of liability insurance and workers comp (if there are employees).

Workmanship Guarantees and Warranties

Quality Buffalo NY roofing contractors typically offer workmanship warranties or guarantees to their clients. A majority of these warranties provide a 1 year guarantee from date of job completion. Reputable roofers stand behind their work by offering guarantees for the quality of their work. When checking references of roofing companies under consideration, ask past customers questions to determine how the company deals with clients:

  • Was work completed on schedule?
  • How did roofing company handle information or change requests?
  • Did roofer handle concerns promptly?
  • Would you rate the company as “trustworthy” and “reliable?”

In addition to roofing company workmanship guarantees, the manufacturer of the roofing materials used in the project also provide guarantees to protect from defects. Request written copies of both the roofing work guarantee and shingle/tile manufacturer warranty. In some situations, roofing professionals are also certified in the use of roofing manufacturer products so they will have expertise and skill in using and installing roofing products.

How Many Years Has the Roofing Contractor Been in Business?

Generally, the longer the company has been working, the better. For those roofing services in Buffalo without multiple years of experience, good references can be a helpful resource to know how the company performs on the job. Check references thoroughly to ensure that you are working with a reputable roofer.

Does the Roofing Company Offer References and a Portfolio of Work?

When consulting a roofing company, ask for customer references and a work portfolio. Many roofers provide pictures of completed roofing jobs so you can see visuals of their actual work. Roofing contractors also usually have a customer reference list so that you can contact past clients about their personal experience with the contractor.

Did You Receive a Written Proposal?

Prospective clients appreciate product examples and pricing. A written proposal confirms that the Buffalo roofing contractor is serious about the services the company provides. Proposals will usually include several product brand choices, prices and services. Most contractors will also include samples and literature about the roofing materials. Written estimates and proposals usually also offer the terms of any warranty or guarantee of workmanship offered by both the roofer and manufacturer.

Does the Roofing Company Deal with Complaints Professionally?

Although you don’t want to have any issues with your roofing project, problems sometimes arise. It is important to understand how the prospective roofer handles issues or complaints. Besides reviewing customer referrals, you may also ask the roofing contractor about any past court cases or license suspensions. Check with the Better Business Bureau and Contractor’s Bureau to learn about any customer complaint on file. Most importantly, find out how the roofer handles dispute resolution.

Reviewing Contracts and Property Condition

The contract is the most important document in the roofer-client relationship. Read the entire contract before signing and accepting the proposal. All terms should be clearly spelled out in writing and include a work schedule and payment method. Before signing the document, you must thoroughly understand it so that you avoid future misinterpretation or confusion.
Payment schedules usually include an upfront deposit with incremental payments during the course of the work. The final payment is usually released after the client is satisfied with the finished project. When reviewing a completed roofing project, make sure the manufacturer installation guidelines for ventilation, fastening, low slope and ice dam protection were all followed.

Local Building Permits

Erie County requires that all construction projects have a building permit. Although contractors usually apply for a permit, it is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that the permit is obtained prior to work commencing. When reviewing the proposal, make sure that all permitting costs are included in the price quote.

Roofing Product Selection

In the roofing company proposal, they will use include a selection of shingles, brands or manufacturers. Besides offering color choices, textures and styles, did the roofing professional discuss UV ratings, installation procedures and reinforcement? Was the manufacturer warranty for the roofing shingle products available, and did roofing company discuss differences in materials?

Roofing Project Schedules

When you receive your contract, you’ll often find a project schedule attached. Weather often plays a role in changing the actual start and completion times for your project; however, it is always wise to include a “no later than” clause so that the project will not be delayed past a certain time in the future.

What the Roofer Needs to Know about Your Project

Most importantly, you want to make sure the roofer in Buffalo knows you want the best value for your budget. Offer information about how you found the company. As much as you want a reliable, quality roofer, companies also want good clients. A good interview allows both parties to understand if they will work well together while it also highlights potential issues that might be a warning sign. Communication is always key to all parties understanding each other and the project being completed to everyone’s satisfaction.

Buffalo NY and Erie County Roofing Information

If you need additional assistance in choosing a Buffalo roofing contractor, check with trade associations or the Better Business Bureau for referrals. Erie County and City of Buffalo zoning authorities also provide information about required permitting as well as contractor referral lists.