1. Make Sure Your Roofing Contractor Performs Quality Workmanship.
A good rule of thumb is to do business with a company who is an approved applicator of the manufacturer of the material that is required for the job. Roofing manufacturers have courses for the applicators to attend.
Also, ask how his/her roofing company monitors the trade’s workmanship. Training and monitoring of roofing applicators is very important. Ask to see their written quality control processes, how they are implemented, inspected, and reviewed post completion. Correct temperatures, material quantity, and substrate preparation are vital to any roof system you choose, and must be installed by trained personnel.
General Roofing Systems Canada maintains written quality control processes, has specific project path checks and balances in place, internal inspection procedures, and post completion reviews with management that were on site.
2. Check On-Time Completion Record and List of Repeat Customers.
Past performance is indicative of what you can expect on your roofing project. Get a list of repeat customers. Ask customers about the quality of the work, the attention they received after the sale, responsiveness to warranty issues, and how well they kept their commitments. Ask to see a record of on-time completions, if they have one. That will tell you a lot about how well they manage projects. Keep this in mind: fumes, odors, noise and general disruption of roofing means the fewer days that workers are on your roof, the better.
3. Review Employment Standards Policies.
How does the roofing contractor source their employees? Be sure the company has a written code of conduct. Look for trained, experienced crews rather than part-timers from unemployment corners. Task the contractor to provide the foreman’s professional profile – check in to the crew that will be doing the work. Our industry is known for having rough individuals and you don't want people on your property that will scare your tenants or people that just don’t care about the work they do.
We publish an Employee Handbook and it is reviewed regularly. When every employee starts work, they are orientated to the company codes of conduct, core values, safety procedures, etc. And prior to ever going to work, our employees are all rigorously screened, we hire on character first, then experience.
4. Read Written Warranties and Guarantees.
Make sure every proposal includes a written material warranty and labour guarantee. Most manufacturer warranties are most for improving their bottom line and are full of exclusions. Our workmanship guarantee is found here.
Check how long the company has been in business and more importantly how long the main crew managers have been at the roofing business. If the crew management has been at it for some time (decades) it will go well for you. It will be worth your while to know that the roofing company you hire has been around long enough to honour the warranties and guarantees it promised past customers but more importantly, that the roofing system is put down properly to begin with.
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS) is very specific about who we hire as crew leads. Our crew management must have years of successful experience on the roof.
5. Check Contract / Quotation Details - Beware of Hidden Charges.
It is very important to make sure that you get it in writing!
And more than that be sure the right roofers or roofing contractor is on your roof to begin with. This is the best way to prevent problems before they even begin (Our Purpose).
Have your roofing contractor guarantee completion within x-days of good weather with a stated start and end date. Be sure to get an unconditional lien release from all material suppliers and subcontractors or a statutory declaration before you pay in full.
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS) settles a lot of problems before they begin with a very strong Lifetime Workmanship Guarantee and well written quotations. We guarantee our work for the lifetime you own the building. What this has done is tasked our Roofers to be the best at what they do everyday – they do it right the first time or we lose everything. Also, in terms of manufacturer material warranties, we stand only on the best material made for roofing - we haven’t a choice considering our workmanship guarantee.
6. Support Staff is Critical: Management, Sales and Office Staff.
Be sure your roofing contractor has appropriate support staff – administratively and for customer service. Sales staff (if they have sales staff) need excellent training and should be trained and up to date on technologies, they need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the products they are representing. The sales people need to understand what are the best solutions for re-roofing or repairing your roof – not the best paying system for commissions. The very best roofing sales people are those who have been applicators themselves at one time or another.
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS) has clear customer service procedures - we call our system a “single point of contact.” In other words, from first point of contact, to quotation, to job progress, to invoicing, etc we have one person responsible to service each contract and be a sole point of contact for our customer. This alleviates a lot of problems, especially the “he said - she said” variety. Additionally, that one point contact service manager has administration and field personal to draw on for assistance as required.
7. Insurance Coverage - What to look for - Protect Yourself.
Besides WCB - Worker's Compensation insurance, your roofing contractor should carry General Liability insurance with a minimum general aggregate of $2 million with a policy that covers the tasks you’re your roofing contractor will be doing. Roofing is a dangerous trade and you want to be sure you are protected. If you are not sure what the policy covers - call the insurance company yourself - they will explain the policy to you. Ask your roofing contractor for Certificates of Insurance for both Worker's Compensation and General Liability insurance. You can also have the insurance companies name you as additional insured on the certificates (if the job is more than days in length). In case the roofing contractor goes out of business, you are protected. Don't allow the work to start until you have the certificates in hand.
8. Be Sure Your Contractor is Licensed, Insured, Certified, Has Many References, and has no Outstanding Complaints.
Roofing Accreditation is important to GRS. Investing in your roofing business and the roofers that work for you shows good, long term involvement. It goes a long way with roofing workmanship, gives employees pride in the company they work for, and gives customers assurance in your ability to service work for some time in the future.
Check with the Provincial Incorporation branches to check that they are incorporated, check city hall for a city business license, check Business Bureau's for any unsettled complaints, ask for insurance certificates, WCB registrations, and ask for roofing certifications - be sure their ability is in the Roofing Discipline required. Outstanding complaints are a red flag, especially old unresolved complaints. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) keeps record of unresolved complaints whether the company is a member or not. Insurance is for your protection, WCB is for your protection, and a City Business License shows good business practice by the roofing contractor.
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS) is Incorporated, Roofing Certified, holds a 5,000,000.00 Liability Insurance Policy, is Licensed, Registered with WCB, Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited, IsNetworld Registered, and has endless references for our customers to contact.
9. Low Bids - Are They a Good Thing?
Finally, we say unequivocally beware of the low bid. If there is more than a 15% - 20% disparity between the low bidder and the next lowest bid, ask the lowest bid company to review their paperwork for possible errors. If it looks too good to be true it most often is. There is a saying among roofing contractors on large or complex roofing projects, that whoever has made the biggest mistake is in line to get the job. If the roofing contractor that bid lowest stands by their unusually low quotation, they may be compromising on the tips outlined above – or leaving you exposed to material quality issues, unqualified installers, liability claims, liens against your property by subcontractors, and a warranty they will never be able to honor.
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