Your Better Business Bureau
Serving Northwest Florida is focusing on the industries that had the most
activity last year and plans to highlight one each month in 2010. BBB hopes to
proactively provide the information that so many consumers seek from BBB as the
leader in advancing marketplace trust.
This month, BBB focuses on roofing
contractors. As an industry, roofers received more inquiries than any other
industry in northwest Florida
in 2009. But unfortunately, they also ranked in the top 25 industries with
complaints filed as well.
To find a reputable roofing
contractor, BBB urges consumers to:
- Shop around. Obtain bids from several
contractors. Keep specifications identical by getting the weight per square for
composition shingles. This enables you to judge the quality of the materials –
the heavier the weight per square, the higher the quality.
- Verify the business’ true identity. Get a business card and the
physical location of the business. And beware “lookalike” businesses. New
businesses may use a name similar to a well-established business in the area to
take advantage of the reputation.
- Watch for scams. Beware of fly-by-night repair
businesses soliciting work in unmarked trucks and requiring advance payment.
And don’t succumb to high pressure techniques such as “the price is only good
- Do your homework. Check contractors’ BBB Reliability
Report free-of-charge by calling 800.729.9226 or starting with bbb.org. Ask the
business for references of recent jobs they’ve completed in the area. Ask
customers about their experience with the business, quality of work, time frame
it took to be completed and overall satisfaction. Verify that the business has
any and all required licensing. Ask for proof of both liability and workman’s
compensation insurance and call the insurance company to confirm the policy is
still active. If a worker is injured while doing work at your home and the
business doesn’t have workman’s compensation, the injured party could come to
you for compensation.
- Understand the contract. Before signing a contract with any
business, be sure you understand and agree to all terms. If the business makes
any promises verbally, be sure they are added to the written contract prior to
signing. Ask the business who will be making good on the warranty: them, or the
manufacturer of products. Keep a copy of the signed contract for your records.
- Know when to pay. Some contractors may require a
deposit before starting the work. However, as a general rule, consumers
shouldn’t pay more than 1/3 of the cost up front. The final payment shouldn’t
be made until after the job is complete and
passes any required inspections.
For additional information and
advice you can trust on hiring a contractor, start with bbb.org.