How to Select a Contractor

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A Guide to Selecting a Commercial Roofing Contractor

The Information you need before selecting a contractor to repair or replace your roof

“If you think its expensive hiring a roofing contractor. Try hiring the wrong roofing contractor.”Anonymous

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

  1. Be certain that you are dealing with a licensed roofing contractor. Licensing is done both by the State of Florida and, in most cases by the county government. A state licensed contractor is licensed to work in any county in Florida. A county-licensed contractor is licensed to work in the county where he is performing the work.
  2. Chapter 455.28 of the Florida Statutes allows the Florida Department of Professional Regulation to request the Circuit Court to impose a civil penalty of $500 to $5,000 on individuals who aid and abet unlicensed construction contractors. They may also be liable for court costs. Aiding and abetting is defined by the Statute as anyone who employs an unlicensed contractor or company. Consumers who hire such a contractor face not only victimization by “shoddy” workmanship, or poor follow-up service and inferior products, they can also face difficulties with the law.

You are liable under Florida laws when contracting with a roofer who carries NO Worker’s Compensation Insurance.

Verify coverage by:

  1. Obtaining a certificate of insurance from the contractor (quality contractors welcome this request!). Call the insurance company to be sure that all required insurances are current.
  2. Check with your local building department, as insurance is a prerequisite of licensing.

A roofing contractor must also have general liability and automobile insurance. Ask to see certificates of insurance verifying the existence of insurance. Call the insurance company to be sure that the insurances are current.

You may receive a Notice to Owner, as this is a right under Florida Mechanicals Lien Law. Always request a full release lien from whom you receive this notice, prior to final payment to the contractor.

You must insist that the contractor apply for and obtain all required building permits from the building department concerned. Inspect the permits which are required to be posted on site. Fly-by-night operators who are not certified cannot obtain permits.

More Roofing Contractor Selection Tips

When it is time to select a roofing contractor, remember that all roofing contractors are not alike. A new roof is a big investment – take your time and make a smart decision, Use good common sense and follow these guidelines:

  1. Ask your friends and neighbors for the names of contractors that they have used and would recommend. The best referral is a satisfied customer.
  2. Look for a company with a proven track record, and a company that conducts business in a professional manner. Avoid hiring a fly-by-night roofer by making sure the contractors have permanent business addresses and phone numbers. Once you have three or four company names, call and ask them to come out and give you an estimate. Then do some detective work on each.
  3. Call the Better Business Bureau to find out if there are any complaints on file against the contractor.
  4. Request previous history of completed jobs from your prospective roofing contractor. Ask for some older jobs that the contractor has completed.
  5. Make sure the contractor carries general liability, worker’s compensation and automobile insurance. Ask for a certificate of insurance.
  6. Ask the contractor if he is licensed and have him show you his Municipal Contractor’s Occupational License. Be sure it covers the municipality that you want the work done in.
  7. Make sure the contractor offers a warranty for both the materials and the workmanship. At contract time, get it in writing.
  8. Get written estimates and make sure they are itemized enough to be able to compare them to each other. Get a detailed list of the materials to be used and payment methods. Beware of any request for unusually large sums of up front money before beginning work.
  9. Be wary of contractors with very low bids – they may have cut corners to make a profit. Remember, price is only one of the criteria for selecting a contractor.

IMPORTANT PROPERTY OWNERS: You are ultimately responsible under Florida’s Mechanic’s Lien Law for payment to material suppliers, subcontractors, and their laborers. Failure to comply with this law may result in your paying twice for the same work or loss of your building if resulting liens are foreclosed.