Do Your Homework
The roofing industry is very competitive and has been known for dubious practices. Companies may go out of business after only a few years due to costs, poor business understanding and quality problems. Customers, employees and creditors are sometimes left with nothing when these companies fail. They often resurface under a new name and begin the cycle again.
Be aware of advertising and lawn signs that say “30 years of excellence” or “25 years’ experience.” Often this refers to collective experience (3 guys with 10 years’ experience each or experience in other areas). This may be deceitful since the company may have only opened recently. Ask when the company was established.
Companies that use subcontractors often do not do the work themselves. The company gives the subcontractor a set amount to do the job and they keep the rest of the money. The subcontractor may not have the proper equipment to do the job or be covered by liability insurance or the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). They may also do a job quickly and relax on some areas where they can hide lesser quality work.
A company may be able to show a WSIB certificate but if the workers are subcontractors, chances are the workers are not covered themselves with WSIB nor by the company that hired them. The subcontractors are likely being paid in cash. This practice keeps their costs down and results in a lower price to the customer, but opens up possibilities of poor quality installation and lawsuits in case of injury.
When you are looking for quotes, it is important to research what materials you need for your roof. Manufacturer websites, technical brochures and asking qualified people will help determine the roof you need. One quote may be vastly different from another if your quotes are pricing for different materials. Some quotes may not stipulate or intentionally hide the names of the shingle or ice & water shield to use lower quality, lower priced material.
Know what materials are going on your roof including the manufacturer of the shingles and the type of ice & water shield. If your contractor does not specify which type, then it is likely an inferior type at a much lower price. Ask for the options of higher quality shingles, ice & water shield, vents and drip edge metal along the eaves of your roof.