To find a good roofing contractor, look for three reputable companies in the area that have licenses and insurance. Then, ask each contractor to look at your house and submit a written bid. Also ask for their license number and proof of their liability and worker’s compensation insurance, and contact their insurance company and the state to verify their claims.
While saving money is important, never choose the lowest bid based on price alone. Small companies without a storefront or limited overhead can bid lower than other companies. However, they often do not offer the workmanship guarantee that an established company provides. An established company is also more likely to be in business during the five-year standard warranty that most companies provide.
Also find out if your written quote is an estimate or a bid. An estimate is the contractor's best guess for the cost of your new roof. A bid assures the homeowner that the contractor will complete the required roofing job for the stated price. Also find out the payment terms and if there is a guaranteed completion date, and make sure that the bid includes the cost of the cleanup.
When each contractor examines the roof, ask how she intends to address the roof vents and flashing. Most leaks occur in these areas and not on the actual roofing. Ask if she intends to tear off the entire roof or just add additional roofing. A good contractor knows how many layers of shingles are allowable under local building codes. If the roof already has three layers of shingles, most building codes require that the contractor remove all of the existing shingles and then apply the new materials.