I recently received a subpoena to appear as an expert witness in a civil litigation involving a roofing contract that went wrong. While the details of the case are under a confidentiality agreement, I wanted to take the opportunity to educate our audience as to things they can do to avoid this scenario. Here are some basic things you should do when hiring and working with any contractor.
One of the best ways to determine the legitimacy of a business in this day and age is through online research. A Google search on a company name will reveal a lot, especially if coupled with the words “complaint” or “scam”. Red flags online should be something your contractor can easily and fully explain. If not, you may be better off with another contractor.
New regulations in the state of Oklahoma require roofing contractors providing their service within the state file for a registration number. This is to ensure that the individuals providing the service can be found in cases of fraud and where mediation or other steps need to be taken due to inadequate services. In addition, check the number with the office, which is listed on the certificate to insure that it is legitimate.
Especially in today’s economy, more and more voices are being raised for keeping business local. In the roofing trade, this is not just being a good neighbor, it is protecting your assets. Many times companies from out of state will sweep into a storm damaged area from out of state. Check with your local chamber of commerce to see if the roofer in question is a member, a sure sign of a company that intends to be around for the long haul.
Anyone who writes a check for a multi-thousand dollar roof installation without a written contract should be aware that no roofer worth their salt will work without one. A handshake, and mutual trust are good things, but they should be accompanied by a written agreement detailing the work to be done. It is not only for your protection as a home owner, but the contractor’s as well. It describes his responsibilities and outlines the terms for receiving final payment.
Be sure to keep track of what is done. You should keep copies of any paper work pertaining to the project to create a complete history of the job. This will help to mediate bad situations, hopefully avoiding court, and will be useful in insurance work and warranty claims as well.
You can never guaranty that a situation won’t end in court, but a little homework on your part will reduce the likelihood. Besides, if the roofer does a good job, you’ll want his contact information for the next time Oklahoma’s weather does a number on your roof!