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5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Roofer

by Adrienne Z. Milligan

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It's the middle of the night and you wake up to dripping water on your face. Oh, no! The roof is leaking!

You grab a bucket to catch the water. Wide awake, you grab your cell phone (or tablet or laptop), and do a search for a local roofer.

Your imagination runs wild and you fear massive water damage. You need a roofer now.

Slow down and take the time now to ask these five questions. Protect your investment by knowing what to expect.

1. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

If a roofer cannot provide state license or other documentation, the roofer may not be an actual roofer. Fraud, scams, and incorrect work can happen. Protect yourself, your home, and your finances. You should do research before you hire a roofer. Most states have an online database of licensed professionals. State regulations vary so check what your state requires of roofing professionals.

2. Do you provide a written quote?

It is best to receive a written quote of anticipated work and cost. Some states may have laws requiring a written estimate to be given to you (and maybe signed by you) before work can be scheduled or started. A written estimate gives you the work to be done. Make sure the details of the work requested are listed, not just "leak repair." The written quote allows you to hold the company to what was offered in exchange for payment.

3. Do you require a deposit before work begins and which forms of payment do you accept?

Make sure you get a written receipt with company's information on it to prove you paid. Be sure to note your form of payment if the company does not. Check or credit card protect you the best as either option provides a paper trail. Ask if a deposit is required before work begins. Also ask if remainder of payment is due at time of service or if an invoice will be mailed.

4. Will you need access inside of the house?

If the answer is yes, be sure to have the time available to be home. If you are unable, you will need to have someone over the age of 18 home to allow inside access.

5. What's the company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website?

According to roofer and owner of Value Roofing in Tennessee, Brian Glasser said, "I wish they would ask if I'm a member of the BBB. This ensures that a roofer is a longstanding, valid member of the community."

Compare HELOC rates.

Even if your roof is not leaking, the five questions above are still good to ask for roof repairs or installation. Make the most of your roof by being prepared before work starts. Roof repairs or a new one can become costly and slow. Knowing what is to be done and how much you will be paying allows you to budget accordingly.

Are you planning on replacing your roof in the next one to five years? If yes, do some research today and ask the above five questions. Call three local roofers and let them know you want a price quote. Tell them you want a replacement quote, so you can budget for and pay for it in full. Once you have a ball park figure, you can begin setting funds aside. Do not go into debt for a new roof if you can save for it.

No matter the reason for hiring a roofer, asking these five questions can save you money and possible headaches in the long run.

Adrienne Z. Milligan is a Pacific Northwest native raising her four boys with her husband in Seattle's liquid sunshine. Her passion for gluten free living led to her co-authoring The Gluten-Free Way: My Way and blogging about the gluten free lifestyle on her blog,

Take the Next Step:

  • Most of us have to finance a repair such as a new roof. See if a HELOC is a smart option for financing this project.
  • Is installing a new roof a DIY project? Or should you hire a pro?
  • Home improvements can be costly. For many projects, we can help you save. Just visit the Home Improvement section of the Dollar Stretcher Library before you start that next project.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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