The Insurance Council of Texas estimates the hail storm that hit Tarrant County on March 17 will result in $600 million in auto and property claims.Over the coming weeks, Arlington residents may receive a knock on their door from roofing contractors offering to repair damaged shingles or replace the roof.Because choosing a roofing contractor can be a little overwhelming, the City of Arlington is offering these tips to hire the right company to work on your home.
- Search for a Contractor Business Registration with the City of Arlington – www.ArlingtonPermits.com. Roofing contractors need to be registered with the City of Arlington to acquire a building permit.
- Search the City of Arlington permit list to see the last time the contractor pulled a permit in the City.
- Ask the contractor for a written list of his/her three most recent projects with names, telephone numbers and addresses of the owners. Then verify. If they are Arlington addresses, you can verify the construction permit and contact info here. You can verify the owner’s name and address through the Tarrant County Appraisal District.
- If the roofing contractor is a member of the Better Business Bureau, you may be able to retrieve relevant information regarding their status and complaint history. Follow the link to the Better Business Bureau.
- Ask the contractor if they are pulling the appropriate permits for the job and if it will be inspected. If they say NO, it should be a RED FLAG. All roofing repairs greater than 10% of the roof surface REQUIRES a permit. If you are uncertain of the surface area or have questions, please call 817-459-6502 and the staff will gladly assist you.
- Get a written estimate from several registered roofing contractors. Be sure that the estimate includes all work to be done by the contractor, the materials involved, clean up, date of completion and the total cost.
- If the project is for repairing damage, check with your insurance company first to verify that your insurance will cover the repairs before you sign a contractor.
- Which roofing manufacturers are the contractor certified to install? Typically, you can go to the manufacturer’s website to see which roofing contractors are certified to install the respective roofing system.
- Ask for credit references from local suppliers. Call the suppliers and ensure the roofing contractor is in good standing.
- Verify contractors have current liability insurance to cover accidents and injuries that may occur while working at your home. Ensure that the coverage is effective throughout the project.
- Beware of alleged contractors who ask to be paid in cash or ask for large payments up front. A partial payment for materials, however, after they have been delivered to your home, is not unusual.
- Be wary of contractors soliciting business door-to-door. Check for a permanent place of business, telephone number and business license. Two common door-to-door scams, according to the Texas Attorney General, are:
- Knocks on door and states that he/she just completed work at your neighbor’s house, has leftover material and can do the job at a low price.
- Driving through the neighborhood and noticed something on your home that is in need of repair.
- In both cases, the contractor shows up uninvited. It should be a RED FLAG.
After you choose a contractor:
- Make sure your contractor obtains a permit and posts it on the front of the property.
- Have the contractor explain their project supervision and quality control procedures. Request the name of the person who will be in charge at your home, how many workers will be required and the estimated completion time.
- If the contractor request a final payment before all final inspections are completed and the permit placard has been signed by the appropriate inspectors, request that he/she obtains all final inspections prior to your final payment. However you must abide by your contract.
- Make sure your contractor provides you with releases of liens from his subcontractors and suppliers attesting that the contractor has paid all subcontractors and suppliers of materials for their services.
Before signing a contract, be certain your contract includes:
- The contractors name, street address, and telephone number.
- A precise description of the work to be completed, including a draw schedule and list of materials.
- Completion date, including cleanup after work is finished.
- All construction debris is removed by the contractor.
- Warranty agreements, including length, terms and recourse. Identify provisions that would void the warranty. Consider how long the contractor has been in business and where they are located.
- Read your contract carefully and personally fill in any blank spaces. Consider having an attorney review the contract.
- Any person you hire under contract (verbal or written) to perform construction on your property. Under local ordinances, they must be registered with the City of Arlington as a contractor.
- Anyone that asks you to obtain the building permit as an “owner/builder”, this may indicate that they themselves are not properly licensed to obtain the permit.
- The roofing contractor that offers to “take care of” or “eat” your insurance deductible. Talk directly to your insurance company to ensure that any “deal” is legitimate and not insurance fraud.
- People that claim that you will save quite a bit of money by not obtaining a permit. A permit will only lead to compliance with the appropriate building codes, these are only minimum requirements.