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Question DetailsAsked on 9/11/2013

I found a roofer I really like, but some nagging red flags have developed. Should I be concerned?

I found him on Angies List, he has 18 excellent reviews, no negative reviews, 5 POH nominations. I've spoken with him on phone, thru email, & in person when he came to do estimate. REALLY liked him up to this point. The red flags: 1) his estimate seems reallly low compared to others. 2) He says he doesn't do formal contracts, that email is valid as a contract, which is how I got his estimate. When asked via email: 3) about his workmanship warranty, he wrote "I stand behind my work and will fix and resolve all problems associated with it." But he doesn't say how long. Others said 5 yr warranty. 4) about proof of insurance, "Until we have a business relationship you don't need a certificate of insurance from me but I will gladly provide this to you prior to starting your project." Others gave this with estimate. 5) about references, he gave me only 2 names with addresses. Others provided longer list with estimate. 6) He has no internet presence other than here, so no cross referencing.

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Sounds offhand like a good candidate at first glance. Sounds like you need to communicate with him a bit more - let me address your numbered items in same order:

1) if estimate seems low, ask how he can do it cheaper than hit competitors - do not give the other bids to him, but you can say he is about X percent lower than the others, and you are worried maybe he may not have included the full scope of work or same grade of materials (which should be in writing).

2) if the eMail has all the elements of a contract (who,what, where, when, price, payment terms, etc) and is SIGNED and dated by both parties then it becomes a contract - but everything critical to the scope of work and a contract has to be there. Remember - this is a 1-2 day job, not a total remodel, so the complexity level is less.

3) you are right - that statement is fine, but needs a specific warranty for what is covered, and a time limit on it - for wind blowoff or breakage of shingles and for leaks for two things in particular

4) he should be happy to give you this at time of "contract" signing - be sure to include the bonding, insurance, license requirements in the contract so if he does not get it to you in proper form then he is in breach - make it clear they all have to be in effect before work can start, and don't let his people on site without them

5) he only gave 2, but you did not ask for more - if you need more, ask him for them

6) HIS internet presence is irrelevant - that does not mean you cannot google for info on him - that sort of useful comment would not be on his website anyway if it was negative - you need to google his name and company name for complaints or comments or reviews

I would suggest sitting down with him and tell him you like his proposal but are not yet, as a homeowner not experienced in construction, at your needed comfort level with him yet, so you need to get a few final things cleared up and in writing. If he totally balks it might be a red flag, or might be he is old-school and not into legalese and such and just doesn't want to mess with contracts and all that.

Then - your call - it is not like there are not a lot of roofers out there, though 18 excellent and zero reviews either means he padded the reviews or has a lot of happy customers - hence the recommendations so you can go talk to REAL customers and look at the roof. It would take some work to pad 18 excellent reviews, because he would have had to set up 18 different eMaill accounts and 18 memberships at Angie's List, if the reviews were all from members.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


They don't call it "nagging" for nothing. If you have concerns nagging you, that is your gut saying something is not right. Why should I hire someone in order to find out their credentials. Credentials help to sell the contract. This guy sounds sketchy. And if his estimate seems too good to be true....remember it is ONLY an estimate.

Answered 6 years ago by BluButterfly


I've known a few "old school" guys that did good work and operated this way. They simply didn't want to handle the business side of their business and often neglected it. Some of them had been around long enough to still be working off of the old word-of-mouth system and others dwindled away as they failed to adopt new methods of advertising and contracting. This doesn't mean any of them did bad work. It simply meant they weren't businessmen. From a homeowner's point of view these guys can be cheaper and sometimes actually do better quality of work but you have to keep your guard up these days and watch everything they do closely. Make sure the flashing and underlayment is put on properly before being covered with singles or whatever you are putting on. Most homeowners don;t know what to look for. If you don't feel right about him either dig a little deeper or hire someone else. He my be great at what he does or he could be crooked and just have a bunch of family writing reviews for him. Until you check out or verify those reviews it's hard to say. You can also check with your licensing board (if there is one) to see if he has had any complaints and how long he has been licensed. If he has been in business for many years and you still can't find any complaints he's probably just set in his ways and still works on the handshake-and-a-smile system like it used to be. This could really go either way and you are right to be concerned. Dig a little deeper and have a candid conversation about it with him. See if he can explain his methods.

Answered 6 years ago by Todd's Home Services


Thank you all for taking time to answer. Much appreciated!

Answered 6 years ago by Guest_9915459

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