Voted the second-best place to live in the United States by Money magazine in 2006, Naperville is one of the most desirable Chicago suburbs. People love keeping things neat here and tend to take care of their properties. When the time comes to replace your roof, you definitely want to hire the best roofing company money can buy. While new roof installation can be expensive, at least homeowners in Naperville (as in most other places in Illinois) have many great roofing contractors to choose from.
So where do you start when you need a new roof in Naperville?
1. Start with the obvious.
Certain things are obvious regardless of what type of professionals you’re looking to hire. However, roofing is (literally) a risky business, so make sure you protect yourself from shoddy work or—even worse—potential litigation. Check that a roofing contractor has a legitimate office, is properly licensed, has required insurance, workers comp, and follows safety procedures. If you get wage answers to any of your questions or if you feel that a roofer is avoiding to provide answers, look elsewhere.
2. Google is your friend.
Before setting up a meeting with a roofing company, Google their name. You don’t need to worry about various keyword combinations nor should you spend three hours going through pages and pages of various results. Simply enter their name in the Google search and see what comes up. Nothing is a red flag; lots of negative results should mean a definitely ‘no’. Few companies have a squeaky clean online image (like ATJ’s Home Improvement at the moment) as it’s impossible to please everyone and mistakes or misunderstandings do happen. However, if negative comments and reviews clearly outnumber positive, stay away. While you at it, check their website and see when was the website updated (the date of the last post or any kind of addition). A roofing company doesn’t need a million-dollar website, but lack of activity shows they don’t care about their online image and they’re not interested in spending time to educate their prospects.
3. Ask for local references.
Get at least 3-5 local references of their recent work (completed within past 2 years). These should be properties within 35 miles of your home. The roofing contractor that you’re interviewing should be willing to give those references enthusiastically. Don’t be afraid to give the homeowners a call and schedule a short meeting with them so you can stop by and see their roof. Ask if they’re satisfied with their new roof and would they hire the same company again.
4. Get 3+ quotes.
We always get asked this question: how many quotes should I get? 3 is usually a recommended number. It also depends on how much time you have and how urgent your roofing project is. If you obtain too few quotes, you may not be getting the full picture; at the same time, if you ask for too many quotes (6+), you may start feeling overwhelmed (we see this happen all the time). Make sure that when you are seeking bids, you are asking all of the contractors to bid apples-to-apples. Each contractor should bid on exactly the same thing in order for you to have an accurate comparison of their bids.
5. Cheapest isn’t the best.
Running a legitimate roofing business in or around Naperville and providing good service is expensive. From insurance to materials to websites to training, running a business costs money. If you care about quality and craftsmanship, you should be prepared to pay a little more. Truly good roofers don’t usually engage in lengthy bidding wars. In addition, if everyone’s bids are considerably higher except of this one company, it’s a clear sign that the company is cutting some corners and doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
6. Obtain permits and comply with local ordinances and regulations.
It’s roofer’s responsibility to get all the required permits. This is one of the reasons why hiring local is so important. Your roofing contractor should be aware of all the local ordinances and make sure they obtain all the required permits.
7. Avoid hail damage scams.
If you’re looking to replace your Naperville home’s roof due to a recent hail, make sure you do enough research about hail damage scams. Avoid anyone who’s out-of-state, who offers to do a job at a significantly discounted price or who claims to have an “inside knowledge” on how insurance companies work and attempts to represent you in negotiations.
8. Get everything in writing.
This should have been under the “obvious”, but it’s so important that we’ve decided to list it as a separate item: get everything in writing. “Everything” does mean every single aspect. Make sure the contract clearly spells out roofer’s responsibilities, lists all the materials used, has a schedule and-most importantly-all the warranties and exceptions are included and clearly defined.
About Naperville, IL
Naperville is a suburb of Chicago, located in DuPage and Will counties in the State of Illinois. Naperville was voted the second-best place to live in the United States by Money magazine in 2006. In a 2010 study, Naperville was named the wealthiest city in the Midwest and eleventh in the nation with a population over 75,000. It was ranked among the nation’s safest cities by USAToday. The Naperville area is home to many popular retailers, restaurants and shopping centers. It’s an amazing place to live, raise a family and experience the best of this quintessential Midwestern town.
Photo credit: David Wilson.