Given all the storms in north Texas, there are TONS of people calling themselves roofers. And given all the potential pitfalls with scammers, you may be wondering how you can ever be sure of finding an honest and trustworthy roofer. Rest assured, it is possible.
First, personal recommendations are always a good thing. If a few neighbors had their roofs done last year and had a good experience, that goes a long way. On the other hand, if someone came knocking on your door unsolicited, you should be very cautious. Get their information so you can investigate further before allowing them on your roof or talking with them further. Your insurance agent is also a good source of recommendations, as well as your real estate agent.
Next, check the business' website. If it looks well-done, that's a good sign. Plenty of information about the business should be visible. Things like a local phone number and local address are good signs. It's possible that the business doesn't show an address, and that's ok because roofing is a service that almost always takes place at your home, so many roofers just use their home as an office.
While on their website, look for other trust symbols, such as membership in the local chamber of commerce, industry associations, such as the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association or the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if they are accredited and if there are any outstanding complaints.
Another test of authenticity are online reviews, the kind on third party review sites such as Google, Yelp, Angie's List, and even Facebook. Check a few different sites to get a fuller picture of their reputation.
For some even deeper probing, get the contractor's insurance company and policy number. Call the insurance company to verify that the policy is active and covers the contractor and their workers. Lack of proper insurance is a MAJOR warning sign.
Get an estimate in writing, with a clear summary of the work, schedule, guarantees and payment schedules. Further, insist on a written contract with itemized details, and don't sign the contract if there are blanks. Be cautious when signing anything or paying any deposits.
Finally, it never hurts to get a second estimate from another contractor. The bids should not be drastically different, and large discrepancies are a sign that somethings is up with at least one of those estimates.