6 Questions to Ask Your Roofing Professional

There are no foolish questions, and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.

~Charles Proteus Steinmetz

Owners and managers of commercial and industrial buildings have a lot of options when it comes to choosing partners to help them manage and maintain all aspects of their facilities. One of the key partners they need to select is someone with the knowledge and experience to properly manage their roof assets. A compromised roof system can lead to so many other problems that costs can multiply very quickly.

Once you have a feel for the types of roof management services available, you can set about the business of choosing the particular partner that’s right for you and your organization. But how do you find them? And once you find them, how do you know you’ve chosen the right partner?

Key Questions for Your Roofing Partner

1. What type of knowledge and experience do you have in the roof management field?

Unfortunately, some of the people offering roof management services out there are better at selling than roofing. They are trained to make the sale rather than serve the customer. Asking some general questions about how long they have been in the business can be very informative.

Getting a little more specific can be even more illuminating. Don’t be afraid to ask your potential partner whether or not they’ve managed a project similar to yours in the past. What challenges have they faced on other projects and how have they overcome them? How willing are they to do the work necessary to really investigate your leak or other roofing concerns in order to find the right solution for your unique situation?

2. How do you manage cost control on projects?

Poorly planned roofing projects often lead to unexpected add-on costs for the customer. While there are sometimes legitimate surprises when crews begin to tear off an existing roof, proper pre-construction due diligence can eliminate some of these. An experienced roof consultant knows what to look for and saves you money and headaches in the process.

3. Who is issuing the warranty?

It’s imperative that customers understand whom to call if something should go wrong with their roof in the future. Who is accountable for the cost of repairs and under what circumstances? Will it be the materials manufacturer, the contractor, or the roof consultant? Clearing this up ahead of time can help you avoid the finger-pointing circles that are all too common in this industry. It’s also important to note that most warranties require regular maintenance in order to remain valid, so make sure you understand what’s required of your organization in advance.

4. Can you share some references?

Any experienced roofing professional will be able to provide you with at least 3 references you can contact. Try to get references to people or companies with roofing requirements that are similar to yours. An inability or unwillingness to provide references is a red flag and a good signal that you should probably move on to another candidate. Of course, it’s a great idea to actually call these references, and even better, to actually visit the referenced project(s). Find out how past projects went, how the candidate handled any problems, and whether they’re still using their services.

5. Does your company carry errors and omissions insurance?

Error and omissions insurance is carried by many service professionals to ensure that they can bear the cost of any claims of negligence. In addition to reassuring customers that they have recourse in the case of a roofing professional who does not deliver the products or services specified, it also provides them with some peace of mind regarding the financial stability of the firm.

6. How are you paid?

This is perhaps the question customers are most squeamish about asking directly. But aside from the knowledge/experience answer, it’s probably the most important one of all. The manner in which your roof management partner is paid will determine their motivation.

If you’re working with a manufacturer’s sales representative, they are being paid a percentage of the materials cost. So it’s in their  best interest to include as much of their own materials as possible in the specification. If you are using a roofing contractor without any objective third party to hold them to account, they may choose the cheapest (as opposed to the best) system for your project in order to win the work . Once the job begins, you have no way of monitoring the contractor’s work to ensure they are delivering what they promised.

If you are working with an independent roof consultant, they are paid to look after your interests. They will take responsibility for choosing the correct system, inviting reputable contractors to bid on the installation, conducting quality assurance inspections as the project progresses, and performing a final inspection to ensure that all outstanding items have been completed.

Some customers may feel awkward asking so many questions, but a true professional won’t mind answering them. After all, it’s your money. You trust your roofs to protect all of your assets. Why trust just anyone to protect your roofs?

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