Who are the Good Guys?

My friend, Ron West, has operated his roofing company, Ronald West Roofing, LLC (www.ronwestroofing.com) since 1991. Like myself and a handful of other friends, Ron’s a native of Central Florida. We all grew up and supported our families in the construction and building services industries, and we all learned about Quality and Best Practices a long time before they were corporate buzzwords.

In the weeks since Hurricane Irma swept through Central Florida I have been assisting Ron with an avalanche of calls for roof replacements and repairs. It’s a privilege to help people with a service they desperately need, and I am enjoying the creative dawn-to-dusk environment we live in to serve our customers.

Because I’m an industry participant now I am naturally inclined to listen more closely to every commercial I hear, or read more closely every article I see, about roofing.  What I find most interesting is how these articles and radio talk show infomercials go long on helping consumers steer clear of purported scammers (generally described using adjectives or business practices that somehow describe everyone EXCEPT themselves) but never address specific questions and answers that describe the basic elements of quality installations.

I have met a lot of people lately who are looking for a “good deal” on a new roof or repair.  If you are in that group then you might appreciate this short checklist to help ease uncertainty and simplify your decision-making process.  It will serve you well every time.

  1. Good estimators will spend enough time on and around your roof to accurately capture all costs necessary to do you a good job.  This is the first sign that you’re talking with a quality contractor.
  2. You should be presented with materials that are manufactured by name brand companies that have been around for a while; chances are they’ll be here if they need to honor their warranty;
  3. Work with contractors that are licensed and insured and who place supervisors on all jobs daily;
  4. Ask how the crews are managed and compensated.  Well-paid tradesmen possess greater skills; that’s why they make more.  Never hesitate to pay a fair price for great craftsmanship; the extra years of roof life will more than offset any nominal amount paid over lowest bids;
  5. Trust your gut.  Too many soft or evasive answers to your questions (and you should ask questions) should raise red flags.  Heed them!

I will be writing more about what I see over the coming weeks.  Next up will most likely be a piece on how the insurance industry is responding to insureds’ claims requests.  Until then, please feel free to contact me with your thoughts.