Finding and hiring a professional contractor can be a difficult task. However, using this checklist you can help ensure you are hiring a local and professional contractor.
1. Commercial General Liability
What would happen if your contractor damaged your car or worse you? The fact is accidents can happen during the project and your only coverage would be the contractor’s liability insurance. Ask your contractor for a certificate of insurance and ensure it has at least 1 million dollar coverage.
2. Workers Compensation Insurance
If your contractors employees get hurt at your house, who is responsible? If your contractor is uninsured the burden will fall on you. Don’t take a chance! Be sure to also ask for a certificate of Workers Compensation Insurance
Oklahoma contractors are required to be licensed by the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board for residential and commercial roofing. It is illegal to perform work in Oklahoma without this license even if the contractor is licensed in other states. Check out Cib.Ok.Gov to check on your contractors license.
4. Are They an Oklahoma Corporation?
Also, you may check on the web at www.sos.ok.gov, click on “Search for a Registered Business” and type in the name of the business. Then click on the blue “Filing Number” link and look for the formation date. If you don’t have internet simply call the Oklahoma Secretary of State at 405-521-4138. Whether online or on the phone this is the easiest way to verify your contractor’s time in business.
5. Are They Local?
Hiring a local contractor is key to ensuring your contractor will be around to warrant their work. Make sure your contractor has an Oklahoma address and verify it is actually a real location and not an empty lot. Another tip is to look at the license plate of the salesman’s vehicle. Many “fly-by-night” contractor’s pretend to be local only to prey on families after a storm.
6. Check Supplier References
If a contractor fails to pay their supplier bill the burden will eventually fall on the homeowner. Check with local suppliers to ensure the contractor pays their bills and has a good credit history with the company. Below are some of the major OKC Metro suppliers:
ABC Supply 405-627-9348 Crossroads Roofing 405-528-7663 West End Roofing 405-688-0100
Gulf Eagle 405-917-1667 Spec Supply 405-832-1566 Southern Shingles 405-632-1250
7. Are They Certified?
Any roofer worth their salt will be backed by a trusted and well known material manufacture. This is a sign of a company that has proven they are trustworthy, stable, and local. Below are some of the major manufacture representatives, give them a call to see if your contractor is certified.
Lance Donley Owens Corning (405)982-4355
Trevor Thomson CertainTeedCorp. (405)826-2994
Buck Curtis Gaco Western (405)465-6289
James Brooks GAF Material Corp. (405)205-1715
8. Do They Take Money Up Front?
Although many contractors will make you believe taking money up front on a contract is common, don’t fall for it! This is only common practice among “fly-by-night” and “stormchaser” companies. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to pay money up front to a contractor on a residential roofing project.
9. Check References
References are important, both from previous clients and online reviews. Be sure to ask you contractor for a list of clients you can talk to about their experience. The trick with references is to ask for local previous clients from at least 6 months prior. Any fly-by-night will not be able to produce local references that far back. In addition there are a wealth of resources online to research a contractor. Any contractor with little or no online reviews has probably not been in business long, do your research! Here are a few good sites to start with:
10. Better Business Bureau Accredited
The BBB of Oklahoma is a great way to legitimize a company. The BBB takes care to only give accreditation to local and legitimate businesses. Also the BBB tracks reviews of the business as well as complaints. To see if you contractor is accredited go to Bbb.org/oklahomacity