Choosing the Right Commercial Roofing Contractor: A Guide

commercial roofer

How to Choose the Right Commercial Roofing Contractor

Commercial remodeling is a multi-million dollar industry which means you’ll have too many options if you’re looking for a contractor. Due to the challenges and expenses associated with commercial roofing, you need a contractor who knows how to do all kinds of roofing projects, is dedicated to following building codes, and can effectively manage large projects.

With the market saturated with service providers, finding a contractor who checks all the boxes is like finding a needle in a haystack. So, to give you a hand, we put together this guide for choosing a commercial roofing contractor. We’ll talk about all the basics, including how to set your budget, find reliable contractors, and what questions you should ask.

1. Define Your Commercial Roofing Project Needs

Before sifting through a list of commercial roofing contractors, you should have a solid understanding of your project’s scope. This understanding will allow you to better communicate your needs and ensure that you hire a contractor who is well-equipped to handle your project.

Define Your Budget

Start by looking for any clear signs of damage or wear, like leaks or pooled water. Note these issues down. Next, go online to look up average costs for various commercial roofing projects, including material prices and project examples. Manufacturers websites, forums, and social media can offer insights into the pricing in your area. 

It’s crucial to know your roof’s square footage since most quotes depend on this measure for more precise estimations. Also, include a buffer of 10-20% to your budget for unexpected costs, so you’re prepared for the project’s entirety.

Understanding Your Roofing System Options

The commercial roofing industry offers a variety of systems, each with its unique benefits and considerations. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Metal Roofing: Known for its durability and longevity, with a lifespan of 40-70 years. Metal roofs are an excellent choice for resisting extreme weather conditions. Metal roofing is versatile, offering applications like hidden fastener, exposed fastener, and stamped metal roofing. 
  • EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer): A rubber roofing option that is durable, waterproof, and easy to install. Great for buildings requiring a flexible and long-lasting solution (up to 20 years).
  • TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin): Reflective and energy-efficient, TPO roofing is a favorite for businesses looking to reduce cooling costs in warmer climates. However, it can be vulnerable to punctures and high winds. TPO’s lifespan is up to 30 years.
  • Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles are known for being cost-effective, offering a variety of style and color options, and being relatively durable.

Assessing Your Building’s Requirements

To ensure that your roofing project aligns with your building’s needs, consider the following checklist:

  • Building Size: The size and complexity of your building will influence the choice of roofing system and the project’s scope.
  • Business Operation Details: If you’re a restaurant owner, mention how roofing work might affect your peak hours. Suggest possible work schedules that minimize disruption.
  • Existing Problems: Identify any current issues, such as leaks, insulation failures, or structural damage. Addressing these problems early can guide your contractor’s approach.
  • Access and Safety Concerns: Mention if there are challenges accessing the roof or if certain areas require special attention due to safety regulations, particularly if your business involves hazardous materials.
  • Aesthetic and Functional Requirements: Share any preferences or requirements for the roof’s appearance and functionality. For instance, if energy efficiency is a priority for your office building, specify this need.
  • Future Plans: Consider any future building modifications or expansions. Your new roof should accommodate these plans without requiring extensive modifications.
  • Regulatory Requirements: Be aware of any local codes or regulations that may affect your roofing choices, especially in historic districts or areas with specific environmental standards.
  • Local Climate: The local weather patterns play a crucial role in selecting the right roofing material. Heavy snow, high winds, or intense sun can dictate the best options for durability and performance.

 

2. Make a List of Potential Commercial Roofing Contractors

Alright, let’s get to the real deal: finding those contractors. You’ve got a clearer picture of what you’re after, so it’s time to start reaching out. But where do you even start looking? Online, offline? The answer is both! Here’s a quick rundown on how to kick off your search.

Online

For the online search, dive into platforms like Angi, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Google Reviews, and even Facebook groups and Reddit. They can be goldmines for recommendations and firsthand experiences from people in your ara. This helps you compile a list of credible candidates.

  • Angi (formerly Angie’s List), is a platform connecting service providers with users through verified reviews, allowing you to filter contractors based on ratings and feedback. 
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB) lists accredited businesses and complaints history, offering a reliability report on contractors. 
  • Google Reviews provides immediate customer feedback and ratings directly in search results, giving you a quick sense of a contractor’s reputation. You can go into Google Maps and look for nearby roofers, you’ll see the reviews there.
  • Local Facebook community groups are invaluable for personal recommendations and insights from nearby residents who’ve undertaken similar projects. 
  • Reddit is a forum where users share experiences and advice, often in dedicated threads for home improvement or specific locales. You can find unfiltered opinions, contractor recommendations, and even warnings about whom to avoid.
  • Also, consider contractors who partner with manufacturers, like TAMKO or CertainTeed. They have search tools on their websites allowing you to find local contractors certified to install their products by entering your zipcode. This ensures you’re hiring professionals trained and approved to work with high-quality roofing materials, giving you additional peace of mind about the craftsmanship and warranty support for your project.

Offline

  • Reaching out to business acquaintances and commercial property owners can provide real-world insights and recommendations based on their experiences.
  • For approaching neighboring businesses you’re not familiar with, a friendly comment on their premises or a mutual business interest can open a conversation about their roofing experiences.
  • Local hardware stores often have a network of professional contacts. Visiting these stores can connect you with contractors known for their reliability and quality work in the commercial sector.
  • Observing active roofing projects on similar commercial properties and discussing with the owners or managers can give you direct feedback on contractors’ performance and work ethic.
  • You can also find commercial roofing contractors by asking your friends and family for recommendations. Most of the time, someone in your personal network has either worked on a project like this before or knows someone reliable in the commercial roofing sector. These personal recommendations can add a level of trust and confidence that’s hard to get any other way.

 

3. Evaluate Contractor Credentials and Expertise

When evaluating a contractor’s qualifications, consider three key areas:

  • Licensing: This verifies that the contractor is authorized to perform roofing work in your area. It’s a legal requirement in many places and a sign of professionalism.
  • Insurance: Contractors should have liability insurance to protect against any accidental damage during the project, and workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries to their employees on your property.
  • Certifications: These indicate specialized training and expertise with certain roofing materials or methods. Certifications can come from manufacturers or industry associations.

For each, ask to see documentation and consider verifying their validity with issuing authorities. Additionally, assess their experience and success in similar projects by reviewing their portfolio, which can provide insights into their work quality and expertise.

4. Get Multiple Quotes

To effectively gather and compare quotes for your commercial roofing project, start by preparing a detailed project description. Include the roof’s size, current condition, desired materials, and any special requirements. When you reach out for quotes, provide this information to ensure each estimate is based on the same criteria.

Organize the quotes you receive by creating a comparison chart or spreadsheet. Note down each quote’s total cost, breakdown of expenses (materials, labor, etc.), proposed timeline, and warranty details.

Comparing quotes goes beyond just looking at the total price. Consider the quality of materials, the contractor’s experience, and the comprehensiveness of the services included. Pay attention to the warranty offered, as it can significantly impact the long-term value of the work.

5. Research Reputation and Reviews

Reading online reviews is crucial; while they don’t provide the whole story, they’re an invaluable reference. Reviews, especially how contractors handle negative feedback, offer insights into their problem-solving and customer service approach. 

For direct references, their importance cannot be overstated—they provide real-world feedback on the contractor’s work. When requesting references, be direct and specify you’re looking for recent project examples. If a contractor hesitates to provide references, it’s a red flag that may warrant reconsideration of their candidacy.

6. Questions You Should Ask

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the questions you should ask your contractor, but it’s a starting point.

  1. Are you licensed for commercial roofing in my area?
  2. Can you provide proof of insurance, including liability and workers’ compensation?
  3. How long have you been in the commercial roofing business?
  4. Can you provide references from previous commercial projects?
  5. How do you ensure project timelines are met?
  6. What warranty do you offer on materials and labor?
  7. How do you handle unexpected issues or delays?
  8. Are your workers employees or subcontractors?
  9. How do you ensure safety standards are met on site?
  10. What is your process for disposing of materials?
  11. Can you walk me through your project management process?
  12. How is communication handled throughout the project?
  13. Do you have experience with energy-efficient or green roofing options?
  14. How do you determine the quote, and what does it include?
  15. What are your payment terms and conditions?

 

7. Making Your Decision

After gathering all necessary information and evaluating your potential contractors, narrow down your list by considering factors like experience, reputation, and your personal interaction with them. Trust in this process is crucial. Choose a contractor who not only meets your technical needs but also one you feel comfortable and confident working with. For a successful project, you must trust and believe in your decision.

Why Chew Bittel is the Ideal Choice

Choosing the right commercial roofing contractor is an important decision that requires a lot of research and intuition. It’s about acting on your gut feeling while also paying attention to solid proof. There’s a lot at stake, so you must be comfortable with the person you hire.

Chew Bittel Associates Inc. is proof of what this guide talks about: how important experience, qualifications, and happy customers are. Our credentials speak for themselves, with more than a century of experience, we consistently have satisfied customers.