Selecting a Rochester NY Roofing Contractor


Selecting a professional Rochester NY roofer it is much more in depth than simply collecting estimates and selecting the lowest price. Ideally you should set an hour or so aside, and go through each company’s estimate and ask questions and discuss all options. Rochester roofing companies vary depending on their size amount of employees, corporate or privately owned and other various factors. You should have direct contact with the owner, salesperson, or the person who’ll be performing your roofing work. The person you speak to should appear enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about their work. They should be prepared to talk to you about previous roofing jobs in comparison to your own.


Be sure to document the company’s complete address, you will need that to  investigate how long they’ve been in business, or whether they have had favorable or negative reviews about their roofing work.  Keep in mind it is advantageous to deal with a company locally, has a nearby office so they can attend to your needs quickly, opposed to someone out of your area.

Non-Insured vs Insured Roofers

Your roofing contractor should be able to provide you with a certificate of insurance. This will let you know if they carry general liability and workers’ comp should an accident arise. Proof of coverage is sent to you from the insurance company before they start working on your roof. Confirmation from the contractor simply just isn’t enough.

Workers’ compensation coverage is imperative in the case a worker suffers a personal injury while working on your property. You the homeowner could be held liable for all hospital bills and expenses, if you’ve chosen a roofing contractor that is not insured. Uninsured roofing contractors will be a cheaper, and their costs considerably less. This is due to avoiding large insurance premiums for their employed roofers. Other reasons contractors may not be fully insured include:

  •  Contractor is not a full-time employee
  • Self-employed roofing contractor or partner without employees
  • New roofing company employee(s)
  • Inability to pay insurance premiums because of high costs
  • No work guarantee

Only you can decide if you should hire a non insured roofer, but it is not recommended.

Licensed Roofer(s)

We don’t know of any towns in Monroe County that require roofing contractors to be licensed. Such a license indicates they may have been required to have taken a written exam.  But, most areas do require building or sometimes zoning permits with inspections.

Workmanship Policy of Roofing Company’s

The vast majority of workmanship warranties cover at least twelve full months upon the completion of the job. The length of the warranty is not as valuable as a roofer who stands behind their guarantee. You can find this information out by directly asking other customers:

  • Did the contractor perform their work in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Did the roofer react calmly to providing further information or changes?
  • Were concerns taken care of promptly by the company?
  • When rating them would you describe them as a “trustworthy” roofing company?

Manufacturers guarantee their specific roofing product or material from defects while individual roofers or roofing companies guarantee their workmanship. These two warranties cover the shingle roof system. A good roofer will be able to provide you with a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty. A select few roofing manufacturers offer programs to professional contractors. This displays their expertise, knowledge, and general overall competence in the installation and complete use of their products.

Has the Roofing Company you selected been in Business for at least a few years?

As a general rule, the longer one has been in business is usually better. Keep in mind everybody has to start somewhere. Good references are very helpful and vitally important from whomever you’re looking at to perform your roofing job. Be sure to check them out thoroughly.

Are the referrals good, do they appear enthusiastic when describing the work performed?

Ask for photographs of a completed roofing job, so you can see their work. If photos are not available ask for a list of recent customer’s names and numbers over the past few months for reference. Even if photos of previous work are provided, a few calls from the list as references are a good idea. Better yet ask the person being referred if you can take a look at the job yourself, you will get a lot more information if you’re lucky enough to talk with them in person.

Were you offered a Proposal?

Proposals offer the prospective client ideas and examples of the products to be used. By design, brand name, prices, as well as services. Some other provisions may be included. Expect around three product choices, quality ranging from good, better and best. Good consumer-friendly proposals should include product literature as well as samples. If problems occur with your roof, it will normally show itself very quickly. That is why the “near term” warranty offered by the contractor or manufacturer is much more important that the long-term warranty.

How does the Roofing Company Deal with Complaints?

How does your prospective contractor deal with problems?  When you ask for a customer referral list, request one from which a complaint arose. Did they lose a work-related court case and if they’ve had their contractor’s license suspended and why? The Better Business Bureau and licensing authorities can provide you with these answers. Test your contractor’s reputation by asking how a dispute was resolved.

You probably won’t get around to asking these questions until you’ve received an estimate or proposal. An estimate can be somewhat different from a proposal as outlined above and typically just offers one price, a generalized product description, one color and very few options. This is the more traditional way of doing business.

The Manufacturer’s Warranty

Be sure to inspect the premises prior to any work being done to ensure the condition of the property. Make sure that the terms and payment method and roofing work schedule, are written clearly and fully so as not to cause confusion or misinterpretation.

Ensure that all workmanship conforms to the manufacturer’s warranty and installation guidelines.  Including ventilation requirements, fastener requirements, ice dam protection, and low slope installation terms, as therefore specified in the shingle manufacturer’s literature or product packaging.

Be sure to thoroughly read the contract between you and your roofer. Larger roofing companies tend to have more detailed contracts making them harder to understand. Most misunderstandings that arise do so from contractual problems, as opposed to problems with the work itself.

Local Building Codes

Who will obtain the permit? Have inspections been planned? Will they be observed? Are permit costs included? What about provisions for posting zoning notices if needed?

Choice of Roofing Products

Were you offered a complete range of shingles of varying quality or by brand or manufacturer name? Were the shingles’ differences explained to you from an aesthetic and technical perspective, including   color differences, texture, style, UV ratings and reinforcement? Is the warranty for your choice of shingle clearly written and highlighted for you to understand?

The Schedule of Your Roofing Project

Weather can play a major part in the start and finish times of your roofing job, but this doesn’t mean you cannot negotiate a “no later than” clause. So long as both you and your roofer are clear on the terms and that you will enforce them while being very reasonable about the terms.

Be sure the contractor knows that you are not looking for the cheapest quote. You are looking for a company that will provide the best value. Always inform the contractor if you were referred, how you found them, especially if you’ve seen their work in your neighborhood. This shows the roofer that you have the potential to be a good client. The roofer is also looking for good work to make a reasonable profit and a good referral source. Believe it or not, there are unscrupulous homeowners out there, taking advantage of contractors by filing frivolous lawsuits. The interview process can highlight any potential warning signs. It is far better to deal with an informed customer who is thinking of contractor’s best interest, as well as their own.

Simply following these specific tips can help ensure a roofing contractor will want to take on your job.

More Rochester (Monroe County) Roofing Information

Feel free to get in touch or go online with your Western NY Better Business Bureau or roofing trade associations if you are seeking further help in selecting a roofing contractor. Always check with your town zoning authorities they may also provide you with further information about local roofing permits required or have referral list contractors.