RoofingCalculator ranks the best roofing contractors - here’s how

Zeeshan Hyder

By Zeeshan Hyder

October 28, 2021

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Are you looking for a rigorous system to vet roofing contractors before you hire one for a job? We’ve got you covered! Read on to learn about RoofingCalculator’s method of rating roofing contractors.

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Why we developed this scoring system

As consumer advocates working in the roofing space, we often get asked the question: “How can I be sure I’m hiring the right contractor for the job?”

This is an excellent question. A lot hinges on your choice of contractor for the following three reasons:

  • It’s a big financial decision. The average new roof costs between $6,000 and $9,000. This is a substantial financial investment. As with any major purchase, it pays to do your research first.
  • Your roof protects your home. As the structure that protects both your family and your belongings from the elements, your roof is a critical component of your home.
  • A bad roof job carries serious risks. There are several major risks involved in hiring an unqualified company: fire hazards, roof leaks, mold growth, poor insulation, costly repairs, and possible early replacement.

Given the importance of finding a good roofing contractor, our primary mission at RoofingCalculator is to help you find the right one.

Find a roofing contractor near you.

Until now, this meant providing consumers in-depth, unbiased advice and information via our proprietary roof calculator as well as our blog. We also offer a platform for roofing contractor reviews, where verified customers can share feedback on their installation experience.

However, we’ve recently come to the realization that consumer reviews of roofing installations have some shortcomings. This is partly because reviews are provided right after the installation, which is far too early to assess if the roof will perform well over its expected life. Not only that, but reviews can become incentivized and often fake despite our best efforts to weed them out.

To address these problems, we’ve launched a major new initiative: a comprehensive, data-based system for scoring roofing contractors. Using our system, you can compare and choose between roofing contractors knowing that they’ve been assessed on a 13-point system.

This is the most rigorous assessment system in the industry, providing insight into a roofing company’s background, track record, financial strength, employee satisfaction, and more.

How the rating system works

We drew on decades of collective experience on the home to brainstorm all of the different factors that make for a good roofing contractor. We landed on 13 criteria that determine whether we would trust a roofing contractor to work on our own roofs.

Next, we developed measurable, data-based criteria to score roofing contractors on each factor.

Finally, we did the hard work of assessing hundreds of different roofing companies and assigning them a score in each individual category. We then total up the scores to assign an overall rating: Elite, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Average, or Poor.

If you hire an installer with an Elite or Excellent rating, you can be confident that you’re working with a professional company that has scored highly in all aspects of roofing installation. This will maximize your chances that the roofing job will meet or exceed your expectations.

So, what are the different categories we rated roofers on, and why do they matter? Let’s take a look at each one.

RoofingCalculator's 13-point rating system

Here are all the factors we score roofing contractors on:

10 points each:

1. How long have they been in business?

2. Do they have clean records and are they litigation-free?

3. Do they hold appropriate licenses and insurance?

4. Is the company profitable?

5. Do they have a high consumer review score?

6. Do they work with the best roofing products?

7. Do they offer competitive loan options?

5 points each:

8. Are they transparent with their prices and sales process?

9. Are they a local company with personalized service?

10. Are most - or better yet, all - tasks performed by in-house staff/crew?

11. Are they transparent about their reputation?

12. Are their prices responsible and sustainable?

13. Are their employees safe and happy?

1. How long have they been in business?

When you hire an experienced contractor who has survived in the business for many years, you will get someone who:

  • Knows how to work with all roofs and roofing materials
  • Has learned from experience how to avoid mistakes that will cause issues and follow-up repairs down the line
  • Has earned referrals from existing customers satisfied with their work
  • Understands the requirements of after-sales service and warranty claims

The knowledge and skills gained by performing hundreds (or thousands) of roofing jobs are simply impossible to gain by another means.

For us, this is probably the most important question to ask any roofing contractor you’re considering to work on your home.

Scoring: More experience equals more points

2. Do they have clean records and are they litigation-free?

You want a company where key personnel has a clean criminal background, and which has remained free from litigation.

The converse - a company that’s facing many lawsuits, or whose key personnel have been involved in scandals and spent time in prison - is a major red flag.

Scoring: Max points for the absence of lawsuits & criminal convictions

3. Do they hold appropriate licenses and insurance?

Roofing is dangerous, technical work, and lots can go wrong.

That is why it’s essential that your roofer has the right licenses that allow them to perform the work, and proper insurance coverage to protect them in case anything goes wrong.

A properly registered insurer will safeguard you from any legal liability in case of a workplace accident. If they’re properly insured, it also greatly reduces the chance that the company will be taken down by any claims or litigation; this is important because you want the company to be around for a long time to honor any warranty claims with your roof.

Scoring: Evidence of contractor’s license and level of insurance cover

4. Is the company profitable?

Some consumers question the importance of this point - if a company is making big profits it’s surely at the expense of the homeowner, right?

The thing is, earning a healthy profit is crucial for any business to survive and thrive. Think of companies whose products you like - Apple, for instance - and you will find that they are highly profitable.

The flipside is a company that is suffering losses – this should be a major red flag for you. A company that is losing money is much more likely to close down at some point; this is a major threat when you’re buying a product like roofs that come with warranties of between 25 and 30 years.

Scoring: Dollar amount of net profit over the last few years

5. Do they have high consumer review scores?

As any savvy consumer will know, online consumer reviews are a great way to gauge the quality of a company.

A review page filled with hundreds of 5-star reviews, it should go without saying, is a great sign.

Meanwhile, a company with no reviews, or mostly bad ones, should get your scam senses tingling.

We also take into consideration the reliability of the reviews we’re assessing. If we find that a company has artificially inflated its review scores by using fake reviews, we deduct points for that.

Scoring: Number of reviews, and average ratings on trustworthy reviews websites

6. Do they work with the best roofing products?

Roofing materials are designed to last a long time. If you install a cheaper option like asphalt shingles, you can expect them to last between 15 and 20 years. Meanwhile, with a pricey option like slate, you could get a roof that lasts as long as a century.

Given the long lives of roofing products, it’s essential that you work with quality products that will meet and exceed the lifespan promised by the manufacturer. Furthermore, the best roofing products are less likely to throw up faults and defects. In the event there is one, the contractor will offer hassle-free replacements.

Most importantly, the use of good-quality roofing materials will minimize the chances that you’ll need to prematurely replace your roof, saving you money in the long run.

Scoring: Highest points for contractors that exclusively work with the best brands

7. Do they offer competitive loan options?

Getting a new roof is expensive, costing anywhere between $5,840 and $54,020 for a typical home depending on the roofing material. This leads many homeowners to consider financing their purchase with a loan, which is an especially good idea now given historically low-interest rates.

Good roofing contractors will work with reputable lenders to offer loans at competitive loan options to their consumers. This means loan options with long durations, and lower interest rates.

Scoring: Higher points for longer repayment periods and lower interest rates

8. Are their prices and sales process transparent?

Ever had a vendor or contractor pressure you to agree to a purchase before they’ve even told you the final price?

This is an unscrupulous sales technique that unfortunately also exists in the roofing industry.

At RoofingCalculator, we’re dead set against the practice. That’s because the best way for consumers to receive a fair price is by getting bids from multiple contractors, which they can then use to negotiate, ask questions, and get the best deal.

This applies to all major products and services, but we think it’s especially important for big purchases such as a new roof.

Scoring: Highest points for companies that make their pricing information easily accessible.

9. Is the company local? Is it the right size?

We’ve consistently found that small-to-mid-sized companies that are locally-based have the most satisfied customers.

So why isn’t ‘bigger is better’ true for roofing contractors? It’s because smaller, local companies offer personalized service. They win business by establishing a strong reputation in their area and winning referral business from satisfied customers.

Big regional and national companies operate differently. They’re able to drum up business thanks to big marketing budgets and are much less invested in customer satisfaction or their image in the community. If you have any problems with your installation, chances are you’ll be stuck on hold trying to call a big corporate call center located far from where you live.

Based on the above, we always recommend consumers stick with smaller roofing contractors. That said, we also think it’s possible for a company to be too small – you don’t want a major job like a roofing installation conducted by one guy working all on his own.

Scoring: Max points for companies that fall within the ‘Goldilocks’ range of company offices and staff size.

10. Are most tasks performed in-house?

We strongly recommend working with roofing companies that are heavily reliant on external salespeople or subcontractors.

Take, for instance, a company that relies on third-party door-to-door salesmen. Such salesmen often have little understanding of a roof or the company that will perform the job. They only care about earning a commission on each sale and are often willing to make unrealistic promises that clinch the deal. Such incidents leave both roofer and consumer in a tough spot; the roofer is unable to perform the promised task, and the consumer is disappointed by not getting what they paid for.

Similarly, if the company uses third-party installation crews, you run the risk of dealing with unqualified workers, have misunderstood the brief, or don’t have the language skills to easily communicate with you.

These types of issues won’t arise if the salespeople and installation crews both work in the same office, and there is good communication between all of their staff.

Scoring: Proportion of tasks performed by company staff

11. Are they transparent about their reputation?

Which would you choose?

A. A company that is upfront about its track record and links to websites that host consumer reviews about it

B. A company that hides its reputation and reviews.

We think it’s pretty clear which option you, as a consumer, would prefer. Indeed, we here at RoofingCalculator place a high value on transparency in all aspects of the sales, installation, and after-sales process.

For this reason, we award points to companies that make it easy for consumers to find information about them.

Scoring: Contractor links to RoofingCalculator or other major review platforms

12. Do they have responsible prices?

Now, you may be thinking ‘the best price is always the lowest one.’ However, when it comes to roofing jobs, this doesn’t hold true.

While we agree that price gouging is unequivocally bad, we also believe that prices that are too low are also a bad thing.

How so? It’s because roof prices that are substantially below average are simply unsustainable. If you get offered a deal that is too good to be true, one of two things is happening: the company is slashing prices in a bid to stay afloat, meaning that their financial health is poor; or the company is selling cheap, sub-standard products, and they are likely to stop trading before warranty claims and claims for damages pile up.

As with company size, we recommend that consumers stick to a Goldilocks range of neither too high nor too low when it comes to roof pricing.

Scoring: Max points for prices within sustainable price range, with points cut for prices that are too low or too high.

13. Are their employees safe and happy?

This is a factor that is often overlooked when companies are assessed, but we think it’s an important one.

Roofing is dangerous work, and unfortunately, far too many workplace accidents are reported every year. As members of the roofing industry, we want to see employees that are kept safe and compensated appropriately for the technical work they’re doing. When this happens, the consumer benefits too: they’re less likely to face an incident at their house, and all the company staff members that they interact with are going to care more deeply about their jobs, and by extension their customers.

By the same token, a company that takes care of its employees is more likely to care about its customers too.

Safe and happy employees are a win for all involved.

Scoring: Employee reviews and number of safety incidents.

Put RoofingCalculator’s 13-point system to use

You now know how our roofing contractor rating system works. As we said in the beginning, it’s comprehensive - and if you’ve read this far, we’re sure you’ll agree.

You are now aware that there are many different aspects of a roofing company that can influence the quality of your roofing installation. Some readers may even be feeling overwhelmed after learning of all the different risks that come with a roofing job.

But worry not, that’s exactly why we came up with this scoring system. By assigning scores in each of the 13 different categories, and assigning an overall score, we’ve taken away the need for you to spend countless hours investigating a company’s background.

As a next step, we recommend that you get an estimate of how much a new roof for your home is likely to cost you. You can also choose to request quotes from highly-rated roofing contractors via our platform.

Happy roof shopping!

Get in touch with a local contractor today.

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