In the wake of Hurricane Irma and the final months to file a claim, a surge in demand for roof repair and replacement services has resulted in a flurry of brand new contractors rushing to obtain licenses and establish new businesses. With over 800,000 homeowners and counting filing hurricane-related damage claims, the market incentive to enter the business is clear.
Mailers are now offering homeowners a variety of incentives to have their roof inspected by multiple contractors. Although this isn’t bad news for homeowners, it’s still important to be mindful of who you select to repair your home.
Having more options is typically something to celebrate, discerning customers trying to find the right roofing company in a crowded market should keep in mind that using a newer contractor may come along with certain risks.
To get an accurate understanding of how long a contractor has been in business, it’s important to do your research. You can do so by looking up Florida contractor licensing information at the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations website for any company that you’re considering working with. There, you can find information like how long the company has been established in Florida and confirm whether the contractor has an active license.
Here are three reasons longevity of a company matters when selecting a contractor:
1. Experienced contractors will be intimately familiar with the Florida building codes that apply to roofing. Working with a newer contractor, however, may require on the job training, which will likely impact the timing and quality in restoring your home. Florida building codes are complex. They dictate everything from approved materials, to ventilation requirements and mandatory wind resistance levels. Each municipality may even have different requirements.
A contractor that knows the ins and outs of the roofing codes throughout the State will make sure that your roof is constructed according to those codes, and most importantly will install a roofing system that is designed to protect your home in the future if another hurricane impacts Southwestern Florida.
2. Another concern to look out for with newer companies are those who dance on the line of insurance fraud. Offering ways to cover your deductible or ways for you to make money from your claim are two ways the contractor could get you in trouble. Even homeowners who didn’t fully understand what they were getting themselves into could be putting themselves and their property at risk.
3. Additionally, if you use a newer company, you may not be able to count on the fact that they’ll stay in business or be around after the storm. That may not seem like a problem now, but you may need to call the contractor if something goes wrong and your warranty will be as worthless as the company that no longer exists.
In other words, choosing a less established company may mean that you’ll find yourself out of luck when it comes to addressing any future problems.
Instead, consider choosing a contractor that has been around long enough to weather business cycles before, during, and after major hurricanes. Not only will you be more confident that they’ll be around to help in the future, but they’re also more likely to be familiar with insurance regulations that will help make sure you get what you’re entitled to while playing by the rules. To be safe, choose a contractor that is experienced in dealing with the insurance restoration process, which at times is even more complicated and time consuming than replacing the roof.
American Building Contractors, for example, has been in business in since 1998 and in Florida since 2004 with offices in Naples and Deerfield Beach and has replaced over $100MM of roofs for homeowners resulting from hurricane damage. That also means that you can talk to satisfied customers about how their roof has held up over time.
Make the choice that leaves you confident that the roof over your head is safe and reliable, and ready to stand up to any test — after all, this is Florida.