There’s so many exterior restoration contractors out there; how do you decide who’s right for your business? We caught up with Chris Walden, our Vice President of National Accounts, who shared 5 non-negotiables you should look for in a commercial roofing contractor.
No upfront payments
As a client, you should have full confidence that your contractor is able to fully fund your project to completion. Ask yourself, does that contractor have the ability to fund the entire project from beginning to end without taking any form of upfront payment?
“Usually, when a company needs money upfront, it’s to pay for materials. If that company doesn’t have a large credit line to cover that, they may not be able to afford to pay for labor,” says Walden. “Paying at the end of the project keeps the property owner in control of the project until the work is done. This is a sign of integrity and stability in that company.”
When it comes to giving clients peace of mind regarding funding, Walden tells his clients, “You don’t pay me a penny until you’re happy.”
Onsite project manager
Chris stresses the importance of having an onsite project manager.
“We have a single point of contact on the ground at all times so if there’s an issue or if something needs to be communicated, they’re not trying to get someone off the roof.”
Strategic safety plan
Does your potential roofing contractor understand the logistical needs of your job site? This affects navigating traffic flow and transporting materials. The contractor should have a plan to address factors that would keep everyone and everything around them safe.
In advance of starting a project, Aspen communicates with the general manager or maintenance supervisor.
“Aspen looks at the overhead map of the project and determine where we’ll start. We let them know what rows of parking need to be clear and put up caution flags and tape. We barricade the area around where we’re working until we’re complete with that part of the roof. It’s important for us to stay a day or two ahead of schedule in communicating safety maneuvers, so they have time to let residents, employees and customers know,” says Walden.
Simple communication like this ensures that you can run your business smoothly as you simultaneously have repairs done.
Instead of just sending out a crew to do work, Aspen has a dedicated project manager who manages the project from beginning to end.
Daily status reporting
Next, consider what kind of reporting is done on a day to day basis. How does the contractor keep the client informed? Important factors include where they’re at in the process, what work took place on each day, how much roofing was removed or installed and what’s left to complete? Aspen does all this and more. We provide two weather reports per day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We also provide a daily status report that lists a recap of that day’s onsite activities and projections of what we plan on accomplishing tomorrow.
Walden says that it’s also important for contractors to consider and report if there are any areas of the project that may require change orders. Though each project starts with an estimate based on the inspection, there are factors that can change that projection. For example, underneath the roofing material is the deck; its conditions can’t be determined until shingles are removed.
Walden recounts, “On a previous project in South Carolina, we came across 118 pieces of plywood that had to be replaced at $112/sheet. That was a pretty sizable change order that no one knew was coming. However, we didn’t uncover all that at the same time. It happened gradually as we went through the project. In our daily status reports, we reported the number of sheets of bad decking found, the price per sheet, and photos to accompany. We had a running change order for about two weeks that continued to grow based on how many pieces of bad decking we incurred each day. Without that kind of communication, the client would have been surprised with a large change order at the end of the project. We make clients aware as soon as we’re aware, so that it’s less of a blow when all is said and done.”
Getting the work done is just the first part; ensuring its sustainability is next. The industry standard is a 2-5 year warranty on labor. Aspen’s warranty covers labor for a lifetime. Our warranty lasts for however long the warranty on the material we’re installing on the roof lasts.
“We’ll be out there to make repairs for anything that happens with that roof that involves how it was installed by Aspen. This can also include defective material, material coming off the roof or water infiltration. Anything that incurred damage on the inside will be brought to preexisting condition at no additional expense to the owner.”
Now that you’re ready to choose your roofing contractor, check out the benefits of partnering with Aspen!