Asking for client references from shortlisted roofing contractors is a must for homeowners seeking to hire the most reliable and reputable professional in the industry. These client references are usually verbal in nature although many contractors can also provide written references from their past clients.
Regardless of the form, homeowners such as you must always check the client references provided by the contractors. Checking means carefully perusing the written references, calling the clients provided in the reference list, and then determining the reliability of the references. Keep in mind that the clients will have different opinions about the contractors so you must weigh the positive with the negative reviews before making your decision.
For example, if Client A asserts that the roofing contractor provides on-time delivery of the agreed services but may be remiss on customer service, you must decide whether you can accept both aspects. Your needs and wants in the contractor will obviously be different than other homeowners and compromises on certain aspects of the roofing services may be necessary.
To make it easier on yourself in regards to checking client references, here are a few red flags to look out for:
– Does the reference look or sound too good to be true? A client may sound too effusive instead of the typical “Yes, the roofing contractor is reliable in that he delivered on time and within budget.” You should know by now that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Perhaps, the client has vested interests such as a good friend or a business partner of the contractor. Objectivity is important here.
– Does the client answer your questions in a forthright manner? You should call the client on the reference list with a short set of questions regarding the contractor’s customer service, work timetable, materials used, and quality of work, among others. These questions should be open-ended so that the client can tell his experience hiring the contractor in his own words; close-ended questions tend to be disadvantageous because there are gray areas in, say, customer service and service delivery. When the client seems to be evasive, you should be concerned since he may have negative experiences with the contractor but for any number of reasons, he refuses to badmouth said professional.
The bottom line: Follow your gut instinct but dig deeper when you come across interesting opinions from the roofing contractor’s clients. Doing so will be to your advantage.