Ten Tips For Choosing a Roofing Contractor

One of the best ways to choose a roofing contractor is to speak with them over the phone or meet with them and ask them some questions. To locate a roofing contractor to contact you can ask friends and family for referrals or do a Google search as there are many great roofing directory sites that will provide a short list of roofers in your area. Its also worthwhile to check out the contractor’s own website as well.

Doing a little digging might seem time-consuming but what is even more time-consuming not to mention costly is to fix a botched roof job. So how should you select a roofing contractor? Tips for selecting a roofing contractor fall into three categories: the contractor’s qualifications, the contractor’s work, and the contractor’s past. Read the tips below.

Qualifications

First, do not hire a roofing contractor who is not licensed. However, just because a contractor is licensed does not necessarily mean the contractor is a committed professional who will do excellent work. You can tell more about a contractor’s commitment by seeing if the contractor is a member of a trade association and if the contractor has taken any continuing education training. If the contractor says yes, call the trade association and ask to see certificates of the continuing education.
Make sure they have a permanent business. When selecting a contractor, you need to be confident that the contractor will be able to complete the work they promised to do. One of the best ways to have this confidence is to select a contractor who can financially commit to finishing your project. The contractor should have a permanent phone number and address. Visit their business to see if they have the equipment and employees to complete your project successfully.
Ask if they have insurance coverage and how much. Just because they have insurance, it might not be very much coverage. Have the contractor show you a certificate of insurance. Contractors can get a certificate of their insurance that shows coverage dates and policy limits from their insurance carrier. Also ask if they have workers’ compensation coverage. Because property owners can be sued for accidents that occur on their property, it is very important that all contractors have workers’ compensation insurance.

The Contractor’s Workmanship

All contractors also need to have a safety plan so ask your potential contractor to provide you with one. Safety plans are important for making sure projects get completed and are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Find out how long the contractor’s warranty on work performed is. A typical time period is one year or longer. The length of the warranty doesn’t matter so much as whether the contractor plans to stand behind the warranty. Good contractors often will work beyond a written contract. Keep in mind that the manufacturer provides product warranties and often warranties are only valid if a contractor is “certified” to install the product. Be sure to talk to your contractor about following manufacturer specifications that are necessary for product warranty.
The contractor should thoroughly discuss your home improvement project with you. Areas to talk about with your contractor include the color and type of products you want to use, how to get a permit if necessary, what the daily clean-up procedure is, and how the work will be paid for.

Past Performance and Customer Service

Find out how long the contractor has been in business. Though a contractor in business for a year or two might do excellent work, it would be better to select a contractor who has been in business for at least five years. Often the longer a contractor has been in business, the more experience they have, which often means more choices and better workmanship for your roof.
Ask to see pictures of the contractor’s work and for references from past customers. Get this information on the contractor’s website or by calling previous customers and asking what they thought.
Many of the best contractors have had to handle complaints. Complaints are not necessarily bad, but the way a contractor has handled them can be. Ask the contractor how they have dealt with complaints in the past or call the Better Business Bureau to find out.

In addition to the above advice, another worthwhile tip for selecting a roofing contractor is to have three contractors you are considering submit three bids in writing. Having three bids in writing is useful to compare prices and products the contractors will use to complete the project. If one bid is significantly higher or lower than the others, this could be a red flag. Again, roofing directory sites can help streamline the process here, by putting you in contact with three roofing companies by filling out just one estimate request form.

Remember, what it all comes down to is what your instinct is telling you about the contractor. Even if the contractor manages to meet the above tips but something is telling you not to hire the contractor, don’t. With a home improvement job as important as repairing or replacing a roof, you need to hire a roofing contractor whom you feel very good about the work getting done.

Need a Painting Contractor? Should You Find One Yourself Or Use a Referral Service?

I suggest that you find your painting contractor on your own when living in the Chicago area. Do your own research instead of hoping that contractor referral service will help you. I’ll elaborate why I feel this way soon.

I would advise that you call a friend or relative who has recently had the interior or the exterior of their home painted by a professional painter. You can ask them how they felt about their experience. If they liked their painting contractor, they will let you know. They’ll also let you know if they didn’t. You should ask them how they felt about the painting company’s quality, price and service. Was the contractor attentive to their needs or not? Just keep in mind that you’re needs and wants will not be identical to your friend’s or relative’s. For example; was the painting contractor fully insured? Maybe your friend or relative didn’t care if they were or not. When I say fully insured, I don’t just mean a “liability insurance policy” that anyone can get for sometimes just a few hundred bucks a year. But, do they carry “workers compensation insurance” as well? Well, if they have even one employee, they are required to by law.

Another way to find a painter is to do an online search, open up your local yellow page directory or respond to a flyer that was hung on your door. Call the painters for a free estimate. I usually suggest getting three estimates. If you get too many more than that, then you’ll just drive yourself crazy.

If you decide to try to find a Chicago area painting contractor by using a painting contractor referral service, just remember one thing. Most of the “qualified, fully insured” painting contractors and many customers that I know, who have enrolled in these referral services have been disappointed and disillusioned with the results and have stopped using the contractor referral service altogether. So, what do you end up getting with a lead referral service? You may just get some of the “least qualified” contractors! Yes, you heard that right. And you thought that they were going to be the best, being screened for you and all! Caveat Emptor! Let the buyer beware!

Let me explain something. These contractor referral services claim to “screen” painting contractors. Yet, they seem to be “negligent at best”,when it comes to screening for workers compensation insurance”, one of the most fundamental and basic areas that is of extreme importance to any professional, legitimate painting company and more importantly to you, the customer that is hoping that the contractor referral service is “looking out for you”. Read on, I’m much more cynical than that. I don’t think it is “negligence” on the part of the contractor referral services. I think it’s more like “blatant disregard” for you, the customer. I truly believe, that the contractor referral services are banking on the fact that the average homeowner does not know the law; and then they use this to pull the wool over your eyes while basically implying to you the following. “Don’t worry Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner. We are looking out for you. We “pre-screened” these contractors for you!” I know. That does sound cynical of me doesn’t it? But, why do the contractor referral services fail to screen for such a “basic” thing as workers compensation insurance?

In Illinois, it is law, that when a painting contractor hires employees and has them working on your home, that those employees be covered by workers compensation insurance, just in case a painter gets hurt or dies while painting the interior or exterior of your home. Guess what. Painters do get hurt on jobs and more often than you might think. And serious injury for painters is actually quite common. And did you know that your homeowner’s insurance may NOT cover you if a painter gets hurt while painting your house.

In fairness to some of these contractors, if a painter is working for himself and by himself, he is not required to carry workers compensation insurance on himself, but once he has a worker on the job, it’s a new ball game. Even if the owner of the painting company excludes himself from his policy, he must still provide the workers compensation for his employee. Now, he’ll probably tell you that he’s paying him “as a subcontractor”. Well when somebody gets hurt on the job, somebody is going to still come looking for money from the workers compensation insurer. When they find out that there is no workers compensation insurance, then somebody is still going to pay. The painter that is injured will look to collect from whoever has the most money. I would bet that in most cases that means you, the homeowner.

If you don’t think that anyone could possibly get hurt on just this one little job for you, then I suggest you do a little research online. Just do a Google search for “house painting fatalities” or “house painting injuries”. It might shock you. People get hurt doing construction and home improvements all the time. You can even narrow down your search to the Chicago area. I don’t want to scare you, but you must open your eyes and see the world in which you live. Many times an unethical painter or other tradesman will even “fake” an injury, looking to milk a situation for a long time. Please don’t be naive enough to think that it won’t happen to you because you are nice person. Nice people are the “easiest” for people with no scruples to take advantage of. It happens all the time.

Maybe one contractor referral exists that screens for it, but I have personally NEVER seen a contractor referral service in the Chicago area screen painters for workers compensation insurance. I’ve only seen them screen for liability insurance, lawsuits or judgments and a few other things. They seem to be more concerned with the following: Joe Dokes in Winnetka says…..”Hank and his brother and law were such nice guys, not only did they do a nice job painting my living room, but they also walked my dog?”

I have come to the conclusion and it is just my opinion, that there is a reason why the contractor referral services do NOT screen painters for workers compensation insurance. They leave this “extremely” important screening for workers compensation insurance out of their “screening process” because if they actually did screen for this insurance, then they would lose about 90% of their revenue generating customers, which are the painting contractors that pay for your name. You are a hot lead. And the contractor referral service will sell your name, address and phone number to anywhere from 2 to 4, to maybe even more painters. They’ll collect money from these contractors whether you buy a paint job or not.

The reason the contractor referral service will NOT screen for workers compensation insurance is because over 90% of the painters that you attempt to hire from the referral service will NOT have this workers compensation insurance because it is too expensive, or they do not know that they are “required” to have their employees covered by it. I really don’t blame the painters. These are men and women who are just out there in the world trying to make a buck to support their families. They may in fact be innocent. There are a lot of laws out there. They just need to be educated and if the contractor referral service “really” had the contractor’s interest at heart, as well as you the homeowner, then they would tell the contractor that he should buy workers compensation insurance to make sure he passes the “screening” process and protects himself, his workers and his customers.

Therefore, what the lead referral services “actually” do is guarantee that you do NOT get the most qualified contractors bidding on your painting project. Instead you may even get the “least” qualified. This is not always the case. There are painting contractors in the Chicago area who are members of paint contractor referral services who do follow the law and carry the proper insurance. But, it’s up to YOU to screen them, even if you hire them from a lead referral service who “claims” to have already qualified them. The lead referral service just won’t do it because this would put them out of business because they wouldn’t be able to sell leads to enough contractors. Remember, the painters that are contacting you when you have a contractor referral service give your name out, are “paying for your name and job information”.

Lead referral services typically charge the painting contractor anywhere from $25 to $200 for “leads” (your name and address and what work you need done). You are a “lead”. Some charge much more than that and even take a percentage of the job from the contractor. While in theory, I feel that a contractor referral service is a good idea, in practice, I just haven’t seen it work because the contractor referral services are too greedy and want to charge 3 or 4 contractors for your name whether they are fully insured or not and whether you hire one of those contractors or not.

I was a member of several contractor referral services and had good ratings on most of them, however, after going on hundreds of appointments and spending thousands of dollars, I realized that I was bidding against contractors who were unqualified, yet winning the bids because their prices were dirt cheap. But, the customer thought they were “screened”. If you are looking for “cheap” and don’t really care if your painters are complying with Illinois law, then you might find this with the contractor referral services. So it might not be a bad idea to use them if you need to keep your price way low, since so many contractors will be contacting you that are out to cut each others throat. A lot of them can do beautiful work too. I’m not questioning the quality of the work of any of these contractors.

I suggest that you find your painting contractor, on your own; online, from a friend or relative, yellow pages, mass mailings, whatever. There are a lot of good contractors out there. This way, when you are getting your quotes, you can screen them yourself. You know the old saying, “if you want something done right….then do it yourself”. The thing for me that determines professionalism in this industry is whether the painting contractor is “fully insured”. Yep! I know….they ALL say they are! It’s almost laughable.

The best way to actually find out if a painter is legitimate in my opinion is to ask him for a certificate of “workers compensation insurance” as well as a certificate of “liability insurance”. If he’s fully insured then he probably cares about the quality of his work, customer service and all of the other things that you would expect from a quality chicago area paint contractor. Ask him to have his agent send you a copy. Do not accept a copy of a policy from the contractor. Another quick and easy way to find out if a painting company is following Illinois law with respect to workers compensation is to call the Illinois Industrial Commission and simply give them the name of the contractor, his address and phone number. They will tell you right away whether that contractor who told you that he was fully insured, really is. The phone number for the Illinois Industrial Commission is 312-814-6611.

Paint Platoon USA, is a Chicagoland painting contractor who performs a wide variety of commercial, industrial and residential home painting throughout the entire Chicago Metro area.

Paint Platoon USA also travels the United States and has worked in over 42 states the past 5 years alone. We perform work on military bases, manufacturing facilities, retail spaces, malls, warehouses, homes and condo associations and more. We can perform almost anything from high end interior or exterior finish work, from murals and logos, to office repainting to wallcovering removal or installations, On the industrial side we provide sandblasting and industrial coatings services on structural steel in both small and large industrial interiors and exteriors, tank coatings and linings, including elevated water tanks and silos, to ground tanks, oil and food grade tanks, light pole painting, machinery coatings and more.

Paint Platoon USA takes safety very seriously and performs a daily job safety analysis on industrial jobs as well as well as daily safety meetings. Most of us have at least an OSHA 10 or OSHA 30. All employees are background checked and comply with the Drug Free Workplace act and undergo mandatory drug testing regularly.

Paint Platoon USA is also a member of SSPC The Society of Protective Coatings and Scott Kuperman has completed C1 and C2 training classes provided by SSPC and the NCCER National Center for Construction Education & Research. He is also certified through NCCER as passing industrial painter written exam as well as a painting instructor.

What’s So Amazing About The Better Homes And Gardens Magazine?

Better Homes and Gardens is a great magazine if you are looking for ideas to update your home, cooking recipes, or even gardening. The articles are well written and you have new, breathtaking ideas every month. Better Homes and Gardens magazine takes care of your inspirational thoughts from the inside of your home going out.

There is never a dull article and you will always get the 411 on new products that will help benefit you, your family, or the inside or outside of your home. Maybe not all articles in one magazine will benefit all readers, but at least one article in every magazine will benefit a reader. Plus, even if an article doesn’t benefit you; you may find it can benefit your mother, sister, friend, or even neighbor. Everyone is always looking for fresh ideas to update their home, garden, even cooking.

What to expect from this magazine?

You can expect from Better Homes and Gardens magazine to get the “know how” on how to perform certain projects. You will see ideas that will compliment your home very nicely and great recipes for dinner parties. You will find that you can have your home a little more organized if it is currently unorganized or see modern d├ęcor to bring out your current scenery. You will read about exquisite plants that do well in your region and information on planting them.

Plus, you will read on about the different plants that go well together and you are given pictures to help stimulate your ideas. They will also write articles on how to protect your skin during all seasons and give you recommendations. They compare products and give you the outcome on which product did best, so you don’t have to waste money finding out for yourself. They offer beauty tips and health tips that have been tried, tested, and loved by others.

Why I Recommend It to everybody?

I recommend Better Homes and Gardens magazine because every month they have fresh ideas. People are constantly updating their home, whether they are moving around their furniture, painting their walls, or completely renovating their home, this magazine gives the ideas and new products that will give their home a look they will not only love, but guest will also compliment them on.

You can also get yourself the Better Homes & Gardens Landscaping Software. It is a extra software developed by Better Homes & Gardens to help you even more in your gardening needs.

When you want to landscape your yard, you typically hire someone to come out and give you a quote. However, what if you could do it all yourself with Better Homes & Gardens landscaping software? You’re probably thinking that you don’t have the artistic ability, or the know how to landscape your yard yourself. However, with Better Homes & Gardens landscaping software, you don’t need to be artistically inclined, nor do you need any knowledge of how to landscape a house or yard. All you need is a computer, a mouse, and a little time and a lot of imagination. With Better Homes & Gardens landscaping software, the sky’s the limit as far as what you can create, not to mention it’s a lot of fun to create the yard you want.

User Friendly

Better Homes & Gardens landscaping software is very user friendly, which means you’ll be creating the moment you load the software onto your computer. You merely tell the software what kind of dimensions you’re working with and then you can play around with the options available by the software program. For instance, with the click of a mouse, you can add a bush here, a rose garden there, or you can even put in a little man made pond, the choices are all up to you. Playing with the different options available is all part of the fun. Of course, the best part is when your vision is actually realized and when you finally get the yard you’ve always wanted.

If you like landscaping, or if you’d like to try your hand at it, pick up Better Homes & Gardens landscaping software today and finally get that yard you’ve always dreamed of. Even if you’ve never picked up a shovel before in your life, using the software is easy and fun and you just might find a skill you never knew you had before.