First of all, it’s the law!
Secondly, for a roofer to obtain a license, they need to pass specific qualifications. You don’t want a teenager driving without being tested, and you don’t want a roofer “roofing” without being tested either.
But let’s be honest. Just like you encounter that TERRIBLE driver and ask yourself, “How the hell did they EVER pass their driver’s test?” There can be roofers who obtain a “license,” but just aren’t good roofers, which brings us to our next tip to look for while searching for your ideal contractor.
Ask if they have a Home Improvement License, a Roofing License, or a Commercial General Contractor’s License.
Let’s start with some facts. A Home Improvement License only requires $75 for application, no testing to prove trade knowledge, and the job can’t exceed $75,000 (at least here in Louisiana).
In other words, almost anyone can go out and get a remodeling license to go knock your door, calling themselves a “professional roofer.” It’s sort of like getting married by Elvis in Vegas. Sure it passes the red tape, but will it really last?
But let’s be fair, JUST because a contractor only has a home improvement license doesn’t mean they are a terrible choice. It could be a starter company without a lot of up-front capital to afford the more secure and reputable General Contractor’s license. In other words, they could be a sincere, hard-working, excellent service, up-and-coming contractor building their way to the top…
OR, they could be the aforementioned drive-by roofer in a truck trying to drum up some quick business, put on a crappy roof, and hit the road. We will let you be the judge.
Someone with a Roofing License is a genuine, qualified roofer. They need to have a minimum PERSONAL net worth even to apply, pass testings to show they know their trade, and they have no cap on project costs. The only limitation is they can ONLY do roof work. But that’s why you’re reading this anyway, so that’s perfect.
In contrast, a Commercial General Contractor’s License requires extensive testing, a minimum PERSONAL net worth, has no project spending limit, and allows the contractor to do all construction work except for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.
If your contractor has this license, they could build a Walmart tomorrow for you… minus the toilets and light switches, of course.
And just because a contractor has the highest credentials doesn’t always mean they are the best fit for you. They could be terrible with customer service, angry individuals, or unsavory characters, which brings us to our next major tip!