I always get asked if I use subcontractors for roofing.
Most people believe subs are not as good as a roofing contractors own forces.
There is a few myths here going both ways.
Roofers Own Forces
First of all if a roofing contractor does poor work and has all their own employees it is a good bet all of them do poor work as well.
Some of the worst jobs I have seen are from contractors that run their own single crew and have nobody to answer to. Let’s face it most homeowners do not know what they are looking at when it comes to installation detail on a roof.
Most of this poor detail work does not manifest into problems until years later, by then the company is gone. 75-80% of all roofing contractors fold every 3 years. Anybody with a truck and a ladder can start a company but that does not mean they know how to run a company or are even very knowledgeable about products and installations.
That is not to say that there are no good single contractors. In fact there are some that are very good and very professional and have been around for a long time. These are generally more expensive but actually give the owner real peace of mind.
There are two categories of subs.
There is the sub that the main contractor allows him to do his own thing and cares very little about how they do it. Some of the “Big Box” stores that do roofing have been known for this.
Then there is the main contractor that dictates controls and maintains a good work ethic within all his forces. Provides training, inspects all the sites regularly and is available or has someone available to resolve issues that arise.
These are contractors that generally charge more money but give you a high quality job and back it up.
These companies are usually bigger, running 2 or more crews with extra management personnel and a sales person that can be contacted any time. As well as having some of their own employees.
Most teams like this have more resources and knowledge to draw from and can provide a whole range of services.
Older sales people are usually (but not always) better as they have more general knowledge about houses, construction and customer needs. I find a lot of “startup “ companies need to make the sale to pay the bills and will sell anything for any price not once considering if the customer even needs a roof. Whereas older sales persons are not entirely money driven and realize reputation is worth more than instant cash.
Throughout North America the climate is ever changing. In my area in British Columbia weather patterns can be very different 5 miles (8kms) away. I would recommend one underlay in Richmond and another in North Vancouver and yet another product an hour and a half away in Whistler. This is not what I see happening with young companies. Usually it boils down to what is easier.
The problems are the same with a company’s own forces or subs.
The differences are in management.
It always starts at the top and filters down.
Do your research and cheaper is almost never better.
DC Roofing Inc.