What are some of the basic items that should be listed on your contract. I have a pending contract with a roofer, but it seems very vague. He lists start and stop dates, but does not list anywhere what provisions will be taken if the weather doesn't hold up,doesn't specify the brand or how many squares of the shingles I want, doesn't specify if he is doing the tear off or a subcontractor. He also says nothing about his labor warranty. This has me wary.
Is there anywhere I can go to see what a properly done contract should look like? Thanks.
As a consultant we draft long form contracts with General Conditions a Specification that details all the materials and how the work is to be done. We even can get into what kind of nails to be used sometimes. Generally Contractors do not use this kind of contract. They usually go with short form contracts that do leave a bit up to interpretation. Heres what I would look for though.
Scope of work: Details what work is going to be done and where and with what materials. Believe me they will end up following this to the letter so make sure nothing is left out.
Exclusions: This is what they won't do, so be aware of them. If they say they aren't responsible for damaged personal things, then they aren't if you sign it.
Contract Price: The cost. This ties back to the price for the scope of work. Any thing not listed in the scope of work will end up being a change order. So make sure the scope matches what you want accomplished, and at what cost.
Time of Completion: How long things are going to take. Also sometimes what happens if they go way too long. Sometimes there can be a liquidated damages clause if they take 6 months to do a 1 week job.
Payment schedule: How they expect to be paid.
Change orders: Make sure you are both in agreement as to what happens if something unforseen comes up. If you are not, the Contractor may walk, or hold the job hostage until you pay up.
Insurance: The insurance the Contractor agrees to be holding. Unless its there you may get sued if someone falls off of the roof. This is America after all, best be sure you know who to point the lawyers at.
Warranty: Make sure it is listed in the contract what warranty you expect. This is your long term protection.
This isn't even everything that should be included in a contract. Just be aware and know that if it is not listed, the Contractor is not responsible to do it. So make sure you have everything you need included. Do not let them sweet talk you out of it. Not to say Contractors are bad but you want to protect yourself and your thousands of dollar investment in your home.
There should be a reasonably detailed description or scope of work to be done. For a complete roof replacement, something like as follows:
Remove and dispose of x layers of asphalt shingles and felt
Replace rotten decking @ $xx per sheet
Apply whatever type of felt/underlayment they are proposing
Nail 3 tab shingles with 4 1-1/4" galvanized nail and 30 Yr architectural with 5 1-1/4" galvanized nails (or whatever meets/exceeds the local and manufacturer's requirements).
Some description of what will be done with replacing vents, plumbing boots, sidewall and chimney flashings, etc..
Items to cover other things such as ridge vent, drip edge, etc..
Tarp and plywood protect garage door, landscaping, etc..
At the time we make the shingle selection, we write in the manufacturer selected, the model and the color and have the Homeowner initial the color selection. Since we can't predict the weather and other circumstances, we provide a tentative week for doing the roof with the understanding we will nail it down more precisely the week before.
Our T&C's cover payment terms, what happens if we discover hidden conditions, etc.. We utilize a separate sheet we call the a pre job check list to set expectations and go over other items.
IMHO, it makes sense to have a reasonably detailed contract as it protects both the Homeowner AND the Contractor. I think it is silly to be ambiguous about a project that is multiple thousands of dollars. Nailing things down in black and white goes a long way towards avoiding disputes later.
Thanks. These responses have helped me alot because there are some things that he left off of the contract. Strangely, on the back, he crossed out the rate per hour for dry rot repair. This makes me not trust him now. I will consider the other quotes I have gotten now and compare them.
Every state is different with contracts. We have an attorney look over what has to be in a legal contract. Font size and location of specific statements. Our contract, like every company I know of, are written to protect the company not the property owner. I think you will find every company writes contracts to cover themselves
If it does not include the brand and type of materials then you should not in my opinion consider this a valid proposal. Move on to the next one. But all roofing proposals, with roof removal as part of the specification should include a cost for wood replacement per linear foot, or per sheet of plywood. Should it come up! Some wood usually does need to be replaced! Don't use a vague contractor, cause a vague contractor is a LAZY CONTRACTOR! GOOD LUCK! Call me if in Los Angeles area!
Thank you kindly, but I'm about 5 hours North!
Ok Deathray, I am sending you a personal e-mail.
Try the BBB I have had customers reach me through that method I think a AAA rated contractor is a safe bet! Also make sure the contractors License is not to High mine is #605523 as a reference been in Business 23 years. If the license is higher they have been in Business less time, lower longer. I Think you can find a good contractor if you use these Guidelines along with the others in regards to contracts I've read here! If he does a bad Job tell him you'll trash him on ROOFER.COM :)! We'll be waiting to pounce That is a joke! I am sure if you do these things you'll be fine!
Thanks so much for your help! I'm taking a break in my search and am waiting until spring now. I think I have all of the information I need to find the right person. Thanks again.