What should a homeowner look for when selecting a roofer?
One of the most important considerations is getting an agreement in writing that work is guaranteed, says Julia Pitner, director of the local Consumer Affairs Assn.
With the boom in the roofing business since a March 26 hailstorm hit town, many out-of-town roofers have arrived in Lawrence. Pitner said her office got more than 100 calls last month from people with questions about roof repairs.
"We're averaging five to eight calls a day," she said.
Other advice offered by Pitner and some local roofers: Check the professional credentials and references of prospective roofers and make sure proper materials are being used on the job.
MANY OUT-OF-TOWN crews have made connections with local roofing firms.
Pitner said local roofing companies that have subcontracted, leased or sold the use of their name to recently arrived roofers should be safe as long as the local owner guarantees the work.
"It's OK as long as there's some agreement the work will be guaranteed after the people who do the work leave. But if there's none locally that will guarantee the work, we're recommending the consumer call us first."
The consumer affairs telephone number is 843-4608 or 843-4609. The office is at 700 Mass.
Some roofers interviewed said reputable roofers have no need to try to hide the fact that they are from out of town.
"We're from out-of-state, and we have nothing to hide about that," said Rick Payne, a crew supervisor who is with an out-of-state roofing contractor working for Lawrence Roofing Division of Lawrence Mobile Wash, 415 N. Second.
"IT'S JUST some of these other (roofers) who try to tell everybody they're local . . . they're the ones who may not be straight about their workmanship and other things."
Payne and other roofers also said a contractor's roofing estimate should be fairly close to an insurance company's repair or replacement estimate.
"If those two aren't close, then they're (roofers) probably not doing it right," he said.
Payne also said homeowners should examine construction equipment used by the roofing team.
"In this business, you have to invest in the right equipment," Payne said. "If you see two guys pull up in a station wagon with claw hammers to replace your roof, you're probably in trouble."
Ken Doud, local business representative for Carpenter's Union No. 2279, recommends that homeowners ask to see the contractor's license, insurance, bonding agreement and references.
Roofers do not have to be licensed to work in Lawrence, but many storm troopers have licenses required to work in other areas of the country.
"If you just ask a lot of them, they're going to say `Yes, we're bonded' or `Yes, we're insured,'" Doud said. "But people should ask to see proof of that," he said.
Gleason Gregory, a local roofer since 1976, also said homeowners should try to make certain that materials, such as proper weight shingles, are being used.
THE LOCAL BOOM in roofing business also has translated into a boost for roofing supply companies.
"I'd say 5,000 squares (of materials) are being sold a week for the whole city," said Larry Novascone, president of United Roofing Supply Corp. of Wichita, which on April 20 set up a local office at 1200 E. 25th.
Bill Lawrence, owner of Lawrence Lumber, said his shingle sales have doubled since the storm.
Novascone said about 3,500 squares of material have been selling each week through his company's Lawrence office. About 75 percent of the shingles being sold are fiberglass, he said.