Commercial roofers working on large metal roof

For many facility managers and property owners, hiring the right commercial roofing contractor may seem like a daunting task. This is completely understandable. It is, after all, a decision that will have long-term consequences on the integrity of your roof and building.

From our experience, hiring the right contractor is just as important as finding the proper roofing solution—so take steps to get it right the first time. But with every commercial roofer claiming to be the best at what they do, how do you determine which one is right for your business?

This guide provides some helpful insights to help you find the most qualified and reputable commercial roofing contractors in your area.

In need of a commercial roofing contractor? Take advantage of our nationwide network of Approved Contractors! Click here to find contractors in your area.

Finding the Right Commercial Roofer

While some of the practices highlighted in this section may seem like common sense measures, they are still important to point out.

Doing some preliminary research can go a long way towards helping you find the most experienced and qualified commercial roofing contractors in your area. Finding commercial roofers is easy, but properly vetting them is an entirely different matter.

Once you have established a short list of candidates, what are your next steps?

Check Their Reputation

These days, it’s not hard for commercial roofing companies to develop some sort of online reputation—especially if they’ve been in business for a while. With minimal time and effort, you are likely to find plenty of useful customer reviews and testimonials from a variety of online sources such as Google, Bing, Facebook, trade websites, etc.

Online reviews and testimonials can be informative, but they are not the most reliable and unbiased sources for customer feedback. You should also keep in mind that most commercial roofing contractors—especially ones with years of experience—are unlikely to have a flawless online reputation, so try not to be overly critical during this preliminary phase of your research.

The key is to look for trends, not outliers.

Other “Go-To” Resources

Another great resource to vet commercial roofers is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). With the BBB, you can verify business accreditation, find basic company and licensing information, read customer reviews and complaints, and more.

Inquiring about a contractor through your area Chamber of Commerce is also recommended.

Ask for References

Job references are undoubtedly the best way to substantiate a contractor’s claims of quality workmanship and professionalism. Most commercial roofers should have 2–3 references readily available for you to contact. When contacting these references, ask specific questions such as:

  • Were they professional, punctual, and courteous?
  • Would you hire them for future projects?
  • What type of commercial roofing services did they provide?
  • Did they communicate effectively throughout the project?
  • Did they take precautions to protect your property?
  • Was the project completed on time and on budget?
  • Did you encounter any problems along the way?
  • How has your roof performed since the work was completed?

In some cases, it may be possible to go out and visit some of the job sites referred to you.

Look for Industry Certifications

Most commercial roofers will have industry certifications through one or multiple roofing/building construction manufacturers. This is noteworthy as it demonstrates a commitment to quality standards and training requirements set by the manufacturer.

Are They Licensed?

A business license signifies that a contractor meets the minimum set of requirements to conduct business in your state. Not every state offers a commercial roofing license, but most states do offer a general contracting license—or at least a general business license.

For commercial roofing companies, a license demonstrates some degree of competency and credibility.

Are They Insured?

The risk and liability in commercial roofing is a serious matter. That’s why you should only consider contractors with both general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

General liability protects the actual business against claims of property damage and bodily injury, while workers’ compensation protects the contractor’s employees in the event they get hurt on the job.

In most states, workers’ comp is required by law. If the contractor does not have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees and one of them gets injured during the project, you or your company could be held liable for damages.

Ensure that each commercial roofing company you are considering can issue a certificate of insurance listing your business as additionally insured.

What Commercial Roofing Services Do They Offer?

Once you have narrowed down your list of contractors, learn more about the services each one provides. This is important to ensure that all viable options are explored for your roof. It can also be helpful when it comes to servicing and maintaining your roof in the long term.

Well-established contractors tend to offer a broader range of commercial roofing services for a variety of different roof types. This enables them to provide the best and most suitable solution for each problem they encounter. Commercial roofers that offer only one or two services may be limited in the scope of work they are able to provide.

Offering a wide range of services is by no means an indicator of quality workmanship or technical expertise, but it is still something to be considered.

The list of commercial roofing services a contractor provides may include, but is not limited to:

Roof Replacement

Commonly referred to as a “tear-off,” roof replacements are required when a roof has gone well past its service life and ability to repair.


Also known as a “lay-over,” re-roofing is when additional layers of roofing materials (typically single-ply membranes) are installed over existing roof systems.

Roof Restoration

This involves the application of elastomeric coatings to existing roof substrates.

At American WeatherStar, we specialize in fluid-applied commercial roof restoration systems and products.

If your roof has not yet surpassed the point of needing to be replaced, a restoration system may be your best option. It can also save you a great deal of money compared to alternative roofing solutions.

Recommended reading: Roof Restoration: The Comprehensive Guide

Emergency Repair Services

In many cases, minor repairs are all that is needed to keep your roof operating at peak performance. This is the primary reason for getting multiple bids (which we cover in more detail in the following sections). It keeps contractors honest about what they are offering you as a solution.

Maintenance Programs

Most experienced commercial roofing specialists offer programs for preventative roof maintenance.

The goal of any maintenance program is to catch small problems before they become big ones. These programs can be a simple and cost-effective way to get the most out of your commercial roof. They typically require roof surveys to be conducted at certain times of the year (usually in the spring and fall).

Most Importantly, Get Multiple Quotes!

Our recommendation is to get proposals from at least three different contractors—especially if it’s a large project. If you’re in need of an emergency leak repair, time constraints may force you to go with whichever company responds first. But in most cases, it’s best to get no fewer than three bids for any commercial roofing project.

Getting multiple bids does not necessarily mean you should automatically take the lowest one. In fact, the highest bidder may be the best fit for your specific needs. Finding a suitable, long-term roofing solution is the primary goal, and just as with any other purchase decision, you get what you pay for.

How the Bidding Process Works

The bidding process will vary from one contractor to another. Some commercial roofing contractors like to keep it simple, while others may prefer a more formal and systematic approach.

Regardless of which method you prefer, the important thing is that you understand exactly what they are offering. Below, we point out some key aspects of the bidding process.

It Starts With an Onsite Roof Evaluation

From a procedural standpoint, commercial roofers should always start with an onsite roof evaluation. This is the only way to accurately inspect the interior and exterior components of a commercial roofing assembly. Consider it a red flag if a contractor is not willing to come out and survey your roof in person.

While the use of satellite imagery may be sufficient to build a proposal in the residential market, it is simply not enough for the commercial roofing industry. There are just too many factors to consider when determining the best course of action on a commercial roof.

Recommended reading: In Need of a Commercial Roof Inspection?

Presenting the Best Course(s) of Action

Once the evaluation is complete, the contractor will build a report detailing their findings. They will also determine the best solution—or solutions—for your commercial roof. It’s common for most contractors to take a “good, better, best” approach when presenting the options.

It may take some time for contractors to estimate costs for your project (typically no more than a few days). This mostly depends on the size and complexity of the structure. The severity and/or extent of problems on your roof can also prolong the process.

Try to be patient during this phase of the project. You want estimators to be as thorough as possible.

Expect a Detailed Scope of Work

Make sure each commercial roofer provides a detailed scope of work in their proposal. This will give you an exact outline of the work to be performed on your roof and allow you to make an apples-to-apples comparison of competing bids.

Unless you specify exactly what the contractor’s bid, it is likely that each one’s scope of work will differ based on their expertise. If you notice significant differences in a contractor’s scope of work, ask them for clarification. They should be able to explain their proposal thoroughly.

If the commercial roofer isn’t willing to explain their proposal in detail, move on to the next.

Know What Materials They Plan to Use

Require each commercial roofing contractor to list the materials they plan to use. This will give you an opportunity to research certain system and product documentation (technical data sheets, safety data sheets, application guidelines, warranty information, etc.).

Contractors do not usually include all of this information in their proposal, at least not initially. Don’t hesitate to ask for this information after the fact.

The Anatomy of the Proposal

The submitted proposal becomes the contract, so it’s important that you read every word of it carefully. Common components of a proposal include:

  • The legal name of the commercial roofing company
  • Your company’s name and contact information
  • The legal address of the project site
  • Roofing project objective
  • Scope of work
  • Project timeline
  • Total cost
  • Payment terms
  • Warranty terms
  • Property owner obligations
  • Clarifications
  • Signature lines (for acceptance of the contract for each party involved)

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate Payment Terms

The payment terms of the proposal are negotiable. While this may seem like an obvious statement, it’s not uncommon for this aspect of the contract to be a point of contention for both commercial roofing contractors and property managers.

Be sure to review this section of the proposal carefully and ask questions if certain terms of the contract are not abundantly clear.

What Are You, The Property Owner, Responsible For?

As the building owner, it’s imperative that you understand what you are responsible for during the project. Most commercial roofing proposals will include a “property owner obligations” section which details exactly what’s required (from the building owner) for the job to get done.

Specifics may include access to water and power, storage for installation equipment and supplies, hours of operation, roof access, and customer/employee parking during the project.

The Warranty: What’s Covered and What’s Not?

The most overlooked part of the bid process is the warranty, or more accurately, what it does and does not cover. The number of years on the warranty is not its most important aspect.

When reviewing the warranty offered by a commercial roofing contractor, consider the following:

  • What does the commercial roofing company’s warranty cover?
  • Are they offering a warranty from the roofing material manufacturer?
  • What limitations/exclusions are included in the warranty?

Not all leaks are covered under most commercial roofing warranties. A material-only warranty does not cover leaks at all. A warranty that does cover leaks will have multiple exclusions including one that requires the building owner to conduct routine maintenance checks.

Recommended reading: Some Much-Needed Clarity in Commercial Roofing Warranties

Be Sure to Hold the Contractor Accountable

Unless you hire a third-party consultant, it will be up to you to hold the contractor accountable during and after the project. Pay close attention to the following aspects of the job:

  • Are they following local building codes?
  • Are they following manufacturer application guidelines?
  • Are they keeping a clean job site?
  • Are they meeting the timeline agreed to?
  • Have they paid for the materials and/or subcontractors?

It’s important to keep track of the items above to avoid a potential mechanical lien on the property. For more information on mechanics liens, click here.

As the building owner, it’s reasonable for you to request a “release of lien” from each material vendor and subcontractor used on your project.

You will also need to find out how long it will take to receive the warranty once the job is completed. This can take a few weeks if the roofing manufacturer is the warranty issuer.

When to Hire a Commercial Roofing Consultant

For large-scale or government-based projects, consider hiring a roof consultant to manage the job.

Just like hiring a commercial roofer, finding the right consultant can also be a challenge. Most of the pointers offered above also apply when selecting a commercial roofing consultant.

Experienced roof consultants will know how to properly vet the commercial roofing contractors bidding on your project. Their primary role is to create a scope of work that competing contractors will bid on. They will also manage the entire project with daily or weekly inspections.

For more information on commercial roofing consultants, visit

A Nationwide Network of Commercial Roofing Contractors

At American WeatherStar, we partner with commercial roofing contractors across the nation to deliver high-quality, sustainable, and cost-effective roof restoration solutions. We pride ourselves on the quality workmanship and integrity of the commercial roofers we work with.

Our contractor vetting process is based on much of the information provided above, plus a thorough credit analysis to determine the financial strength of the business. To learn more about what it takes to become an American WeatherStar Approved Contractor, click here.

Some of the biggest brands in the world rely on the expertise and superior workmanship of our Approved Contractors. If you’re looking for an experienced and reputable commercial roofer, click here to find an American WeatherStar Approved Contractor in your area.


Finding qualified commercial roofers can be a difficult and time-consuming task. The information provided here is intended to help facility managers and property owners streamline their vetting processes.

Ultimately, when in search of commercial roofing services, it’s important to do your homework. It can go a long way towards ensuring a successful and stress-free roofing project.