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What Is a Roofing Contract?

A roofing contract is a document that legally binds a roofer to the promises they make for the job. While experienced contractors often have longer contracts with more detail, the majority of roofing contracts are relatively straightforward.

Benefits of a Roofing Contract

There are a number of reasons why a contractor and property owner should both require a roofing contract to be in place before any work begins. A roofing contract:

  • Ensures the payment schedule is clear and that the contractor is legally protected against claims.
  • Provides the homeowner with peace of mind knowing that the business is legitimate and puts in writing the work that will be delivered and the price that it will cost.
  • Allows the contractor to get in writing that the property owner fully understands all warranties to protect themselves from future problems.

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What Should Be in a Roofing Contract?

Every roofing contract should contain the following components:

Business Details

Every contract should have basic information about the roofing company's business, including the license number, insurance information, and physical address. This information assures the homeowner about the legitimacy of the business. The contract should also include the name, address, phone number, and email address for the homeowner, as well as where the work will be done if the location is different from the property owner's home address. Every roofing contract should also come with copies of proof of insurance, including:

  • Bonding (if applicable).
  • Worker's compensation insurance.
  • Liability.

Roofing companies should also provide proof that they are in compliance with local codes and state laws and ordinances, including:

  • Licenses, required permits, zoning notices, and inspections.
  • Legal jurisdiction governing contract.

Scope of Work

The scope of work defines what exactly the roofer will be doing and the labor and materials necessary to complete the job. If the homeowner ordered a complete roofing system, the contract should specify the accessories that will be used for installation. For example, there may be components on top of the shingles, including ridge cap shingles, leak barriers, vents, roof deck protection, and starter strip shingles.

Duration of Project

Homeowners generally expect the work to start anywhere from two to six weeks after the contract is signed. However, this can vary depending on the time of year and whether the contractor has a backlog of jobs. Regardless of when they can start, the contractor should be straightforward about their availability so that the homeowner has a reasonable expectation. After the contractor begins working on the roof, the job should not be interrupted by anything other than the weather.

While the length of time it takes to install a roof can vary depending on the size of the home, an asphalt shingle roof typically takes approximately one week to complete. Adverse weather conditions can also create unexpected delays that can affect the project duration. In general, though, an experienced roofer should be able to give an accurate timeline for the project. There may be a "no later than" clause required by some jurisdictions. In the event that the contractor failed to start the project on time, this clause would render the contract null and void.

Materials and Services

A roofing contract should list all materials and services included within the scope of the job, in addition to the basic roofing and labor required. If not mentioned in the contract, permit acquisition fees and cleanup and disposal services are topics you should discuss with the contractor. The contract should also include the specific product names and information about manufacturer warranties for those products.

Warranties

If the contractor is offering a warranty on their installer's work, this needs to be described in detail in the contract, along with information about how long the warranty will apply and whether there are any limitations. It's also important to be clear in the contract about limited warranties that cover materials in the event of a defect. Contractors may even want to have a second, separate document for the homeowner, stating that they have read and understood the terms that are listed in the contract and that they specifically understand the limited warranty from the manufacturer.

Installation Methods

The roofing contract should specify how the different components will be installed. For example, while some shingles can be installed with just four nails, if the homeowner is paying extra for a wind-resistance limited warranty, then it may be necessary to install the shingles using a six-nail installation. This should be specified in the contract.

Payment Schedule

The payment schedule and deposit requirements can vary from one contractor to the next. A homeowner should typically expect to pay some kind of deposit. However, there should never be an expectation that the upfront payment will cover the entire cost of the job. Additionally, the total deposit and payments made while the roofing project is in progress should never equal more than 75% of the job. That said, it is common for an initial deposit to be made when the project is scheduled, a second payment to be made when the materials are delivered to the home, and then a final payment to be made when the work is complete.

Provisions for Unforeseen Circumstances

The cost of a roofing project can go up substantially if the contractor experiences any unforeseen circumstances during the course of completing a job. For example, if the contractor discovers that the roofing is rotting, they may have to purchase more materials or hire additional labor to complete the job on schedule or to make the repair properly. The roofing contract should include an estimate in the event that these unforeseen circumstances arise.

Option To Terminate the Contract

The roofing contract should state the terms of terminating the contract, including the notice that should be provided, any payments that need to be made, or information about whether deposits are refundable. Many roofers require clients to pay a fixed percentage of the total value of the contract or for the cost of the materials if they want to cancel past a specific date and the roofer has already incurred costs.

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What's the Difference Between a Contract and Proposal?

A proposal is essentially a marketing document that tells a prospective customer what the roofer will do for them and what they will charge. A contract, on the other hand, is a legally binding document that confirms the work that the contractor will do and for what price. Here are some examples of roofing contracts to help you better understand the different types of formats and what one can look like.

Can Roofing Contracts Be Negotiated?

A homeowner or commercial property owner can negotiate most of the terms within a roofing contract. There are certain aspects of the contract that can be impacted by state law. However, the price of the deal is always negotiable when the property owner is paying out of pocket. If the insurance company is covering the cost of the repair or replacement, then negotiating can be more complicated, since there is a third party paying for the job.

A roofing contract, like any other type of contract, is legally binding. Therefore, you may want to consider having legal counsel review your contract before providing it to a client to sign. At Contracts Counsel, our team of lawyers has been vetted to work in a variety of industries and can help you prepare roofing contracts for property owners. To get started, contact us today.



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