If you’ve finally settled on a roofing contractor that’s ideal for your budget and your unique situation, you may be relieved. The work gels with your budget, you’ve decided on the materials, and you’ve come up with a timeline. Hold on a minute, though. You may need to consider having a contract with your roofer to protect your contractor, yourself, and your home in the event things don’t go as planned.

What’s involved in a contract?

A contract is a legally binding agreement, signed by all involved parties, that works to protect you and your contractor from legal ramifications in the case of any conflicts that may arise during your project. A contracts can help avoid miscommunication between you and your contractor, and it can help you keep track of your project to make sure the end result is what you and your contractor discussed.

How do I know if I need to sign a contract?

In general, if you’re completing a project that will span multiple days or require extensive work on the part of your contractor, it’s a good idea to sign a contract. If you’re ever in doubt whether you should sign a contract, suggest one be drawn up. In some states, a contract is required by law if your project is valued over a certain dollar amount. Your contractor should be well-versed in the laws of your community and know when a contract is legally required.

Things to consider in a contract

Before you sign any contract, be sure to carefully read the entire document. Your roofing contractor likely has a standard contract they use for every project, but you’ll want to be sure your contract outlines all of the important details for your project specifically. Before signing, be sure your contract has the following information:

  • Your contractor’s business name, contact information, and licensing number
  • Scope of work to be completed from start to finish, including who will be performing the work
  • Written description of the materials to be used, down to the color, size, model number, and brand
  • Payment schedule and dates for deposit
  • Permits and who will pull them
  • Instructions regarding cleanup and debris removal
  • Pricing for any necessary machinery rentals
  • Warranty information

Making changes

As your project progresses, you may find that your contract needs to be changed. Maybe you want to change the color of the shingles you chose, or maybe your contractor runs into an unforeseen issue and construction must be delayed. Whatever the reason, if you need to make any changes to your contract, be sure to record them. Submit a “change order” to your contractor, make sure you both sign off on the change, and attach the change order to your original contract.

Canceling a contract

Cancelling a contract can be difficult and you will likely need the advice of a lawyer. You should be able to find information regarding cancellation in your original contract. If one or both parties fails to fulfill their part of the agreement, the contract may be void. Additionally, some states allow a three-day grace period after signing a contract that allows you to cancel. Read your contract carefully and take appropriate action to end the agreement if need be.

Top image credit: Timothy F. White