Why CD Kaller

Choosing a Contractor

photo of CertainTeed brochure Choosing a Professional Roofer

Our friends at CertainTeed created a pamphlet on Choosing a Professional Roofer that we have reproduced in part below. We've included the answers as they apply to CD Kaller Inc where appropriate.

Roofing is a process you may not be familiar with until it becomes time to replace the roof on your home. And even then, there's a lot to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual roofing needs. Therefore, it's vital to know that you can rely on the roofing contractor you choose to give you good advice about those products and procedures that may be new to you. The key is to find the right roofing contractor for your job.

The questions listed here are designed to help you determine the reliability, reputation and experience of a contractor, as well as his dedication to providing you with the best roof system possible.

logo CD Kalller

A top-notch, professional roofing contractor like CD Kaller Inc. will be only too happy to supply you with answers to these questions. And just as it makes good business sense to see several bids on your roofing job, it also makes good sense to ask several different contractors these questions. Our responses have been added where applicable.

We've also outlined some important points to consider as you evaluate the terms of your proposed job contract.

Being confident you've selected the right roofing contractor will help assure that you have a quality roof overhead and that your hard-earned money has been wisely spent.

7 Questions to Ask Your Roofer

CertainTeed suggests that you evaluate your roofer as carefully as you would a doctor or a lawyer. It is certain that you will want a roofing contractor who employs capable applicators to do the installation. It is also clear that you will need to look closely at the proposal offered, the products selected, and the price/value relationship of the entire package.

But what criteria can you use to decide if the contractor is a true professional who will stand behind his work? While there is not a single, clear-cut answer, there are a number of indicators that you can look for when going through the evaluation process.

Interview the Contractor

You cannot choose a professional roofer by looking at an estimate and comparing prices. Allow yourself an hour, more or less, to sit down with each contractor. You might be speaking with a salesperson or even the owner. Both of you need time to ask questions and explore the possibilities. You will be surprised at how many options you have.

Good contractors take pride in their work, and so should the salesperson representing the company.

  • The salesperson should show pride and enthusiasm in discussing other jobs
  • The salesperson should be knowledgeable about other jobs (which shows his involvement in the actual work).

The 7 Questions to Ask

1. What is the full name and address of the company?

CD Kaller Inc
422 Davisville Rd
Willow Grove, PA 19090
USA
215-659-3000
Owner/President: Curt Kaller


2. Does the company carry insurance?

A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and workmen's compensation insurance to protect you in the event of a roofing accident. This can be verified by asking to see the contractor's certificates of insurance (workmen's compensation and liability). Let the contractor know you want current certificates sent to you by the insurer before the job is started. (some insurance requirements are regulated by the state of PA, see question 3 below..)

CD Kaller carries both General Liability and Workman's Compensation Insurance.

Current certifications will be provided to customers with our proposal and prior to starting work.

Contractors may also carry other kinds of insurance including health, life, and auto insurance. Bland assurances of insurance coverage may refer to these. Don't be confused. Ask for proof of general liability and workman's compensation for roofing and other home improvement projects.

General Liability and Workman's Compensation Insurance are required for Home Improvement Contractors in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Worker Accidents Be aware that if a worker is injured on your property, the homeowner might be held liable for all costs unless the employee is covered by workers' compensation insurance. Hospital bills for serious accidents can be extraordinarily expensive.

Contractors who carry insurance and follow safety guidelines on fall prevention endure higher job overhead costs. These expenses could be the cause of price variations between contractors who follow the standards versus those who ignore them.

Uninsured Contractors Roofers who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper to hire as they do not have the large insurance premiums to pay. Workers' compensation premiums can increase wage costs from about 20% to as much as 100% depending on the state.

There are a variety of reasons why full insurance may not be carried by a contractor, such as:

  • Not a full time contractor
  • Operates a partnership or self-employed without employees
  • New in the business
  • Can't afford insurance premiums
  • Doesn't stand behind work

(11) Except as provided in section 125 , (contractor) agrees to maintain liability insurance covering personal injury in an amount not less than $50,000 and insurance covering property damage caused by the work of a home improvement contractor in an amount not less than $50,000 and identifies the current amount of insurance coverage maintained at the time of signing the contract.

3. is the company a licensed or credentialed contractor?

CD Kaller is registered as a Home Improvement Contractor with the Commonwealth of PA.
PA Contractor Registration PA016580 and with the State of New Jersey NJHIC# 13VH04922100.

CD Kaller Inc also maintains registrations with local authorities in areas where we do work.
Home Improvement Contractors are required to be registered in Pennsylvania under the PA Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act ("HICPA") and in New Jersey under the Contractor’s Registration Act.

A contractor may also answer this question by telling you he has a business license. However, a business license is a tax requirement only and is not directly relevant to the contractor's competence.

Several roofing manufacturers offer a variety of programs to professional contractors that establish their credentials as a knowledgeable roofing company. Homeowners can view a contractor's credentials as another indicator of their degree of knowledge, professionalism, and dedication to the roofing trade.

CD Kaller Inc has top ratings and certifications from many manufacturers including: CertainTeed, GAF, Owens-Corning, Tampko, Hardee, Mastic, Crane, and Marvin. These certifications allow us to offer limited lifetime product warranties. We are also approved as a contractor by the PA Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau.

4. How long has the company been in business?

Needless to say, longer is usually better. Under 3 years may signal an unstable business or one low on the learning curve. The failure rate of small businesses in the first three years is very high.

CD Kaller Inc has been in the business since 1939!

We do Home Improvements, Commercial Work, Historical Restoration work for the PA Historical and Museum Commission and others, Home Owner Associations, Churches, and Synagogues ...

Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?

  • Ask for photos of completed work, if available
  • Request a list of 5 names and phone numbers of recent customers (last 12 months). It is not necessary to check all 5, but you will be able to pick randomly from the list those you do call.
CD Kaller will be happy to provide you with a list of current references. You can also read what some of our customers say here. In addition, CD Kaller maintains a A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and has earned the highest ratings of many of the suppliers we work with based in large part on customer satisfaction. You can also learn about some of our projects and view photos in our portfolio. If you are a member you can also check out our reviews on Angie's List.

What is the company's workmanship warranty?

Typically, contractor workmanship warranties are for one year or more. Longer warranties are not necessarily more valuable than shorter warranties. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the roofer to stand behind his warranty. That is best evaluated using customer referrals. Ask customers specifically for information about these four things:

  1. Was work performed on a timely basis?
  2. Was the contractor responsive when asked for information and changes?
  3. Did the contractor act as if he cared about the customer's interests?
  4. Would you call the company trustworthy?

The roofer will warrant his workmanship. The manufacturer, on the other hand, warranties the roofing material against defects in manufacturing. Thus, two warranties will cover the shingle roof system. Understand them both. Ask for a copy of the manufacturer's warranty pertaining to the specific shingle products you are considering. For additional information on warranties, see CertainTeed's Understanding Warranties brochure.

Usually, problems of either workmanship or material show up very quickly. Therefore, the near-term warranty given by the contractor or manufacturer is more important than the warranty coverage during the later years of the warranty. Even if problems of workmanship arise after the workmanship warranty has lapsed, a reliable contractor usually will want to stand behind his work.

CD Kaller, Inc. warrants that the work as specified will be performed in a professional and workmanlike manner. Except for minor repairs, CD Kaller, Inc. fully warrants all work to perform as intended for a period of one year from the date of installation and will pass on all long term warranties from the manufacturer. (..see more..)

What is the company's track record for solving customer complaints?

  • Try to find out how your contractor handles problems when they do arise. Request a referral from a job that involved a complaint.
  • Ask the contractor if he has ever lost a job-related court case.
    CD Kaller has never lost a job-related suit.
  • Ask if his contractor's license has ever been suspended and why.
    CD Kaller Inc has never had a license suspended.

Also, in talking to the appropriate authorities, such as the Better Business Bureau and licensing departments, find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractors who you have interviewed. Many contractors in business for any length of time have been involved in a dispute. Ask how the dispute was resolved, to test your contractor's reputation.

Evaluating the Contract

Before you get to this stage, you will have received from the contractor either a job proposal or an estimate. Estimates and proposals can be very different approaches to your job.

What is an estimate?

To simplify, an estimate will typically offer a single price, a generically described product, a color, and no options. This is traditional and legitimate. But it isn't consumer-friendly.

What is a proposal?

Simply put, a proposal is a tentative agreement for a project. It offers a choice of products by brand name, prices, services and even designs. Many other provisions may also be included, such as change order conditions and financing options. The homeowner should expect three product choices. These could be presented in the typical range of good, better, and best.

CD Kaller will provide a detailed proposal that will provide you with the all details of the work to be performed with options where applicable, and that meets or exceeds the manufacturer's requirements for long-term warranties with specific details on products to be used and installation procedures.

Details, Details!

Most contracts for roofing work are simple and straightforward. The larger or more experienced contractors may have longer, more detailed contracts. Regardless of the form of the agreement, you should read all of the specific items in the contract carefully.

Misunderstandings are more often the cause of contract disagreement rather than actual dishonesty or incompetence.

It is in your interest that certain items which are important yo you be stated in writing in the contract. The following are some of the basics that should be covered.

Compliance with local codes and ordinances

Will they be observed? Are permit costs included? Who will obtain the permit?What about provisions for posting zoning notices? Have inspections been planned?

CD Kaller is registered with PA and NJ and with local authorities where we do work. We are very familiar with local codes and ordinances and our work is done in accordance with these rules. CD Kaller will coordinate with all code enforcement and other local authorities when necessary. This would include obtaining permits, posting notices where necessary and scheduling inspections when necessary or required. Costs for permits, inspections, etc. are not included as part of our proposal but may be paid directly by the customer or billed separately.

Product Choices

Have you been offered a choice of good - better - best shingles? Are they identified by brand and manufacturer name? Is there a clear reference to the warranty which will cover the shingles to be applied? Is the manufacturer's name for the color of the shingle you are buying stated in the contract? Do you understand the difference in the aesthetics from one shingle to another (including not only color but also texture, style, construction, reinforcement, and UL ratings?

CD Kaller will usually suggest several options to you and will include those you are interested in with your proposal.

Scheduling

Start and stop dates are difficult to pin down due to the unpredictability of the weather. But you can control exceptions. For instance, negotiate a "no-later-than" clause. Be reasonable, but do make it clear that these terms will be enforced if necessary.

If early completion is important, offer an award for completion by an early date in addition to a no-later-than clause.

NOTE PA HICPA requires that the contract contain the approximate starting date and completion date.

Right-to-Rescind

Pennsylvania and New Jersey both provide for a Right of Rescission on home improvement contracts within 3 business days of the date of signing.

(b) Right of rescission.--An individual signing a home improvement contract, except as provided in the emergency provisions of section 7 of the act of December 17, 1968 (P.L. 1224, No. 387)7 , known as the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, shall be permitted to rescind the contract without penalty regardless of where the contract was signed, within three business days of the date of signing.

If the homeowner cancels the job after the right-to-rescind period has elapsed, then the contractor may request a certain dollar or percentage value of the contract in return.

Manufacturer's warranty specifications

Confirm that the Agreement states that all workmanship will confirm to the requirements of the manufacturer's warranty and installation instructions. Especially take note that this includes ventilation requirements, fastener requirements, low slope installation terms and ice dam protection. All such terms are normally found on the shingle packaging, or will be found on manufacturer's literature available from suppliers.

CD Kaller Inc has certifications from our major suppliers indicating that we have been trained in and follow proper installation procedures and all local codes.

Contractor's workmanship warranty

Make sure this is clearly noted in the contract.
CD Kaller will provide a detailed proposal that will provide you with the all details of the work to be performed with options where applicable, and that meets or exceeds the manufacturer's requirements for long-term warranties with specific details on products to be used and installation procedures.

Cleanup

Call for a daily cleanup of the premises. This becomes very important if shingle tear-off is necessary.

Payment Terms

Schedule, terms, and method of payment should be written out fully with no room for misunderstandings.

Preliminary Inspection

Finally, agree to an inspection before the job with the job supervisor. Establish the condition of the property before any work is done. Take special care to list the conditions of landscaping and equipment located under or near roof eaves. Do not be unreasonable on your own expectations. It is not possible to reroof a house without some damage to the landscaping. Discuss and agree on what is reasonable. Prepare a checklist as you go and co-sign it, indicating that both parties understand the present condition of the property. A thorough inspection after the job will determine if any valid property damage claims exist

Insider Tips

Understanding the contractor

This information from CertainTeed serves as a guide to shopping for a good contractor and negotiating a good contract. However, you should keep in mind that your contractor is also shopping.

A contractor is shopping for good jobs that will make a fair profit and bring future referrals.

Many contractors have had experiences with unreasonable or dishonest homeowners. Therefore, they look for warning signs of customer problems during the initial job interview.

Show the contractor that you are an informed consumer who has both your and his best interests in mind.

Getting a roofing contractor to want your job

Many homeowners have been mystified by the seeming lack of interest and response from contractors when the receive a call for a job. Here's how you can get a roofer to respond to your call:

  • When you call a roofer, tell them you are shopping around but are only interviewing three contractors - not 10.
  • Call contractors in the general vicinity. Roofers prefer to work close to home, just like everyone else.
  • tell the contractor you call that you are not looking for the lowest bid, but rather the best value. And ask for a Good-Better-Best proposal
  • if you have seen work by a contractor in your neighborhood and you liked it, or if someone referred a contractor to you, call them. And when you do, mention how you heard of them

By following these tips you can help a roofer determine that you are a good prospect and worth his effort.

Local and Trade Information

There are a number of organizations that you can contact when you need additional help or information about roofing. Unfortunately it is not always possible to predict which will be the most useful in any given location.

Consider these sources:

CD Kaller maintains an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau

CD Kaller is a long-time member of the Willow Grove Chamber of Commerce

Curt Kaller is a board member and CD Kaller Inc has worked with the Horsham Preservation and Historical Association on several projects including the Penrose-Strawbridge House and the Novotny House

CD Kaller Inc is a charter member of the Slate Roofing Contractors Association.

CD Kaller is a member of the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau

CD Kaller is achieved highest certifications from the top suppliers in the industry

So, Contact Us, we would love to discuss your next roofing or home improvement project!

xphoto of CertainTeed brochure Choosing a Professional Roofer
Choosing a Professional Roofer brochure from CertainTeed. Contact us and we'll be happy to send you a copy
CD Kaller Inc | 422 Davisville Rd | Willow Grove | PA | 19090 | USA
Roofing - Siding - Windows - Doors - Historic Restoration
215-659-3000|Fax: 215-659-5565
Registered PA016580 | NJHIC# 13VH04922100
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