Once you have identified three or more roofer candidates, the place to begin checking them out is the Contractors State License Board.
If you have a touch-tone phone, you can call (800) 321-2752 at any hour and get information on:
1--Status of contractors license.
3--Whether a license suspension is pending against the contractor due to outstanding judgments against him.
Or, you can talk to someone directly by calling one of the board's regional offices:
Central Region (Central Valley south to Los Angeles International Airport): (818) 543-4731.
Southern Region (LAX area south to San Diego): (714) 994-7430.
Assistant deputy for the Central Region, Laurence Chafe, recommends calling to talk to someone in person.
"Be as aggressive as possible talking to a deputy," he advised. "Don't be satisfied just finding out the license is current and active."
Make sure, for example, that the contractor's business name is exactly the same as the one listed by the license board. "It's not uncommon (for one contractor) to use the license of another," Chafe said. "If there's any difference in name, it should raise a red flag."
And, whatever you do, if a problem does develop with your contractor, \o7 don't \f7 wait to file a complaint until after you've torn all your hair out and bored all your friends with your tales of roofing woe. Chafe urges that you file a complaint right away if you don't get a satisfactory response from your contractor within a reasonable amount of time.
Here are two helpful publications you can send away for:
--"What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor." This 32-page booklet is free. It is published by the Contractors State License Board and covers all types of contractors, not just roofers. But it provides a comprehensive discussion of how to hire and deal with a contractor. You can order it by calling the board at (800) 321-2752.
--"Buying a New Roof--And Getting Your Money's Worth." This handy (and free) pamphlet is put out by the National Roofing Contractors Assn., O'Hare International Center, 10255 W. Higgins Road, Suite 600, Rosemont, Ill. 60018-5607, (708) 299-9070.