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One reason there are so many consumer sites that offer reviews and comparisons of all of the roofing companies in Chicago is that there are so many of them to choose from. You used to be able to just take a few names, call and check on licenses and insurance and then make your decision. To do that now would be a full-time job. Comparison and review sites can work to your advantage if you know what to look for in a company. Licensing is important, but there is more to consider.
The first step in narrowing down your list of choices is to look at the services that they offer. Just about every roofing company will say they do residential and commercial roofs, but you have to look a little closer to see what services they put at the top of their list. Some of them specialize in metal and rubber roofs, which are more commonly associated with commercial buildings. Of the residential roof types, companies may have a shown preference for asphalt shingle over slate or tile. Pay close attention to how they list what they offer, that will show you what services they excel in and are most prepared to do.
Chicago covers a large area. You need to identify what areas the company serves. If they serve all of Chicago then you have to identify which of their licensed contractors serve your area. If you are considering a large roofing company that works with independent contractors, you should call for the licensing information on the specific contractor for your area. Roofing isn't like plumbing where independents can work under a master license. Independent contractors can work under the main business license of the company but they will need their own individual permits and coverage.
Now you can go read the customer reviews, contact the State about licensing, insurance or complaints; as well as review any information found on the Better Business Bureau site. One word of caution about online customer review sites, the Internet is just now seeing steps put in place to catch and prevent false reviews from being posted. That doesn't mean a company can't get glowing reviews from everyone, but you need to take negative reviews with a grain of salt as well. The best way to really find out the reputation of any of the roofing companies in Chicago is to call them and to request references you can contact by phone.
Getting estimates from roofing companies in Chicago that fall into the top 5 on your comparison list is one of the best ways to do the final selection. Make sure that you provide the contractors with enough information about the type of roof you want, maintenance capabilities and desired lifespan. Be willing to listen to suggestions that they make about the roof type. They know how the Chicago weather affects roofs, and the one you want may not be the best choice. Don't feel pressured to accept an estimate, but clearly identify a time frame in which you will respond to it and follow through.
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