Choosing a roofing and siding contractor in Des Moines is an important decision for homeowners who want to get it right the first time. The number of lawsuits filed against contractors has skyrocketed in recent years, with shoddy repairs or dishonest business practices alienating homeowners around the country.

In Iowa, those seeking a qualified roofing contractor or siding company would be well served by following a few tips when considering a contractor’s credentials, references and reputation in regards to quality customer service and skilled workmanship.

1. Insurance: Find out contractor carries general liability insurance for both commercial and residential projects. A sizable contractor will carry no less than $500,000, and usually around $1 million worth of coverage. More than three-fourths of roofing companies do not carry proper insurance coverage to protect you against losses. Ask to see a General Liability Insurance Certificate.

2. Arbitration Statement: Ask to see the arbitration statement in your contract. If complaints arise, the roofer agrees to settle disputes through binding arbitration. You have no recourse without this agreement.

3. Current References: All reputable roofers carry pre-printed lists of references, including customers from one to five years ago, as well as customers from the previous month. It’s also appropriate to ask for business references or references from suppliers.

4. Good Standing: Membership in trade associations implies some quality and ethical integrity on the part of a contractor. Associations such as the National Roofing Contractor Association as well as the Better Business Bureau are often referenced.

5. The Majors: Only use companies certified and authorized by major roofing manufacturers to install your roof system.

6. Quality Counts: Ask to review a potential contractor’s Quality Inspection Checklist. Don’t forget to request a walk through.