If you are like most homeowners in the Des Moines area, you need roof work done only a few times in your life. When you do need help, you ask yourself, “How do I choose a roofing contractor?” Nobody expects you to be an instant expert on selecting the right roofing contractor. Here are 10 signs telling you that you picked the best. 

1. Paperwork

The better roofing contractors have all the required local licenses and proper insurance. Van Weelden Company, for example, holds Iowa Contractor License #C100881 through the Iowa Division of Labor, and we are proud to say so.  If you ask a prospective roofer for a license number and proof of insurance, listen carefully to the response:

  • “For this work, you don’t need a license.”
  • “Sure, sure, we can show you all that when we come back to do the job.”
  • “Oh, you can trust us. We have everything we need.”

Ask for evidence of workers compensation insurance, liability insurance, and that state contractor license. 

2. Training

Make sure the roofer has training in the roof system you currently have, or the type of roof you are investing in. Every manufacturer offers factory training (that is, crews visit the factory for hands-on training in the roofing system), but not every contractor trains the crew.  

3. Crews

Some roofers cruise through the parking lots of big-box home improvement stores to find day crews to perform roofing work. You do not want that. You want people who have been with a company day in, day out, and know how to work together as a cohesive crew. 

Similarly, you do not want storm chasers. These are roofers who swoop in for quick insurance work after a storm, then disappear. They leave behind half-hearted roofing jobs and disappointed homeowners. 

4. Address

The best roofer? The one you can call or visit if you have the need to follow up. What good is a post office box if you need to rattle the front door? Look for a roofer with a local, physical address.

For example, Van Weelden Company works from 305 NW 48th Place, right here in Des Moines. 

The same roofer should have a long history of work in your area. Our fine company serves the fine people of these areas:

  • Des Moines
  • Clive
  • Ankeny
  • Waukee
  • Windsor Heights
  • West Des Moines
  • Urbandale
  • Altoona
  • Ames

5. Customers

A neighbor’s positive comments are often enough for a homeowner to trust a roofer. Customer reviews and references you can contact are signs of the best roofing contractor. 

When a roofer gives you a list of local recent jobs, take a tour! Go see the roofs your prospective contractor has done. Ask the people you trust —friends, extended family, and neighbors — for their recommendations. 

6. Calls

Good two-way communication is a sign of a conscientious contractor. Does your prospective roofer answer questions clearly? Does the potential contractor return telephone calls promptly? 

If all you ever hear is a voicemail menu or answering service, be wary. How important are you to that contractor? 

7. Site

The roofing company’s sales representative has to do more than provide an estimate over the telephone. A site visit is essential. Expect the representative to:

  • Go into the attic
  • Go up on your roof
  • Check your gutters

The representative should take notes and photographs, then discuss any concerns with you. Any contractor who offers sight-unseen estimates should be ignored.

8. Money

No worthy contractor asks for full payment upfront, before the job. If the contractor is in a desperate cash flow crunch, that should make you nervous.

If the contractor asks for full payment, what guarantee do you have that you will ever see a roofing crew? None. Typically, a third of the estimate is due before the job. 

9. Scope

An estimate should include a scope of work, a line-by-line detailed description of what the roof job will involve. This means everything from a small repair to a full roof replacement is spelled and costed out.

10. Fair

What is a fair price to pay for roofing work in the Des Moines area? How do you adjust for superior customer service and years of expertise? 

Home Advisor gives a reroofing cost range of $5,348 to $10,695, but that has no relationship to your roof. By getting three estimates from three reliable, local roofers, you have a good chance of selecting a contractor offering a fair price. 

A roofer with a sterling work history and fast crews is usually worth the extra money. 


Ten checkpoints make for a long list. We can save you time, money, and heartache. Contact us at Van Weelden Company and be assured you will have the absolute best local contractor for your residential roofing needs. We offer fair prices, highly trained crews who work together every day, and superior customer service.