Help with deciding on whether to hire a roofer as a side job

We need a new roof on our rancher-- 2 layers, no leaks yet but our home inspector suggested we replace within a year or two of purchase and we are into our 3rd. I’ve had 5 companies come out and been able to narrow it down to 2… both master elite roofers, been in business for 15+ years, reputable, all that good stuff. Both in the $8500 range.

However, husband now has a new plan: hire a friend of his brothers… who does roofing for a living… but to hire him as a side job, saving us about half. The guy is stopping by tonight to take a look and answer my questions. After speaking at length to the other companies and doing some googling after, to see which things really do seem important to me, (30# felt vs 15#, snow country attic vents, timberline architechtural shingles, weather watch leak barriers around all the eaves-- one of my guys says it’s “code” for us to have 2 rows of this stuff, nobody else agrees, aluminum step flashing and chimney counter flashing in brown to match roof)…I have concerns as to why the cost will be half with this guy. What corners will be cut. And much more importantly, is it worth saving this money at the risk of hiring someone who will be performing this work without insurance coverage. If he falls off the roof and sues us, the cost will obviously become much greater in the long run! Not that I think it’s likely but things happen and if it were a smaller job, great. But a roof is a huge deal and I feel much more comfortable hiring a reputable company with all the necessary insurance and workers comp and all that good stuff.

Husband and I are butting heads here obviously. He is only concerned with the bottom line so it’s up to me to ask all the questions I want answers to, and most of the things I listed above are things he couldn’t care less about “this guy does roofing for a living, he will do it right and everything will be fine, stop worrying”, that sort of thing.

So I will ask the questions and see how I feel BUT my biggest question here is, would you hire someone to do a roof as a side job?

I wasn’t budging on the insurance part so husband said he verified that this roofer will sign a waiver stating that if anything happens, he won’t sue. Somehow this doesn’t settle me much as I’m sure there would be a lot of loopholes if indeed something did happen, and I’m not sure this little waiver we type up would be sufficient.

Anyone have any insight to offer here? I’d be very greatly appreciative…

Thanks very much in advance,

I’ve been in roofing business over 20 years specifically commercial! But I do believe I’m qualified on this one, when I tell you there’s no way your getting quality job at half the price for anything!!! I would definitely not use a " friend of a friend" you are looking for trouble and headache!! I tell people all the time, your either going too do it right or your going too do it cheap… You can’t do both… Hope this helps

Thanks Ronald.
That has been my view on all of it so far but husband isn’t hearing it. Says the roofer can charge half because he’s doing it on the side so only has to pay himself, and that many of the little things that are in our bigger quotes (the things I listed above) aren’t really necessary as far as specific brands and whatnot… that this guy does roofs all day every day and knows exactly what he’s doing and I’m just being “fooled” by the other contractors into unnecessary worry. For what it’s worth I don’t even know what company his brother’s guy works for… he may very well be a great roofer and have planty of experience. I guess I will have to ask him straight out what corners will have to be cut to get us this deal, and compare apples to apples with the quotes I have here… then if his answers seem sufficient I will have to decide if I trust him to follow through on those things, since I obviously have no idea what’s actually being done up there once he starts. And that’s all IF I feel ok about the no-insurance thing, which I really don’t.

I’m really quite over it all to be quite honest. Marriage can really be challenging sometimes ; )

I doubt you will get anyone here to recommend going with an unlicensed roofer on a roofing forum. However, I would be lying if I said I never did side work for “friends of friends” before I started my own company and did better work than most “legit” companies. Sure, I could do it cheaper but never “half price”. Material cost is probably half the price of the job. Looking back I was rolling the dice just as much as the homeowners I worked for not having insurance and such and I would never do it again.

Most likely the roofer can charge half because he has only himself to share the pay with. Maybe he is into freelancing. If he has a few clients to back up his expertise, you can give him a try. But having a roofer from a reputable company will give you more assurance and definitely peace of mind. :grinning: