Workmans Comp. Why does my roofer need it?


I’m in Maine, and have begun soliciting bids to re-roof my money pit. One small company I’m sort of leaning towards, has liability insurance (i’m still waiting on the certificate), but no workman’s comp. He’s a sole proprietor, and Maine law says he doesn’t need to have workers comp. Just wondering what happens if an employee of his gets hurt on my property, can I be held liable? I’ve called the WC bureau here in Augusta, but noone has returned my calls. Anyway, thanks in advance!

in NY state a sole proprietor doesnt need comp only if he has no employees. if he has employees…he needs comp. period. sole proprietorship only means he is the sole owner of the business.

marshall is correct. Ask him if he has any employee’s.

In Maine, you only need to have Worker’s Comp. if you have employees. If he’s a one man crew then it doesn’t apply to him.

He may have other people working for him & they could be subcontractors instead. A subcontractor is his or her own boss so no WC insurance is needed. They typically sub out to more than one company & is pretty common in Maine. If they are subcontractors, the should carry thier own GL insurance but the GL of the roofer you are hiring should also cover the subs.

Or, his employees could be family members. In Maine, you also don’t need to carry WC on family members.

I’ll bet it’s one of the two above because Maine is pretty strict on WC laws & would put him out of business pretty quick if he was doing something wrong.

thats just gay!!! i have to pay comp on my family members!!! stupid maine…errr maybe i should say “stupid NY”

Thanks, everyone. So it sounds like this guy is on the up n’ up. I’d really like to hire him because his bid seems fair (It’s a 20 square old cape with rafters 34" OC that needs a total tear off and reroofed). I went to Lowes on Sat and priced everything and materials come to no more than 4k plus whatever it costs him for trash removal-it would cost me $600 to haul away 3 tons, but I don’t have a clue as to what he has to pay. His bid is about $7700. All of the much larger companies around here are wanting about 10K. There’s nothing special about this roof in terms of extreme pitch or complicated valleys. This shouldn’t be such a headache!

Thanks again!!

My worry is if hes a 1 man band it will take him close to if not a week to complete the job. Time is money and i just dont beleive he just has himself it would take too long and would wear out a guy after only a few weeks. If everyone else is at 10k then maybe they should be doning the work. As far as the 4k for a 20 square job that is not close. 20 squares should cost you around 1500 dollars. with wood 7/16 osb another 600 unless there is major problems with the rafters. SOmething just does not sound right to me. Maybe its my cold.

He claims he has two workers and that it is no more than a 3 day job. He claims to have done 25 squares a day. Who knows?

My materials breakdown was as follows:

23/32 Plywood at 18.95 a panel. Since the rafters are about 35" OC, I figure to be able to get only 4x6 usage out of each panel. With 10% more added for waste, I get 92 panels. At 19 each, that’s 1748 w/o a business discount or sales tax added.
Timberline (at Home Depot) 30 yr arch shingles to match another roof on the house. 15.95 a bundle. Guy at HD said it was about 55 a square with these. 20 x 16 is 1100.
2 rolls of Grace Ice shield at 110 each = 220
6 rolls 15lb felt at 17 =102
150’ of 4.5" drip edge comes to about 50
Nails, I just put down 100
Lumber fior sistering rafter tips or wall plates (if needed), shadow board, and anything else wood-wise 500
Chimney flashing & step flashing (Couldn’t find stuff at either HD or Lowes so I figured in 200.

All that comes to 4020.

I have no idea was it would cost him to dump this stuff. Half of the house is crappy metal (aluminum) roofing installed in the 60’s, and the other half is 2 layers of asphalt shingles. A guy down the road would take all the metal roofing for free, and since it’s the wet season here, I could get a burn permit to burn all of the plank decking that needs to come off.

I don’t know…maybe my figures are way off. Anyway…here it is April 4th, and I have to go out and shovel!

He’s so cheap because he’s not paying WC. That’s what kills me up here in Maine. My best suggestion is to check some references from past customers…

i agree, no comp. ask for a certificate (current and w/ your name as the policy holder…) as well as his two subs/sons

Those numbers are way inflated. I have never done a 20 square job with materails running 4k. It just does not happen. even with wood it wont cost that. If you rafters are 35 inches you might want to check the code books since thats not legal. It does not have the ability to support weight like a normal roof would. I would suggest having an engineer look into that. That is too long of a distance.

The rafters are true, old growth, hemlock 3 x 6’s (give or take). It’s an old timber-frame construction. Circa 1880


Why are you redecking?

You will cause more problems if you do. The 1"x12" that are on there now serve a purpose. If you take them off and use 3x4" plywood you will not have the same strenght.


Why are you redecking?

You will cause more problems if you do. The 1"x12" that are on there now serve a purpose. If you take them off and use 3x4" plywood you will not have the same strenght.[/quote]

Over time,weather has gotten into the decking/framing, and there is no ventilation at all under most of the back roof. I was under there and the planks are all wet and full of white mold. I was thinking about 3/4 vs 1" and maybe I could add 2 x 6 blocking set in hangers to give a little more strength.


Maybe you should go back with planking like the original. A true 1x12" not a 3/4" board.

He hit it on the head here. I’m from Mass. here, and I can tell you that the metal roofing is good up there, especially with the span between rafters. Maines codes are pretty lenient too, from what I’ve observed on vacations up to Old Orchard Beach… you might even be able to go over that roof with metal… check with your town inspector. Either way, I would suggest a lightweight metal roof for the cheapest viable solution.

regardless, this roofer is not on the up and up, workmens comp laws appear to be somewhat universal. You can’t have employees with no workmens comp. if he has two guys coming, get their insurance certificates with you as a holder.