• Permits Protect The Homeowner

  • They Make Sure The Contractor Is Licensed

  • They Make Sure The Roofer Has No Open Violations

  • Roofing Companies Don’t Want To Pull Them To Save Money

  • Roofing Companies Don’t Want To Pull Them To Save Time

Woman Holding Road Traffic Sign

Yes, There Are Still Companies Trying To Get Away Without One

It is just stunning to hear this, but more and more we are getting customers telling us that other roofers are telling them they don’t need to even pull a permit. Worse yet, we have also heard a couple of reputable roofing companies tell the homeowner to pull their own permit! Let us start this article by telling you to absolutely never follow that advice, it can get you in a whole lot of trouble. A contractor needs to pull their own permit for a number of reasons, and anyone that tries to tell you otherwise should be hastily escorted off of your property.

The City Wants To Protect Its Residents

The goal of any city or building inspector is simple, to protect its citizens and to make sure that they have quality work done. If they let in unscrupulous contractors, within a few years the work will start to come apart and the once beautiful homes will be irreparable. That, and many times the city is terrified of getting sued so they go to extra lengths to ensure that contractors go above and beyond normal requirements.

Insurance Costs a Lot of Money

The most obvious reason that a roofer does not pull a permit is that they either do not have insurance. The city will not issue a permit without proof of valid insurance. Unfortunately, there are lots of contractors out there that have simply cancelled their policies and still use the same certificate with no real coverage. These cities do not have the time or resources to call and verify actual insurance policies, and even though this type of behavior is fraudulent, there are many contractors that still do it. The cost of insurance is astronomical in the roofing industry, averaging over $100,000 annually for a medium sized company. Lots of these smaller roofers simply could not exist if they ran things legitimately, let alone compete with pricing on their estimates. The sad thing is that many of these companies do fairly good work, but it is only a matter of time before luck catches up with them and they do some serious damage. An injured worker, or damaged home, will cause them to fold up instantly, leaving the homeowner or an employee with a lifetime of pain.

Outstanding Violations

Many cities in Michigan will do both an open roof inspection and a final inspection. The open roof inspection is meant to ensure that the proper underlayment is getting used, wood replaced, and step flashing installed. The final inspection is to address ventilation and to make sure that the shingles are installed properly. When the city finds something that they do not like, they violate the contractor. If the problem is not resolved, it shows as an open violation on the companies records and they are not able to pull any more permits until it is taken care of and the fine is paid. You would be absolutely amazed at some of the stacks of violations local roofing companies have accumulated, the stack is so thick that it literally looks like a phone book.

Time and Money

Permits are not free, and in some instances they can cost quite a bit of money. It depends on what city you are working in, but the cost can go all the way up to $500 a job. It is hard to stay competitive when this cost needs to be included in the initial quote and there are other guys out there just side stepping the entire process. However, it is money well spent for all the reasons outline above and also so that you do not have any issues if you ever try to sell your home. More then the specific cost for a permit though, you need the proper office staff to fill out all of the paperwork, schedule the inspections, apply for bond reimbursements, address any violation issues in a timely fashion, and then to physically run to the city department to apply for and pick up the permit. Talk about a waste of resources, this alone can cost a company $70,000 just in additional man power alone. Beyond anything else, we honestly believe this last reason is the biggest deciding factor for these guys out there working without permits. Hopefully, sometime in the near future these cities will follow the likes of Oak Park and Detroit by making an online portal where roofers can just pull permits online. Until then, a reputable roofing company needs to just suck it up and deal with the aggravation or they can operate outside the confines of the law. Homeowners beware, it is not worth the risk to save a couple hundred dollars by hiring a contractor that does not want to pull a permit.