Choosing a roofing contractor can be a tricky process. With so many revelations of cowboy tradesmen and rogue traders appearing on the TV, it is only natural to be cautious. This guide will help eliminate the cowboys without paying the earth for your roofing works.
1. Knowing what to avoid
You should avoid roofers that can not be traced on the Internet in some form. You should also avoid contractors that do not provide a home / office address that can be verified through some form of advertising (net / flyer / signage / ltd company check). In this age, most reputable roofing contractors will have a web presence, which will enable you to view photographs of previous work. VAT registered businesses are also a good indication of establishment, as traders staying under the 70k threshold are questionable when you consider the turnover and material costs involved in the roofing trade.
Our biggest fears in hiring a contractor are being overcharged, and hiring a poor workforce. You can avoid these issues by following the remaining points below:
2. Stay Local
Needless to say, roofing contractors will be more competitive if they are not faced with lengthyly traveling times and high fuel expenses. Staying local illiminates traveling promotions. You may also find that local businesses can provide you with drive by references. This way you can view previous work in person.
The next step is to form a shortlist of three contractors that meet the above criteria. Speaking from within the roofing trade, I would search roofers (YOUR AREA) or roofing (YOUR AREA) and base my list on contractors who provide photographic evidence of previous work. Also, look out for years of establishment and whether the contractor has insurance. Bucket and ladder roofers tend to avoid insurance as they have no obligation if they do not have any employees. If your roofing problem is flat roof related, insurance is a must. Once you have shortlisted 3 roofers that you like the look of, you are ready to move to the next step.
4. Basic Research
Many of us will not bother with this step, but it really could help in saving you a lot of money. Roofing is a competitive business and whilst many roofers are honest, the stereotype does sometimes rise to the surface. This means that some roofers may encourage you to fund repairs that are not necessarily urgent or related to your problem. A common example is encouraging a new roof, when a repair is perfectly adequate. With a little research into your problem area on the net, you can find out some core information that may help in combating persuasive contractors. Obtaining multiple quotes is also a good way of avoiding a rip-off roofer …
5. Obtain 3 quotes
Unless you are confident / happy with the first quote you receive (which is perfectly normal), you should obtain 3 quotes from local contractors. This is especially important in complete re-roofing due to the more expensive prices involved. Many would stomach a £ 50 difference, but if you are talking thousands, it is worth shopping around. We have quoted and won jobs that have been quoted triple the price by other contractors.
6. If its too good to be true, it is not true
Avoid estimates that are lower than the next by a vast margin. These contractors will either have a low standard of work, or be using the cheapest possible materials on your home. We have a healthy stream of work in correcting poor work from others. Avoid ultra low estimates.
7. Quotes, Not Estimates
Obtain quotes that detail the total cost, regardless of any mishaps. Some roofers bid low to win the job and make the money back on extras. Be aware of this.
8. Other good signs of quality contractors
- Trade memberships (such as GMC, CORC or NFRC)
LTD companies with good years of establishment
NVQ trained or training workforce
Good web / local presence
Uniform and sign-written vehicles
Pride in making previous work photographs public
Ability to provide drive-by references
– VAT registration