How to Choose a Roofing Contractor
A narrated version of this article is available at the bottom of the page
Your roof is one of the most important parts of your property and great care should be taken when choosing a roofing contractor to work on your property. Here are a few suggestions to help you decide.
We would suggest that you always use a specialist roofing contractor a general builder would be more than capable of carrying out basic roofing works but if you yourself have no knowledge whatsoever of the problem and how to rectify it then you wouldn’t be sure if the work needed would be basic or not.
Referrals are always the best way of choosing a good roofing company especially if that roofer has been recommended to you by more than one person. But we would still recommend that you follow the steps below as the job they did for your auntie Flo or your next door neighbour may have been a far simpler task than what is required on your property.
Always get at least three written estimates and be at the property to meet and discuss with the contractor, this will give you a feel for the person themselves don’t be afraid to ask the contractor any questions you are unsure of no matter how stupid or insignificant it may seem to you, if they are a professional roofer they will be able to answer all your questions.
You should expect these estimates to be reasonably detailed laying out exactly what works need to be carried out and what materials are going to be used. (To carry out works to the roof £350.00 is not acceptable) The estimate should always be on company headed paper with the correct addresses and phone numbers to support the details you already have, a few words and a price on the back of a cigarette packet will not suffice.
Should there be a discrepancy in price or suggested work to be carried out between these estimates get some more estimates the majority of roofing contractors in the same area tend to have the same pricing structure as the materials are the same cost to everybody within reason and the local labour rate will also be the same so your estimates should come back in the same price range.
If a contractor came over particularly professional and you were happy with them and they are much cheaper or much dearer than your other estimates phone them and ask them why, there could be good reason, Such as they have specified far better quality materials.
Should the suggested works in these estimates contradict each other you need to get more estimates until you find them more or less in agreement with each other that way you will end up getting the work that is required carried out and not one persons guess.
Ask the roofer how long they have been in business, what experience they have and if they have any qualifications although there are no formal qualifications in the UK for a roofer there are lots of vocational courses and a good roofing contractor will always invest in training for their staff.
Never use a roofer that has no permanent address or only has a mobile telephone number as chances are as a when a problem arises you won’t be able to get in touch with them.
Very very importantly do not use any roofing company that does not have or is not prepared to show you proof of their public and employers liability insurance. Due to the nature of the job these policies do not come cheap so chances are only the most dedicated and professional contractors will have this in place. In the unfortunate circumstances of an accident or something going wrong whilst working on your property you as the owner of the property would be liable for ensuring that these policies were in place and all responsibility could fall to you.
Ask the roofer to show you photographs and recommendations from customers of previous work that they have carried out similar to the work they are suggesting you have done. in todays world of digital cameras on mobile phones and such like any good roofing contractor will have some sort of portfolio of their work, if not there is probably a good reason why. You can’t trust photographs from a company website to actually be their own projects they could just be stock photographs.
Likewise if the roofer tells you they did that very impressive job on the corner of the high street don’t be afraid to go and knock on the door and ask, if they were unscrupulous they would take the credit for someone else’s work. If the owner of the property they are claiming to of carried the work out for was happy and impressed with their work they would be more than happy to recommend them to you.
Be wary of referral websites on the internet some of these sites are purely a marketing tool for the contractors and a cash generator for the website owners there are quite a few sites out there that the so call roofing specialist can delete any bad feedback left for them.
The same applies for trade associations and federations not all of these organisations have the customers interests at heart some are there purely to raise revenue. We would suggest you enquire to these organisations personally to find out what they would do to support you should a problem arise. But if you decide to go with a particular roofer on the strength of the organisation that they are claiming to be a member of check that they are, as only an unscrupulous roofing contractor would put that organisations logo or details on their branding in order to cheat you.
Never pay for the work to be carried out beforehand discuss with the roofing company before work starts what the payment terms are. Common practice are for an initial payment once the scaffold has been erected and the materials are on site with possibly an interim payment at an agreed point or time through the job with the balance to be submitted when the job is complete.