Top tips for choosing a roofer in Bristol
Searching for a roofing contractor to carry out some important work on your roof? Here are our top tips for choosing a roofer in Bristol to help you find an, honest, reliable and skilled company to complete the job for you without any hassle.
Ask your friends and family for their recommendations. This is the best way to hear honest reviews about contractors, because people close to you are unlikely to hold back on their opinions. If you hear from more than one source that a certain contractor is always late or their workmanship is shoddy, that should be a red flag to avoid them. Even if their prices are really low.
You might consider asking your neighbours for their recommendations too, particularly as they likely have the same, or similar, type of roof.
Choose a Specialist
Look for contractors who specialise in the type of work you require. Do you need a commercial roofer for business premises, a contractor with extensive experience of repairing leaks, or someone who specialises in repairing tiled roofs? Check out our list of most common causes of roof repairs to see if you recognise any of the symptoms. Feel free to ask the contractors for evidence that they’ve completed jobs similar to yours. And if you have any doubt about their ability, walk away.
An honest contractor will always say no if they are not able to safely and skilfully complete the job.
Check Their Background & History
With so many reports of shady ‘tradesmen’ charging huge sums of money upfront and then disappearing mid-job, it’s no surprise people are nervous about hiring anyone. The best thing you can do to allay your concerns is simply check out any potential contractor’s history. Here’s how to do just that:
- Ask for references or testimonials from happy former clients
- Check the website, phone number and the address of the business
- Look online for reviews or news reports about the company
- Ask if they’re a member of any reputable trade bodies (but do note that not belonging to a trade organisation does not necessarily imply shady business practices)
"Hire contractors from your local area"
Do They Have Insurance?
Roofing is a trade that carries many risks, none of which you want to be liable for. That’s why it is so important to make sure that whoever you hire has full and comprehensive insurance, and that the insurance is valid for the duration of the time they are working for you.
Your roofer should also be trained in all aspects of health & safety, and have up-to-date qualifications to prove it.
Don’t Automatically Choose the Lowest Quote
It can be so tempting to choose the contractor with the lowest prices, especially on huge, costly projects like a full re-roofing. When choosing the right roofer, affordability is of course important and you don’t want to feel as though you’re being ripped off. But cheapest isn’t always best and you shouldn’t base your choice on this. Instead, base it on the experience and reputation of the contractor – you should feel confident that they are able to complete the job well, and on time.
Request Quotes/Estimates in Writing
Once you’ve found three contractors you feel are trustworthy and well-equipped to complete the job, you can ask for quotes. The contractor should want to inspect the property in person as it’s difficult to quote an accurate price without seeing the scale of the work.
Always ask for any quotes or estimates in writing. And request that the quote include the cost of materials and scaffolding so there are no hidden costs.
Ask For a Written Proposal
So you’ve finally found your contractor and are ready to proceed with the job, but be sure to get a detailed proposal or contract written up first!
This doesn’t have to be anything too formal, but it should make clear the start date and estimated date of completion, estimated costs (as per the quote) and payment agreements. Then have it signed by the contractor and sign it yourself.
For larger jobs, a more detailed contract may be necessary, this should include:
- What happens in the event of extra charges
- The hours the trader will be working, and if they will be working weekends
- How rubbish will be disposed of and whether or not this is included in the overall cost
- What happens in the event of prolonged adverse weather
- What materials will be used, who supplies them, and whether or not they come with a guarantee
- What will happen in the event of work not meeting required standards
You may choose to include other information as you see fit. Keep the contract simple and jargon free, just make a record of the agreed actions and sign it. This will protect both you and the contractor should anything go wrong.
"Check out a contractor's history"
So there you have it, our top tips for choosing a roofer in Bristol. As a bonus, we’ll finish with this: the red flags you should look out for when hiring a roofing contractor. If you spot any of these, seek an alternative tradesman immediately:
- No fixed address or landline phone number
- They won’t provide you with references from previous jobs
- All the reviews online are positive (they may be fakes)
- They request full payment up-front
- Or only accept payment in cash
- They won’t provide a written estimate or sign a contract
- They have no insurance
- They’ve ever appeared on Rogue Traders…
PJ Roofing are always happy to provide testimonials from satisfied clients before undertaking any work on your property. And we’ll be open, honest and upfront about what types of work we’re experienced in – even if that means not getting the job. So contact us today for a free, no-obligation chat about your roofing requirements.