Finding the right tradesman can be quite a daunting process. The news and TV are awash with stories of cowboy builders and untrustworthy tradesmen. In fact, the Federation of Master Builders has warned in a new study that a third of UK homeowners put off home improvements for fear of cowboy builders getting them into financial ruin. The federation even estimates that the UK economy is losing out on £10 billion worth of work because of the issue.
However, if you need any essential roofing work done, you shouldn’t be put off by this anxiety. The vast majority of roofing specialists are highly-skilled professionals. The professional shortcomings of a minority shouldn’t colour your view of the majority of tradesmen. To help you through this, we’ve compiled a guide to hiring roof specialists that you can trust.
Qualifications, Guilds and Trade Associations to Check Before Hiring Roofing Contractors
One of the best ways to find out if a firm’s roofing service is worth their salt is to check that they are associated with recognised guilds and trade associations as well as having all the relevant qualifications.
To begin with, roofing specialists should have sufficient qualifications to be able to complete the work to a professional standard. The official recognition in the UK of tradespeople with the correct level of knowledge and skill to practise safe roofing work is a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Roofing Occupations or Roof Slating and Tiling. Another way of checking is through a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. Applicants for this card need to prove that they are qualified to work and all major contractors now require this card for a tradesperson to work on a site.
However, it’s also important to note that many tradespeople get their knowledge via experience rather than academic studying and some very experienced roofing specialists may not have this qualification. In this case, it’s worth looking up the firm rather than the individual for their qualifications and the associations that they are involved with.
The Guild of Master Craftsmen is a great place to start when checking that a company will offer a good service. To become a member of the guild, craftsmen must be vetted by a ‘Guild Assessor’. This process involves gathering testimonials from previous customers who can vouch for the quality of the work and the way in which the tradespeople acted professionally or not.
Similarly, ensuring the roofing specialist is registered with a reputable trade association or directory is another way to ratify their authenticity and quality. Checkatrade, TrustMark and FairTrades are other good places to look.
Another really important step is to check that the firm you are using has adequate public liability insurance. Often this is checked as part of becoming associated with a trade association or a trusted directory, but it’s imperative the firm is covered. Similarly, check with the company that they offer guarantees for their services. If they do, this is a sure sign that they have faith in the quality of their work and, if anything does go wrong, you have grounds for reparation.
Tips on Finding the Best Local Roofers
Once you have a raft of possible companies to complete the job at hand; all properly insured, all associated with a reputable guild and/or association and all qualified, there are some other useful tips to help whittle down the options.
Firstly, you should never underestimate the value of word of mouth recommendations. Being recommended by a friend, or a number of people, is a great indication that the firm is trustworthy. In comparison to a business that has spent a lot on local advertising or which works with other organisations to get their company a strong local presence, there is no vested interest from a friend to suggest a sub-par company. Many companies survive on their reputation and having a damaged reputation can lead to financial losses, so it’s imperative for them to ensure every customer is treated the same and given an excellent service.
Similarly, gathering a roster of recommendations from the companies you are looking to hire for the job can give you added confidence in their services, or highlight that a number of customers have not been happy. The marvels of the internet mean that you can do this without even contacting the company. Google the companies you are looking at and check out their reviews. If a company has a high quantity of reviews as well as a high average star rating, this is a great indication that they’ve had plenty of work and the majority of people have been happy with the service. If a company only has a few reviews, or they have a lot of negative reviews, it is advisable to proceed with caution.
Once you have had a few assessments from a handful of reputable companies for the work you need, it’s time to get some quotes. Before you sign or agree to anything, it’s worth gathering quotes from the companies you are thinking of employing and seeing how they compare. Of course, everyone wants to save money and get as cheap a quote as possible, however, that should not come at the expense of the experience of the tradespeople. If one company is offering you a drastically cheaper quote but it doesn’t seem like they’re as experienced or offer as full a service, then it’s definitely worth taking time to think. Make a list of the criteria that is most important to you and, if the cheapest quote doesn’t align as well, think of going elsewhere. As the old saying goes: “you get what you pay for”.
When gathering quotes, also check to see if the company offer a guarantee for the work that they will be performing. As stated earlier, this is another great indication that the company will be able to provide the right quality of work that you need. Not all companies do offer guarantees, so don’t be too put off without one, but the best companies often do.
Finally, a great big red flag to watch out for when looking for a company is if they’ve cold called you. Great companies who are busy and not lacking work rarely have to cold call to gain custom. This is the antithesis of the local word of mouth reputation mentioned earlier. If you’re being pressured into something or someone has approached you out of the blue then ask yourself why that might be. Do your checks and validate their company details in the first instance, but be wary and don’t rush into anything with a company that has cold called you. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The Qualities to Expect From Reputable Local Roofing Companies
Ascertaining whether a company has adequate roofing services is usually a lot easier than weeding out the negatives. First of all, experience is key. If a company has decades worth of experience working locally in the community, then common sense rules that they have had enough repeat business to survive: no mean feat.
Also, check out the company website to see exactly what services they offer. If the firm has a large amount of experience in a whole roster of disciplines, as well as a relatively large workforce, then they have the kind of capital and reputation to be able to diversify into other areas and hire a large number of people.
One of the things you might want to check is the kind of work they’ve done in the past. Have they worked on listed buildings? Do they work with large commercial clients as well as domestic? Do they work with a number of materials? Are they an accredited supplier of a reputable brand? All of these questions will be able to illustrate their standing in the industry and their wealth of experience.
If all of this coalesces into a good picture, then they might just be the right company to contact!
Who We Are
At AD Booth & Sons, we are a family-run roofing firm with over 50 years of experience plying our trade. Based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, we provide our expert and professional services to domestic and commercial clients based in Staffordshire, Cheshire and the surrounding area.
We value our reputation for superior customer service in the area and all of our services come with a full guarantee. Whether you need simple maintenance or an entire project completed, we will be able to provide the services that you require and complete them to a high standard or quality.
If you need emergency repairs, we’re open every day of the week and on holidays. We’re also always happy to arrange a consultation at a time that suits you and can even provide a free roof check.
Contact us for further information on all of our services. You can find us at 22A Nash street, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 6DR, call us on 01782 621 636 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.