How to find the best roofing contractor in Oxford (or anywhere)
My Top Tips for hiring a roofing contractor
Before you start do some research on the internet about the roofing materials which are available. There are many types of roofing materials available clay or concrete tiles, slate, roofing shingles, and roofing felts for flat roofs, and and the choice of material will affect the overall budget. For example clay tiles are generally more expensive than conrete tiles. You may also be affected by the type of roofing materials in neighbouring properties. With this knowledge you won’t be going cold into discussions with a contractor about materials to be used.
Start asking friends, neighbours and work colleagues about who they would recommend as a contractor. They may have direct experience of roofing contractors or they may know someone who has such expereince. if they do know about a contractor ask whether the contractor completed the job as expected, and whether they would hire them again. Ask whther they were couryeous and polite. Local Builders’ supply shops, DIY shops and estate agents amy also have some knowledge of possible contractors you can hire. Try not just going to Yellow Pages and picking a contractor at random. In asking for referrals make sure that the job done is comparable with the job you have planned
Contact the contractor. What was your first impression of the contractor? Was the contractor pleasant and courteous? Did the contractor return your call promptly? Did the contractor set up an appointment with you within a reasonable time (usually within 24 hours)? Ask relevant questions such what employer’s liability and insurance they have, how long have they been in business, do they have a particular specialty, how many employees? If time is a priority for you, ask how soon a project could be started.
Meet the contractor and discuss the options. First of all clarify whether you need a complete new roof or whether a repair job is adequate. if it’s a whole new roof discuss the options on roofing materials to be used. Ask the contractor the following questions:
– What warranty will they give? Will they provide a warranty on both parts and labour? How long will the warranty last. For a new roof you would expect a warranty of at least 10 years
– Do they specialise in residential or commercial roofing work?
– How long will the job take? A roof can be replaced in a week or in even less time if they have a large and well organised workforce
– How long have they been in business? Normally you would want one with at least 5 years experience
– What type of roofing styles and colours will they offer? This is where your initial research about roofing materials will come in handy.
– How much will the roofing job cost? Get a written estimate. In talking to diiferent contractors make sure that each estimate is based on the same information so that you are comparing like with like
– What steps will they take to ensure the minimum of disruption while the job is done and to ensure that everything is cleaned up before they leave?
– What steps will they take to ensure the safety of their employees while on your property and the safety of anyone in the vicinity of your property?
– What liability and employer insurance do they have? Get it in writing.
– Do they offer financing schemes or payment through credit card? Will they give discounts for cash payment? How much do they want upfront and how much as each milestone is reached?
– What references will they give for recent and comparable work?
Get this information and a written estimate from at least three contractors. Make sure that the estimates contain the same quality materials; some times the lowest bid is not using the same quality materials.
Do not automatically pick the cheapest estimate. Also if one estimate is significantly higher than the others the chances are that the contractor may not want your business because he is up to his eyes already in work.
Check the references which each contractor has given you. Ask the key questions of the referees. Were the jobs completed to their satisfaction and would they use the same contractor again?
Once you have made your decision, sign a written contract with the contractor. Ensure that the contract specifies the work to be done, total cost, payment schedule, start date and estimated completion date and a written warranty. Make sure the contract includes the roofing materials and the brands and colours to be used and any additional work such as replacing guttering. Make sure the contract specifies that the contractor is responsible for cleanup when the job is done and the removal of all waste materials.