Avoid the cowboys

How to avoid cowboy roofers

The roofing industry has long been a hive of rogue traders, dodgy repairs and unscrupulous con-men.

Most of the repair work is hidden or simply hard to check, and customers have has to trust that work has been completed satisfactorily while handing over large sums of money.

After seeing so many bad workmanship and simply work that hasn’t been completed we at Synergy Roofing have put together a small guide to help you avoid the cowboys and pick a professional and competent roofing company.

Try following these tips:

  • offers very cheap quotes or estimates – this could mean they are a cowboy, or could not be experienced enough to give accurate figures
  • is unwilling to put a quote or estimate in writing – this could mean they don’t intend to stick to it
  • is unwilling to offer references
  • is too keen to start the job straight away – cowboy roofers often do lots of work in one area before moving out of the area altogether. They often leave very poor or unfinished work behind and are impossible to track down
  • is unwilling to offer you details about their business – for example an address or landline number
  • claims to be in a trade association when they are not – you should always check if the roofer does belong to the trade association. If they don’t, it means they’re dishonest and probably committing a criminal offence
  • claims to work for a company with a good reputation when they don’t – check they work for who they say they do. If they don’t, this means they’re dishonest and you’d be better off not using them
  • doesn’t offer you a contract, or doesn’t sign the one you give them
  • asks for money up front -a reliable roofer won’t ask you to do this, not even if they need materials. If they run a business, they should have enough money to cover these costs themselves and only ask for payment once they’ve completed the job, or done a reasonable amount of work
  • gives a detailed quote and schedule of work but then not follow it
  • doesn’t charge VAT when they should – if they are a small or new trader, they may not need to register or pay VAT. It depends on how much work they do in a year. If they should be registered, they could be avoiding paying it, to save money and charge less than others. This is dishonest and against the law
  • only accepts cash -if a roofer only offers to accept a cash payment, they could be acting dishonestly by saving on paying out for VAT

Also, check that the roofer knows his obligations:

  • all traders in the UK should be a member of CITB – as for their membership number
  • all roofers must adhere to BS5534 – this became law in 2015, ask them to explain what it is
  • all works large or small must have RAMS (Risk Assessment / Method Statement)
  • all works large or small must adhere to CDM 2015
  • all works large or small must have a Construction Phase Plan

Ask for evidence of these – if the roofer doesn’t know what your talking about this is a big warning sign.