Installing a flat roof on your property has a large variety of benefits, from keeping roof construction cost down to creating extra green spaces, and even just being a really appealing design choice.
However, if the process goes wrong, the price can really start to add up. Because of this, trying to choose the right flat roof contractor can be incredibly overwhelming. It can be hard to know if your contractor is as much of an expert as they claim to be.
We understand this, that is why we’ve put together this guide. You can use this article as a guidebook and checklist to help you find a great contractor. We’ll talk you through all the characteristics a good contractor should have, as well as what you should expect from them before hiring them.
Look for a contractor who is upfront, reliable, and honest:
‘Hidden costs’ – these are two words that haunt the dreams of anyone who’s had to organize any building work before. Unfortunately, it’s not always avoidable if there is an unexpected incident or complications that were not initially obvious.
However, one of the major worries of hiring the wrong contractor is that the hidden costs will pile up and the job will end up costing much more than the original quote.
So how can you work out if you are dealing with an honest contractor? There are few promising clues you can look out for.
An honest contractor will be willing to enter into a strict contract. Whether it is a small or a big job, it is important to get your expectations down in writing. Any good contractor will be happy to do this. Getting quotes from and samples of the materials to be used in advance will also help you to avoid unexpected costs.
Good contractors will be happy to supply you with references from previous employers. This can be a great way for you to get an idea of how they work, and if they are right for your project.
Take notice of how reliable they are when turning up to a meeting or supplying you with quotes – do they hit the deadlines, do they turn up on time, or did they forget when your meeting was arranged for. These actions will tell you a lot about the contractor.
Look for a contractor who is flexible
Any good contractor should work with you to put together an action plan for your build. This includes talking you through your options for materials and designs, as well as being flexible when it comes to the time frame and when the work will take place.
If your contractor is very busy and can’t be hugely flexible about when they can do the work for you, this should not be a huge concern. However, if they don’t allow you to make any choices about what work they will be doing, or what materials you want them to use – that’s a major red flag. There is a difference between professional opinion and trying to get you to spend more than you need to on the work.
Look for a contractor who is approachable
Both you and your contractor should view this project as a collaboration. As you are the person/business that is going to have to experience the final product every day. So not only is it important to find a contractor who is flexible, but to employ one who you find approachable.
If you do not feel comfortable with discussing changes to the work that is being done you will most likely end up unhappy with the finished work. You can ask each contractor you enquire about how they would rate their flexibility, but the best thing to do is to talk to their previous employers.
Your contractor should offer a free quotation
It is crucial that you get your contractor to give you a free estimate or quote before employing them.
You should never have to pay for a quote. For an experienced contractor putting together a quote after they’ve asked a few questions and seen the location will take a few minutes.
Producing a quote is a method of securing contracts for their business, and should be built into their business plan. We would be very suspicious of any company asking you to pay for an upfront quote.
Your quote should be hassle-free, non-obligatory, and reasonable.
Getting this upfront quote from the contractor is not a commitment to their company on your part, and nor should the contractor take this as anything more than an inquiry.
It is within your rights to say no to a quote if you do not feel like it’s fair, or even if you got a better offer elsewhere. A contractor that makes you feel like asking for a quote is an employment offer you should stay away from. You should never be forced into a contract by a contractor.
Getting a quote from a contractor should be simple and hassle-free. Any contractor that has trouble delivering one, or makes it hard work – you should make you think twice. If getting a quote together is a struggle for them it doesn’t bode well for the large job to follow.
Get quotes from multiple providers
Whether this is a large scale project or you’re getting a new roof put on your shed, remember that the choice of contractor is important and should never be rushed.
We would recommend getting quotes from as many contractors as possible. It is important that you have an idea about what options you have. So that you can be selective and make a well-informed choice. You will find some firms promise to beat any other quote for the same job, here having more quotes can come in handy.
When narrowing down your options you should consider every element we’ve mentioned in this article, as well as looking at the price you’ve quoted. The old adage ‘you get what you’ve paid for’, is most often true – sometimes paying a little more in advance will save you money in the long run and leave you with a better result overall.
Our final tip is to never underestimate a personal recommendation. If you know anyone who’s had similar work done, ask them who installed their flat roof and what they thought of them. If they were unhappy, you know to avoid the company; if they were pleased with the work then you can bring them in to give you a quote.