The dos and don’ts of putting your roofing installation project out to tender

For many of us, our home is our most valuable asset, financially and probably emotionally, too. It makes sense, therefore, that if work needs to be carried out, we want trustworthy, experienced, and reliable tradies on site.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

There are some sensible steps homeowners can take to try and mitigate that risk.

First of all, are you sure you really need a new roof?

Depending on the circumstances (e.g., if you’re seeking to extend the roof’s life by only a short period), cleaning, moss kill, repairs and remediation could be appropriate.

The red flags to be aware of before you choose your roofer

Once confirmed that you want /need to go ahead, there are several things to watch for.

Demanding payment in advance
Potentially, the contractor may start the job but leave it unfinished, and since they’ve been paid in full, there’s little incentive to return. Worse, they could disappear before any work begins.

‘Cheap-as’ deals
If a price is far lower than other quotes you’ve received, you need to ask yourself why. What materials will be used, who will be carrying out the work, and what guarantees and warranties are included?

No online presence
Every legitimate business, even a start-up, should have some sort of digital footprint, be it a standalone website or active social media threads, showcasing their team and their work, endorsed by testimonials.

No reputation
Word of mouth is recognised as the strongest form of referral or recommendation. If no one’s heard of the company you’re considering, you may want to think again.

No response to poor reviews
Look, we can’t have our best day every day. Sometimes, things go pear-shaped. But how a business responds to less-than-positive comments can be very telling.

‘How should I prepare for the installation of my new roof?’

Start with a realistic mindset.

Any work on your property’s roof will be stressful – even if you’ve engaged a highly recommended and skilled team. The weather will almost certainly cause delays of one sort or another. There may be temporary watertightness glitches. You’ll be sick of the sight of the scaffold. The noise will get on your nerves – and you’ll be fed up with having people on your property.

And whilst not part of any deliberate plan to annoy customers, Roof Design and Management (RDM) frequently hears complaints about poor communication, thoughtless or anti-social behaviour on site, and generally not treating a customer’s property with respect.

‘How can I find the best company for my roofing project?’

There are a couple of ways you can try to find a reputable company charging an appropriate price.

You could ask friends or neighbours for their recommendations. You’ll almost certainly get an honest opinion, and you can see the quality of work for yourself.

Or, you could do an Internet search and meticulously sift through the results, giving particular attention to customer reviews on the likes of Google, NoCowboys, and Facebook. You could then select a few that you feel are most appropriate for your job, property type, and location, and request quotes from them.

If you’ve done your research, three quotes should be a fair reflection of the market.

It might be tempting to ask for ten quotes (or more), but this won’t necessarily benefit you. Roofers talk to each other. You could receive several “cover quotes” (also called “shadow quotes”) from companies that don’t want the job.

Alternatively, you could ask the Roofing Association of New Zealand to find a few potentials from whom you can request quotes.

There’s no guarantee that a RANZ member will do everything perfectly 100 per cent of the time – indeed, no business could ever claim this. However, by signing up to the association, roofing companies demonstrate their commitment to high industry standards. To quote the RANZ website:

RANZ members pass stringent criteria to gain membership status. RANZ works on behalf of its members to develop industry communication, regulation, training and more, for improvement in housing quality and the industry as a whole.

Plus, if things do go awry, RANZ offers a disputes service. There are also tips about how to try and de-escalate a situation before it gets to that stage.

‘How can Roof Design and Management help with my roofing project?’

If you’re unsure whether to replace or repair your existing roof, you could engage RDM to inspect it and provide a statement of condition. The observations in RDM’s reports are fact-based and objective.

Further down the line, you could use RDM to appraise the quotes you receive. We’ll ask for these to be anonymised (i.e., for the names of the companies to be removed) so we can comment without bias.

In either instance, RDM’s fees are based on an hourly rate, not a percentage of any subsequent roofing project. RDM’s sole purpose is to provide our clients with the details they need to make an informed decision about how to proceed.