There are many tricks to different trades. It’s unfortunate that we have to accept that, but it is what it is, so we must be vigilant. You know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”? With the internet and thousands of information sources online, it’s now shame on you if you fall for a rip-off the first time.

Unlike other more familiar trade services, it is common to fall victim of a roofing rip-off. Especially because, roof repairs are not something that occur as regularly. Here are some ways to avoid being ripped-off.

  1. Roof repairs vs roof replacements
  2. Some roofers are likely to sell you a roof repair when what you really need is a replacement. This is because roof replacements are more expensive, and it is easier to sell a roof repair. Moreover, you are more likely to call back a few months later for another ‘repair’. Needless constant repairs are a sure way for dishonest tradesmen to make regular income. If your roof is really bad, cough up the extra cash and get a complete replacement.

  3. Beware of roofers who contact you immediately after a storm
  4. Like most unsolicited services, receiving a visit from a roofer who ‘noticed’ a broken tile on your roof is a bad idea. Professional roofers don’t go about their services in this manner. Chances are you may not see the roofer or your money again. Instead, contact professional listed services online or look in authorised trade listings such as Checkatrade or Which? Trusted Traders. Say no to “Fly-by-night” roofers.

  5. Meet to discuss the issues and establish a relationship
  6. Before commissioning any repairs or roof works, it is advisable to meet with the roofers and discuss your options in detail. Good roofers often do a preliminary inspection before they make any other requests or suggestions. During this time, ask any questions, and study your prospective tradesperson. Reliable professionals enjoy their work and are always happy to share tips. It is also good to establish the one relationship because you are less likely to be ripped-off by a familiar roofer.

  7. Don’t make any initial payments before the project starts
  8. Better roofers don’t work by collecting a deposit first. A required upfront payment is the kind of thing that gets you ripped off in the first place. There may be a multiple payment structure, but there should only be after work-phase completion. In other words, you should accept a payment structure where you pay after each work stage is complete.

  9. Study your contract carefully
  10. You often hear things like “no hidden charges”, but some of them are mere lip-service. Study your payment contract with a magnifying glass if need be. Look out for open-ended costs- they are loop-holes that dishonest tradespeople use to gype unsuspecting customers. Every item on the list should have a known cost. You could do your own market comparisons to stay informed and avoid a rip-off.

These tips will save you from a heart-ache later. Remember, it’s always better to use a renowned service with a transparent business process than try your luck with a passerby.