Cowboy Roofer

No one likes to be ripped off. If you’re a regular viewer of TV Show ‘Fair Go’ you would of seen plenty of examples of hardworking kiwis being ripped off on a fairly regular basis and the offender getting away with it!

Unfortunately, this will continue to happen because people don’t do enough checks prior to hiring and handing over a large deposit for work which is never completed.

Here are some basic tips to help safeguard you from a ‘Cowboy roofer‘.

  • Cowboy Roofers often turn up in an unmarked vehicle without any company branding such as their business name and/or logo and clearly visible contact details. Nowadays, it is odd for any tradesman to not advertise their company branding on their vehicle. Is it because they have something to hide perhaps? Take this as your first warning sign.
  • No online presence. Having a professionally designed website and/or Facebook page are marketing essentials for any business, especially tradesman. If a Cowboy Roofer turns up to your house with only a basic looking business card with scant details and no website or Facebook page listed, odds are this isn’t the person or company you should be doing business with.
  • A lack of knowledge. It’s always good to ask lots of questions upfront to see if your roofer can give you clear and honest answers. This shows how much knowledge and experience they possess. You only want to do business with someone you can trust, so if they don’t sound convincing, trust your instincts and try another company. Getting at least three quotes is a good starting point during your selection process.
  • Verbal or written references are a great way to get independent feedback about a roofing company’s previous jobs. So, don’t hesitate to ask for these upfront. Any reputable roofing company will be able to give you at least 3-4 references from various clients. Contact all the references and ask them questions relevant to the job they carried out. Were they punctual? Did they do a good job? Did you get good value for money? It won’t take long for you to get a decent idea whether your dealing with a professional roofing company or not.
  • No written quotes or asking for payment in cash only. Cowboy Roofers will always try to get you to pay either for the full amount or a large deposit upfront. It is standard practice to pay up to 50% of the cost of your roof or repair job as a deposit, but if your only happy to pay for 10% or 20% upfront, let them know. Negotiate this with them. If they’re keen to do your job, they’ll make a  compromise. If not, it might pay to try another roofing company. Never pay more than 50% upfront. And NEVER PAY FOR THE FULL COST OF YOUR ROOF UPFRONT! Too many people still do this and end-up being ripped off. Keep in mind, that if the Cowboy Roofer asks for cash payments, they’re most likely not paying their taxes. So, what does that say about the integrity and professionalism of  them and their business? If they are cheating on paying their taxes, most likely they’re cut corners on your roofing job.
  • Cowboys Roofers target the elderly, single women, and homes that they believe can afford to hand over cash to have a ‘problem’ fixed on their roof. Unfortunately, fast talking con-artists prey on the communities most vulnerable. Reach out to your your neighbours, especially seniors, if you think the tradesman, they’re dealing looks suspicious. Trust your instincts.
  • Only hire a roofing company with current Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs). LBPs are qualified roofers and builders who have been assessed as competent to carry out building work essential to the structure or weathertightness of residential buildings. Holding a LBP licence allows roofers and builders to carry out or supervise Restricted Building Work (RBW), which includes important and critical residential building work (including design work). If you are not licensed, you are not able to carry out RBW and it is an offence (with a fine of up to $20,000) for an unlicensed building practitioner to carry out RBW unless they or someone supervising their work is appropriately licensed.Aside from the right to carry out RBW, LBPs prove to the public and potential clients that they meet a minimum standard of competency in their licensed area.This allows clients to have confidence in your knowledge and skill and raises you above an unlicensed building practitioner. LBPs are listed on the Public Register.