How to build a better relationship with your roofing clients

Roofing 780 385 In this article

Roof problems can be particularly worrying for homeowners as they can result in significant damage. Plus, as it’s difficult to see their roof and the work it needs, homeowners have to put a lot of trust in you when you’re quoting for a job. This makes it really important for your customers to have confidence in you -  it’s the key to winning their business, meeting their expectations and avoiding problems further down the line.

According to the latest Citizens Advice annual report, complaints about roofing, roof sealing and chimney repairs were one of the top three types of complaints received about goods and services in 2022/23. Trading Standards also receive the highest number of roofing-related complaints - clearly confidence in the sector as a whole could do with a boost.

At Which? Trusted Traders we ask for inspections by RISA – a body that provides independent onsite inspections for the glazing and construction industries – as a way of resolving complaints about Trusted Traders. Since March 2022, 41% of these have been for roofing work. 

Follow this advice to maximise consumer confidence in your services, and to make sure your roofing business has the best reputation possible.

Resolve complaints quickly 

It’s inevitable that things will sometimes go wrong and you’ll be left with less-than-happy customers, but how well you resolve these issues is key to setting yourself apart from your competitors. Resolving complaints as quickly as possible will save you time and money, and allow you to put them behind you and focus on the next job.

Arranging for RISA inspections can help you settle disputes and fix problems without the customer having to use an alternative dispute resolution service like the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman (DRO), or take you to court, which can drag out the process. 

These inspections can also determine whether a full survey, such as by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), is needed or not, which could save you and your customer thousands of pounds.

Be clear about the work that’s needed and why

There are lots of things you can do before you even start a job to make it more likely that customers will choose you and less likely to complain later on.

One of these things is to be as clear and transparent as possible about how you’ve determined the work required and priced the job. You can do this by:

  • clearly explaining what the problem is and what needs to be done to fix it when you visit the property
  • making the written quote as detailed as possible, including information on exactly what work you’re going to do, how many days labour is required and its cost, as well as the cost of materials
  • providing photos or videos of the areas of the roof that need to be repaired. You can then take photos or videos of the completed work once it’s done, which can be invaluable for helping to resolve disputes if they arise
  • setting expectations about how quickly the problem is likely to be fixed. For example, if you’re repairing a leak you might need to try a number of things over more than one visit before it’s resolved, so make this clear and list what you think are the possible causes you’ll need to explore and why
  • explaining any testing you do to identify the problem, such as water testing to find the source of a leak
  • if you have the budget, using a drone to inspect the roof for problems and take pictures (but make sure you comply with the rules for flying drones)

Be honest about what’s possible

If you don’t think you can fix the problem or more extensive work is needed than the customer is prepared to do, say so and offer an alternative solution, or don’t take on the job. 

You might be asked to take on work that other traders have refused to do – for example, patching up a roof when another trader has advised that it should be replaced. If you decide to take this on, be clear that it’s only a temporary solution and that further work will be needed to fix the problem long term.

Keep the customer updated throughout the job

In some cases, you may find that more work is needed than you originally quoted for once you start the job, which you’ll need to charge more for. Let the customer know as soon as possible and give them a revised quote to make sure they’re still happy to go ahead. This will avoid them getting a nasty surprise when you invoice them.

Become accredited and share evidence that you can be trusted

Buy With Confidence is a scheme through which Trading Standards vets and approves businesses. Along with Which? Trusted Traders, it helps consumers choose reliable traders that offer a quality service.

With roofing being one of the sectors that Trading Standards receives the most complaints about, it’s increasingly important for businesses to be able to quickly show potential customers they are honest, trustworthy and provide strong customer service,’ says Tim Isaac, Operations Group Manager at the Buy with Confidence Trading Standards Partnership.

‘While many businesses turn to online reviews to help with this, consumers are becoming increasingly wary of review sites due to instances of bias and manipulation.

‘However, there are still things roofers can do, such as obtaining independent, trusted accreditations like Buy With Confidence or Which? Trusted Traders. 

‘Companies can also help themselves by making it easy for potential customers to find evidence of any professional qualifications they have, as well as things like proof of public liability insurance, and, if applicable, a waste carrier's licence. These things can make a big difference in putting customers' minds at ease.’

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