At least once a year you should have the roof and rainwater goods of your property checked over by a competent and professional roofing contractor. Many people in homes and businesses never think to do this until it is too late which can mean the costly exercise of having to have a new roof when some simple maintenance could have eliminated that need.

Deciding which roofing contractor to use can be a tricky business, regardless of whether you want them to complete a simple roof maintenance job or plan a more exacting roofing project.

But while every job is different, there are some general tips that you can follow when choosing a roofer:

1) Pick a roofing contractor who has several years experience and a number of accreditations. In the UK, these accreditations include NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) and Masterbond Warranty status.

2) Ask to see the roofer’s credentials. A reputable roofer will be happy to show you certificates of registration of membership to accredited bodies.

3) Make sure that your roofer does a thorough inspection before he starts recommending any further roofing work. This inspection should include hidden areas such as the back of a chimney stack or a high level flat roof. Other places the roofer might check include the insides of gutters.

4) Get a quote or estimate in writing. This roofing quote should include proposed works, prices and a realistic completion date. Reputable roofers will also be able to provide a choice of materials and services.

5) Get referrals. Ask your friends and family who they have used to carry out their roofing work. Other tradespeople and building merchants are also good sources of referrals for roofers.

6) Ignore the roofer who knocks on your door. If someone comes to your home and tells you that he or she has noticed that your roof is in need of repair, there’s a good chance they’re pulling a fast one. If you do want to pursue the opportunity, however, make sure that you ask for contact details such as a business address and telephone numbers. A company registration or VAT number would also be good evidence that this person is legitimate.

7) Think twice about cut-price deals. The roofer that quotes half the price of his competitors may be using sub-standard quality materials or willing to cut corners.