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How To Compare Estimates For Roofing

Aug 17, 2007
How do you decide which roofing contractor to use based on the estimates that you have got? It's easy enough calling a few and asking them for an estimate. But once you have it, how do you choose? You have to start even before you get the estimate. When you ask a contractor for an estimate, tell him you would like a very detailed one. It is only if you have this that you will be able to take an informed decision. Also keep references of the contractor at hand. The best way would be to get references from him, call up the party and ask what they think about him. This is the ammunition you are going to work with.

Don't go straight for the lowest bid. (Of course, you might choose him eventually, but don't jump in and select him on that basis before you have examined all the factors.) Take a look at the various important areas in the estimate and compare one with another on each point. First of all, look at the material used and how much it costs. The estimate should ideally state all the materials that are going to be used. If one estimate is considerably lower than the others, it could be that the material that has been costed for is of a quality that is inferior to the others. This may sound good to you but are you sure that it will last as long as the others? It would help if you decided right in the beginning that you will not sacrifice quality at the altar of price.

Check to see if the contractor has estimated the correct quantity of materials. This could be a bit difficult as most of us have no idea how much of what you will need. You could perhaps check this online in a forum or try and call someone who knows who can give you a ballpark figure once he knows the area to be done. Some people could give you an estimate per running foot which might make it easier for you to judge. Pay attention to the sealants and insulation that are estimated too as these have to be of acceptable quality. Do remember it means not just a long-lasting product you will be looking at here but something that could be power-saving as well. Thicker insulation material could mean lower heating and air-conditioning costs. This is because your roof then allows less cold or heat into your home. These costs could add up to a lot in the long run.

Does the labor factor in the estimate seem too high? Most contractors who employ trained and certified labor do tend to cost higher in this area. Do check to see if this is the case. Or if all of them have trained labor and one is charging higher. This could also reflect whether or not the labor is insured or not. It would help to pay a bit extra and get labor where all the insurance has been looked after by the contractor or firm you will be employing. This would save you a fortune just in case there is a mishap while your work is being carried out.

Check for transport, pass-through and miscellaneous cost as well. Very often, this is where there is a lot of 'plumping up' done. Ask for the specific break down especially if you feel that the cost for transporting the materials seems too much. Find out from where the materials have to be brought from and do your own calculations.

Once you've made all the comparisons against these various parameters, use your notes to take a practical decision of which person will be best suited for the job. Let it be a logical decision, one that flows from the notes before you.
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