Gathering roofing estimates and quotes is the first step in the budget-planning process for a roof replacement. What are the details that should be included in a roofing quote? And how can you tell if the final price is too good to be true?
StormROOF Systems, LLC, your trusted roof repair and storm damage specialist, explains in this guide.
Roofing Estimates vs Quotes
It’s important to know the difference between a roof estimate and a roofing quote. They’re sometimes used interchangeably, but there’s a key difference between the two: quotes are more detailed than estimates, and once you sign them, they become binding contracts. Estimates, on the other hand, are just educated guesses; the actual project costs are, on average, 10 to 15 percent higher or lower than the estimate.
What to Look for in a Roofing Quote
- Material and labor costs – The contractor should include a detailed breakdown of the material and labor costs—lump sums aren’t good enough. For instance, the breakdown of the material costs should include the type and brand of the roofing material used should be included to justify the costs. When comparing estimates, keep in mind it’s not uncommon to see differences in the material costs, which may vary depending on your area. Other details you should look for in the breakdown of labor costs include the costs of tearing your old roof, disposing of construction debris, and renting a dumpster (where they’ll store the debris) and heavy equipment.
Important note: It’s standard practice for contractors to handle the clean-up of debris after a roof repair or replacement project. However, it’s important to clarify details such as these with your contractor before the start of your project.
- Scope of work – The scope of the contractor’s responsibilities should be outlined in the estimate.
- Project timeline – The contractor should also include the timeline for the roof replacement or storm damage repairs. Keep in mind this timeline isn’t final, so the dates might change.
- Payment information – The due dates for payments and the different payment methods accepted by the contractor should be included in the estimate. Look for a provision for you to hold back making the final payment in the event you find the contractor’s workmanship unsatisfactory.
- Contact info – The contractor should include address, phone number and email address, which will come in handy if you need to contact them.
- Insurance info – You should hire a contractor with worker’s insurance. Otherwise, you might be held liable for any workplace injuries that happen on your property.
Why You Should Be Wary of Exceedingly Low Roofing Bids
At first, hiring the contractor with the lowest bid might make financial sense. However, it’s likely to cost you more in the long run. It’s not uncommon for less experienced contractors to offer exceedingly low bids to attract more customers. The problem with hiring inexperienced roofers is that they’re prone to making potentially costly installation errors. Remember: if the roofing estimate is too good to be true, then it probably is.
Aside from a lack of professional experience, what are the other things that can lower the roof estimate?
- Lack of insurance – The contractor may be lacking other essential requirements, such as workers’ insurance. Without any insurance premiums to pay, they can offer lower roofing bids.
- Lack of warranties and after-sales support – Contractors who don’t offer installation warranties are able to offer lower roofing bids than roofers who do.
- Low-quality roofing materials – A roofing bid might have lower material costs because the contractor uses low-quality or off-brand roofing materials that won’t last long. Remember: when in doubt about the quality of roofing shingles, it’s best to stick to reputable brands such as GAF®.
- Deliberate underbidding – The contractor may have deliberately underestimated the number of hours needed to complete a roof installation. Labor costs are a significant roofing cost, so underbidding can significantly lower the estimate. However, this practice gives you an unrealistic roofing estimate. Not to mention this gives you an idea of the level of customer service you can expect from a contractor.
- Roofing scams – Low roofing estimates, alongside shoddy workmanship, are one of the trademarks of a storm chaser. They’re roofers from out of state that take advantage of stressed homeowners by offering low estimates. They go door to door, offering to fix storm-damaged roofs. You should never hire a storm chaser. For starters, no professional contractor would go door to door offering their services. Storm chasers are focused on maximizing their profits and fixing as many roofs as they can, so it’s no surprise that the quality of their work is very low.
What about the factors that can increase the roofing estimate?
- Specialized equipment – High-end roofing contractors often use specialized equipment and have higher overhead costs.
- Hidden costs – These usually include permit costs.
- Price of roofing materials – As mentioned earlier, the price of roofing shingles may vary depending on your area.
While it’s important to stay within your budget, you shouldn’t get too preoccupied with the costs. When planning a budget for a roof replacement, what you need to focus on is maximizing the returns on your investment. A professional roofing contractor can help you make the most of a roof replacement.
Here are some vetting tips to help you find a roofer:
- Focus your search on contractors near your area – To quickly narrow down your options, limit your search to roofing contractors near you. Hiring local roofing contractors has its advantages. For starters, local roofing contractors can make better recommendations because they’re more familiar with the local climate and building codes. Not to mention local roofers are known for their personalized service. They have a reputation to uphold within their community, after all.
- Ask local references – To further narrow down your choices, ask your friends and neighbors if they’ve ever hired one of the local contractors for a roof inspection or a roof replacement project.
- Check online reviews – Online reviews should give you a good idea of the level of customer service you can expect from a contractor. Keep in mind that a few negative reviews aren’t necessarily a red flag. After all, miscommunication can happen sometimes. What you should focus on is the contractor’s response to online complaints. Did the contractor take the time to address customer complaints? And if they did, was it done in a professional manner?
- Check their certifications – Certifications are proof a contractor has undergone additional training to update their skill set, which among other things will help ensure they don’t miss any signs of damage during a roof inspection. There’s also the fact independent non-profits and manufacturers screen contractors before certifying them, so in a sense, they’ve done all the vetting work for you.
Why Hire a GAF Certified Roofer
GAF, one of the most trusted names in the industry, offers several levels of certification to contractors, one of which is the Weather Stopper® certification. . What are the benefits of working with a GAF Certified contractor?
- Stringent requirements – To get certified, a contractor needs to undergo professional training and pass exams administered by GAF.
- Ongoing training – GAF Certified contractors have access to the manufacturer’s CARE program, which provides live job-training for roofers to ensure their technical knowledge remains up-to-date.
- Exclusive warranties – Roofing systems installed by GAF-certified roofers are eligible for exclusive warranties that offer stronger protection than a standard roofing warranty.
To learn more about GAF’s exclusive warranty options, consult a GAF-certified roofer.
StormROOF Systems, LLC, a GAF Weather Stopper Roofing Contractor, offers a wide range of professional roofing services, including roof replacement and storm damage repair services. To get a free inspection, call us at (470) 300-1768 or fill out this form.