What Can I expect in the Process of Getting a Roof Quote?

If it’s time for a new roof, you may be wondering what you can expect in the process of getting a roof quote.  From who to call, the questions you should be asking and of course what may be asked of you, to several other things that may occur during the process of getting a roof quote.

The purpose of this roof guide is to walk you through that process with suggestions for getting the best quote to meet your specific needs.

Knowing Who to Call for a Roof Quote

Randomly calling roofers, trying to find a good one, is a hit or miss proposition.  There are easy ways to increase your odds of choosing a good roofer.  Start by asking friends and neighbors who they’ve used and if they would recommend them.  If you hear a good report, ask about the quality of the work, whether or not it was done on time, if the job site was thoroughly cleaned up, and the fairness of the pricing.  Start a list of roofers to consider.  Next, check review sites such as Angie’s List and look for reviews on the contractors on your list.  When the reviews confirm good things you’ve heard from others, take note of that.  Decide on 3 or 4 roofing contractors and call them to request a written estimate and schedule separate appointments for each, at least 90 minutes apart.  When the contractors come by to give you an estimate, they’ll have questions for you and you should have questions for them.  Let’s start with your list.

Questions to ask the Contractor

Have a short list of questions that begins with how long they’ve been in business.  What you’re looking for is a contractor with good experience running his or her own company, not just working for someone else.  Ask how experienced his crew is.  The people he employs will install the vast majority of the roof.  Even if the contractor has good experience, don’t hire one with an inexperienced crew.  The contractor should also specialize in the type of roofing you plan to use — asphalt shingles, wood shakes or shingles, tile, slate, metal roofing, etc.

Ask when the contractor would be available to start and how long the job would be expected to last, excluding days of bad weather when they can work.  If old roofing is going to be removed and the roof left bare, ask what they will do to protect the roof from rain.

Ask questions to determine that the roofing contractors are properly insured (liability and workers compensation) licensed and bonded. Make sure that the roofer intends to get a permit if one is required in your county or state.

Ask about payment and other issues.  Is a deposit required and what percentage of the total would it be?  Is site cleanup and disposal of waste covered in the cost?  How are disputes resolved?  Do the roofing material and the installation both come with a warranty?  How long is it in each case?

Take note of the contractors answers. Write them down because it may be hard to keep track of answers from 3 or 4 difference roofers.

Questions the Contractor May Ask You

Generally speaking, the contractor will want to know what what type of roof you want installed and whether or not you have chosen a specific product.  If you have not chosen one, and the roofer supplies product, he may show you samples of your options.  Your budget will be an issue as well as your specific tastes.  If you are interested in asphalt shingles, the contractor may have good/better/best  products to show you, each with different life expectancies.  In general, dimensional shingles will cost more than 3-tab shingles, and the longer it is expected to last, the more the shingles will cost.  Most types of roofing materials have various grades and prices to choose from.

The roofer will also ask you when you want the job to be done.  A good answer for this is something to the effect of “as soon as I get at least 2 more competing estimates and choose the best one.”  Letting the contractor know that others are bidding for the job will produce better pricing and service.

Preparing the Estimate

The contractor may not need to get on your roof to prepare the estimate.  If the roof is a single peak roof with 2 gables and a standard pitch, knowing the footprint dimensions of your home will tell him all he needs to know.  Actually roofers can estimate more jobs from the ground with a trained eye, but many will pull out a ladder, climb up and take some measurements and other notes.  He’ll turn those notes into a written estimate.

Choosing the Contractor

Once you’ve received the estimates, consider them based on cost, the answers that were given to your questions, and the professionalism of the contractor.  If you think one contractor would do the best job, but another offered a lower price, ask the preferred contractor to meet the price.  He may consider lowering his bid.  Keep in mind, however, that his bid may be higher because he and his crew do a better job and don’t have to seek work through rock-bottom estimates.   The quality of the installation will greatly affect the performance and durability of the roof so its worth it to pay more to have the job done correctly.  It will cost you less in the long-run. This is one of the bigger investments you will ever put into your home take your time and follow the guide above and you will end up with a great new roof and you will also avoid the scam artists out there.

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