To compare roof and siding estimates, most of the time, homeowners prefer to get estimates emailed to them. Homeowners then intend to compare the contractor estimates and make a decision on who to hire. We completely understand this inclination. However, after years of experience as a roofing and siding contractor, we recommend meeting with contractors to go over your estimates. Honestly, we have a few reasons for this.
How to read roof and siding estimates
It can be incredibly difficult to look at an estimate and know exactly what you are looking at. We say this not because we assume the average customer cannot read an estimate but because, as experienced roofing and siding contractors, even we would have a hard time looking at two estimates and comparing them without some communication with the contractor. This is one of the first reasons we generally recommend meeting with contractors to compare estimates.
To create a quote or estimate, any contractor you are considering should first come out to your home and do an inspection of your roof or your siding. With these inspection results, the contractors will create a plan for next steps and what they recommend.
Sometimes the contractor may provide an option for a repair or they may suggest a replacement. Other times they may recommend only replacement but have options for variations on the system they will install. More specifically, one contractor may provide a big picture estimate that provides a price with no breakdown of how they came to this number. Another contractor may provide an estimate breakdown for pricing on materials but still no explanation of project specifications and plans. Meeting with each contractor allows you to go through each contractor’s plans to better understand the contractor’s inspection results and recommendations.
Different types of estimates and agreements for homeowners and contractors.
Time and Materials Estimates vs Estimates for Contracted.
A ‘time and materials’ agreement with your contractor means that the contractor’s estimate is simply a guess at how much the materials will cost, and roughly how long it will take to do the work. Now, if the contractor takes longer to do the job, they will simply charge you for that additional time. This is not necessarily a bad deal for you, the homeowner, as long as the job is reasonably small. In fact, a ‘time and materials’ estimate and agreement with your contractor may be the best way to hire a contractor or handyman. This can even work for smaller siding repairs or small roofing repairs.
A contract agreement for roofing or siding installation or work may be most beneficial for homeowners during larger projects such as a complete roof replacement or siding replacement. Here is why: Under a contract agreement, a homeowner would authorize a given scope of work at a given price. This price, for the agreed scope of work, would not change regardless of how long the contractor takes to complete the job. This also applies to material costs and purchases.
Let’s say you hire a siding contractor to install new siding on your home on a contract agreement that includes all necessary siding labor and siding material for the job. While doing the job, the contractor realizes the job will take longer than expected, and their material order is short due to their inaccurate measurements. Under a traditional contracted work agreement, the contractor would not charge you more for materials or labor, as they are responsible for furnishing all necessary labor and materials to complete the job. The only way this changes is if the scope of work changes, which the contractor would formalize in a change order. If you hired that same contractor under a ‘time and materials’ agreement, you would be responsible for paying for more materials and labor that was not accounted for in the original estimate. This is why contracted work can be a better option for hiring a contractor for a larger project such as a roof replacement, or complete home siding installation.
If you are simply having estimates emailed to you, and you are comparing prices for a project, it may not be clear what you are buying. Between estimates, there may be fundamental differences in not only quality of materials or warranty, but there also be differences in the basic agreement structure itself. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you meet with your contractor to ask specific questions about how the agreement is structured. The best part is, you could start to understand the agreement structure by asking some really basic questions. The questions could be, “what happens if the job takes longer than you expect?” or “what happens if your material estimate is short?” Then you can ask follow up questions to understand exactly what you are getting when you sign an agreement with a contractor.
Meet with a contractor and get more control over your project
With this in mind, now that you are sitting down with a potential contractor, you can have more of a say, not only in how the contractor plans to address inspection results, but in the entire decision making process. They can walk you through their plans for installation, the options for your project, and even consult you on design plans. For example, if you were one of our siding replacement customers, we would provide you a 3D rendering of your home in a couple different styles and colors of your choosing. While a Westpro project consultant walks you through WestPro’s plan for installation they will also provide you design options and consulting on what the WestPro project consultant thinks will work for you and your home.
More than anything, we see this second meeting as one more opportunity for you to get to know each contractor and the company they represent. We see this as the start of a long term partnership because not only will your contractor install the project over the coming months, they will be the first person you call if you need a repair or have a warranty claim in the future.
Free Siding Estimates and Roofing Estimates for Homeowners in Boulder and Denver.
If you are a homeowner in the Boulder or Denver area of Colorado, and you would like an estimate for new siding or roofing, please contact WestPro to schedule a free estimate.