Let’s be honest…no one is excited about calling a roofing contractor.
If you need a new roof, chances are…
….you’re on a time crunch to get your damaged roof fixed…
….you’re coordinating a new build or an addition and you’ve already got a lot on your plate…
….or your roof needs to be replaced to prevent a catastrophe and the thought of a five-figure check going out of your account isn’t making you happy.
The only people that get excited about roofing estimates? Are people like…well, me. I genuinely get excited about things like roofing materials or how vinyl siding can change the look of a home.
But I’ve been where you’re at…facing a less-than-exciting expense and thinking about all of the other things I could be doing with that money.
As a homeowner, it’s a lot of stress. It seems like every contractor in Pennsylvania has a different system- and a different style- of giving project bids. How can you make a good choice when it seems like you’re comparing apples to oranges?
I want to make your job a little easier. How?
There’s a few things you should expect from your contractor’s bid no matter what type of project you’re getting an estimate on. In this article, I’m going to help you navigate project bids like a pro- and save you the stress of wasting time or money on a bad deal.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Contract Tip #1: Get a Real Project Estimate
You walk into a dealership and say, “I need a new truck.”
But instead of letting you look around the lot, compare your options, and think about the best fit for your lifestyle- the salesman responds, “Great! That’ll be $18,500. Give me a couple grand down and I’ll get it to you sometime in the next month or so.”
I bet you’d walk right out, wouldn’t you?
You want to know what the crazy thing is? When it comes to replacing their roof- homeowners do this all of the time.
You wouldn’t buy a truck without knowing what you’re paying for…the load capacity, the mileage, the style. So why would anyone buy a roof the same way?
Your home is too important for a mystery deal. If your project bid comes in the form of a business card with a number scrawled on the back, it’s a risky move.
Homeowners know this but still have second thoughts! They think, “Well, this guy is a friend of a friend…” or “This price looks so good, I’ll be saving so much money…what’s it matter if it isn’t exactly right?”
Don’t second guess your intuition. If it’s true that “You get what you pay for”, then you need to understand what you’re paying for.
Don’t commit to a contractor without a detailed project proposal outlining
- The process they’ll be using to finish your project
- The quality of materials you’re committing to
- An estimated timeline of completion
- And what expectations you have for completion
Take a look at a Martin project bid and you’ll see the difference:
Want to learn more about your roofing options? Our Ultimate Guide to Residential Roofing is a great place to start!
Contract Tip #2: Expect Options
A great contractor will not only look at your immediate needs, but your long term budget and lifestyle. And while a professional might recommend a strategy for your project- you shouldn’t feel forced into one option.
I understand it’s not always in the budget to buy the best of everything but that shouldn’t stop you from getting a solid roof that protects your home and family.
This is why your contractor should be giving you options in their proposal.
Anytime we bid a project at Martin, whether it’s a roof or siding or a home addition, we always give the homeowner a three-tiered “Good, Better, and Best” proposal.
Now, this isn’t to guilt a homeowner into buying more than they need or to oversell them on materials. We give prospective clients options because we know we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes at your house.
Let me give an example.
The proposal above is for an asphalt shingle roof replacement with a
- Good Option: $17,263
- Better Option: $23,654
- Best Option: $32,756
That’s a wide spread for pricing!
Now, our customers know the workmanship is going to be 100% no matter what the cost of the project. So let me ask you this question- which of these options are best for this homeowner?
“What’s Best for Your Home? Whatever YOU Choose!”
Which option should the homeowner choose for their roof? Whatever they choose.
Does it surprise you to hear a contractor not push for the highest project rate? Well, here’s why:
In this case, this homeowner went with the mid-level roof replacement at $23,654. Why? They love the look of the premium architectural shingles and wanted the System Plus Lifetime product warranty this option provides.
BUT they know they’ll be selling their home in the next 5 years. A roof replacement with a high return on investment was important. In their case, that meant not spending the extra $10k on the “Best” option, but choosing a shingle look buyers will love when it’s time to sell.
Here’s the takeaway: When you work with a great contractor, no option should be the “wrong choice”. Your project estimate should give you the flexibility to make the best choice for you– and all options should give you the peace of mind of a quality install.
Contract Tip #3: Ask, Ask, Ask
Speaking of making the best choice, you shouldn’t need to be a pro to understand your options.
I’ve always been proud of the way our crew goes above and beyond to answer any questions before, during, and after every installation. The way I look at it, an expert should do more than install a product well. The best experts want what’s best for your home, and can help you understand how to make that happen.
Are you comparing your “Good, Better, Best” options on a Martin estimate? We can help you understand the difference between product quality, warranty levels, and what to expect long term as far as maintenance and upkeep.
Do you have questions when comparing Martin to another contractor’s project bid? Just ask. We can help clarify different manufacturer’s product lines and more so you can be confident in your choice.
Contract Tip #4: You Can’t Put A Price on Trust
The most frequently asked question I get is “What’s your warranty?”
Home improvement projects are big investments. People want to know how our guarantee stacks up against competitors.
Here’s the problem: If you’re trying to protect yourself…that’s not the right question.
Why? Well, not only are most manufacturing warranties fairly equal from company to company, warranties aren’t really created to protect you, the buyer. It might come as a shock…but the way the language is laid out in these warranties won’t protect you unless there is an undeniable problem with your materials.
Want to know your project is going to be done right and worry-free for decades to come?
Here’s the question you should ask instead: How do I trust you?
My response? Our reputation is our warranty.
Yes, we offer the same guarantees for materials and installation any decent contractor offers. But at Martin? I like to think we offer something above and beyond manufacturing warranties- something you can’t really put a price on when it comes to laying out a project bid.
We offer installation you can trust.
I’ve been building this business for over a decade. Now, I have my sons working right alongside me. In short, we’re here to build Martin as a lasting company that provides generational-level quality.
If you ever have an issue that comes up with an installation, we’ll be there to take a look and see what needs to be done, no charge. We’re a local company who cares about our neighbors, and we want the best for your home.
The next time you’ve got home improvement bids laid out on your kitchen table, I hope these tips help you to feel confident in choosing the right contractor for your project. If you’re looking for a contractor for roof, siding, or interior work in Schuylkill County PA, we’d love to be one of those bids. Schedule a call with me here.