Knowing that your roof in need of repair or replacement can be stressful enough, and most likely, the last thing you want to start worrying about now is how much it’s going to cost. But there’s no easy way around it — money matters.
Many homeowners feel pressured by their own budgets, and especially their insurance companies, to shop around until they find a contractor with a rock-bottom-low quote. After all, no one wants to pay more for a job when someone else will do it just as well for less. But just because they will do it for less, by no means is a guarantee they will do it just as well.
It’s not uncommon for the final summary amount to end up being more than the original quote. Sometimes a contractor may run into problems along the way, such as after stripping the original roof and finding more serious structural damages underneath. And of course, sometimes it’s just a lousy accounting error.
Unfortunately, though, there are contractors who purposely underbid just to get hired, all the while knowing that they’ll simply account for the difference later on with some good old-fashioned change-order costs.
And that’s when things really start to add up.
It will begin with a few extra small fees here and there, things conveniently not listed in their original rundown of estimates. Then it will be additional charges for labor and time, materials damaged or in need of replacement — and before you know it, you’re paying more out of your own pocket than you would if you had just gone with a much higher, yet honest bid.
If a contractor throws out a rock-bottom-low quote and doesn’t tack on a multitude of unexpected costs, don’t consider yourself lucky just yet. Unless he’s willing to lose money, he will be forced to make up the difference somehow, somewhere. In other words, he’ll be cutting corners and lots of them.
To save money on labor, workers may be hired illegally, underpaid, and uninsured. The job might be rushed in order to save time, workers may be encouraged to skip certain installation steps or even outright ignore building code regulations. And you can quite literally bet your bottom dollar that the materials used will be of questionable quality.
It’s not difficult to understand why so many homeowners have made this mistake. Who doesn’t love a good bargain, right? But it’s always a temporary solution, at best. Because when problems start to arise, which they inevitably will, and the fact that corners had been cut can no longer be ignored, the low-bidding contractor will be long gone by then.
Making homes susceptible to premature leaking, a poor quality roof simply cannot withstand the pressure of one or two winters of heavy snow. Low-grade construction materials cannot provide proper insulation, which is hard on cooling and heating units and drives up energy bills. And finally, the reduced quality of these materials are notorious for inadequate ventilation, leading to trapped moisture, mold growth, and every family’s worst nightmare, serious fire hazards.
The Bottom Line
Most homeowners actually reject the rock-bottom-low quote. In fact, the majority opt for contractors whose quotes, on average, cost 14-percent more than the lowest. Additionally, according to this same collection of consumer surveys, 96-percent of these homeowners reported that they were satisfied with the quality of their contractor’s work, the value that they received for their money, and 90-percent of them reported that they would likely recommend the contractor to friends and family.
Compare all that to the percentage of CCB complaints filed by homeowners who took the lowest bid — and well, you get the point.