How do you negotiate with a roofing contractor for a fair price? There are many approaches you can take, but you won't go wrong with these few steps either:
Get At Least Three Quotes
The first step is to get estimates for the job to help you get starting points for the negotiation. Roofing estimates tend to vary much. For example, larger outfits may charge more than their smaller counterparts, and this may be due to the latter's higher overheads. Therefore, you should get at least three estimates to provide you with a true picture of the costs. It may also be a good idea to contact a roofing company, such as Bell Roof Co, and ask about their prices without asking for a quote, just to give you some frame of reference when you do start getting quotes.
Don't Act Desperate
Acting desperate will send signals to the contractor that you are willing to pay anything for the job. The best way to avoid acting desperate is not to be desperate. Don't wait until your roof is almost falling or leaking to start getting repair estimates. Even if you don't consciously show your desperation, you are more likely to accept any quote if you are afraid that your roof can fall on your customers at any time.
Get Job Specifications from the First Bidder
Together with the first bidder, specify the scope of the job as closely as possible. For example, if your roof shingles are damaged, then the contractor should specify whether:
- The whole roof needs to be replaced
- Undamaged shingles can be reused
- The underlayment also needs to be repaired
- The damage has spread to the gutters, and they also need to be fixed
Next, get the other prospective roofers to base their bids on the same specifications. If you don't get a specific quote, then the quotes can vary widely because the contractors will be bidding on different jobs.
Let Each Contractor Itemize His or Her Bid
When you start negotiating for a lower price, let the contractor itemize his or her bid. Each contractor should break down the bid into different components such as:
- Installation labor
That way, you can negotiate on each item individually. For example, you can negotiate on labor if a contractor insists that the material costs are fixed.
Offer To Do Some Tasks Yourself
Lastly, you can also offer to complete some of the tasks yourself so that the contractor does not charge for them. Be very careful here because you should only offer to complete tasks that you know you can handle. In general, it is safe to take on some relatively easy tasks such as clean up or painting (if you have some experience).
Note that you shouldn't automatically choose the lowest bid. You should be especially wary with extremely low bids (just as you should be with extremely high bids) because they may imply some hidden cost-cutting measures.