Receiving an accurate estimate is a vital part of the roof repair decision-making process. When it comes time for an estimate, make sure you're asking important roofing questions. The following questions will make your decisions much easier - and will help you avoid being tricked.
Is the estimate really free?
First things first: Is there a fee for the estimate? Generally speaking - and there are exceptions - a roofing contractor should provide a residential analysis and estimate for free. Charging for an estimate is essentially paying the contractor for nothing but a quick stop-by. Charging for estimates is a common tactic used among scammers looking to make a quick buck. Therefore, charging for estimates is looked down upon by all true roofing professionals, as free inspections and estimates are the norm. If there's a charge for the estimate, there had better be a good reason for it.
Is this an official, professional estimate?
This is an important question to start out with because roofing contractors don't always have a professional estimate process. The best contractors will provide official estimates before asking you to sign any contracts. These estimates should include line items and a final cost for the project. Watch for professional estimate forms and printouts that indicate the company knows what it is doing.
Is the estimate guaranteed?
Roofing contractors don't like to guarantee the estimate price because…well, it's an estimate. The true extent of damage cannot be judged until a roofer gets on the roof and starts prying off roofing materials. Though guarantees are hard to come by, you should still ask questions about this policy and how the estimate will factor into the final price. In addition, make sure to question which price points may vary. A guaranteed estimate is a nice bonus for simpler projects.
Are any obligations included with the estimate?
Does accepting the estimate include any other obligations to the roofing company? Do you need to sign a contract to receive the estimate? You don't want to be tied to any costs or obligations while comparing estimates between companies. In addition, it's good to know if the roofer has any obligations associated with the estimate on their side.
Are deposits required?
For larger roofing projects in particular, a deposit may be required. This deposit should be around 10% of the estimate if asked for upon signing a contract. Ask about deposit policies and when the deposit must be paid. Many roofers only ask for a deposit when the materials are delivered direct to the home.
What does your schedule look like?
On one hand, you may want time to compare estimates between several different companies. On the other hand, the sooner you choose one company, the sooner they can fit you into their schedule and the sooner the repairs will be finished. Ask the contractor about their schedule and availability when first getting the estimate.