The roof that covers your home can mean the difference between your single biggest investment appreciating or depreciating in value. It doesn’t pay to skimp on the roof you live under but it doesn’t make sense to overpay for it either. With so many roofing companies willing to promise the moon, how do you get the best deal possible while also getting high-quality metal roofing properly installed? The fact is that although the internet is loaded with stories of people who trusted the wrong contractor and lived to regret it, you don’t have to be one of them.
Roofing Contractors – Approach With Caution
Way before you ever start talking prices there are some other steps you should take to make sure the metal roofing contractors you’re speaking with are worth considering for the job. Here are a few:
- Make sure they have a permanent, verifiable address, phone number and tax ID number.
- Insist they provide you with proof of insurance. If they don’t have insurance and an accident occurs during the roofing process, you could be liable for damages.
- Ask for references and check them out thoroughly.
- Check to see if the contractor is a member of a local or regional trade association.
Once you’ve developed a pool of roofing contractors to choose from you should move onto the next phase of the process, where you should:
- Get Competitive Bids – As a general rule you can toss the lowest bid since it’s not uncommon for unscrupulous contractors to submit a lowball price to get the job and then spring unexpected or “emergency” costs on you in the middle of the process, when your roof has been ripped apart and you’re in a vulnerable position.
- Negotiate – Once you’ve decided which bids seem the most realistic ask the different roofing contractors involved for a discount on labour or materials. Get them bidding against each other. But beware of pushing things too far. Contractors have real expenses after all and if the discounts become too deep the winning contractor may look for ways to recoup that money later on.
- Get Everything in Writing – That includes the discounts you negotiated as well as a maximum price for various discretionary items. Shady roofing contractors sometimes try to pad their margins by inflating the cost of these items. Since you don’t want to wind up paying $200 for a sheet of plywood it’s in your interest to make sure the unit price for discretionary items are entered into the contract as well as a maximum number of these items that can be purchased without further, written approval from you. You may also want to include a penalty that kicks in should the work run past an agreed-upon completion date.
Getting a great deal from a roofing contractor requires patience and persistence during the negotiating process and then making sure the deal you negotiated is set down in writing. A reputable contractor will not object to this process and will adhere to the terms of the contract allowing you to reap the benefits of your deal-making prowess.