Go & Get 3 Bids, Advice Article written by Ed
To NACHI Members.
Here is an advisory lettor I wrote earlier this year. Some of you may agree and others disagree, and that is okay, but I believe it makes a valid point, regardless. (It prints out as a 1 1/2 page document) Please excuse the self promotional aspect, but I did delete my phone #'s to avoid this seeming to be an advertisement for services.
The Rationale for Getting 3 Bids or the Risks of Only Using That Method?
By Ed Fako, 1-30-07.
Since 1978, Ed has been Union Journey Man trained, has been involved in all phases of Roofing and Architectural Sheet Metal work, BUR, Single Ply Membranes, Shingles, Cedar Shakes, Clay-Concrete & Slate Tile and has proudly operated Right Way Roofing Company for the past 23 years.
He is an elected member of the "Professional Roofing Advisory Council", a recipient of the Master Roofer Award, has passed and continues to study and administer the Master Shingle Applicators Test to other contractors, was selected as an articulate informational unbiased Moderator for the CotractorTalk dot com Forum with over 13,000 registrants, and regularly contributes Veteran advice on JLC Online dot com, DIY Chatroom dot com, and Home Owners For Better Builders, HOBB dot org in his ongoing passion to assist those in need.
Also Known As:
What’s wrong with getting 3 bids on my project? And, Could someone please help me to not get screwed by the contractor I choose?
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner,
I would like to address the vulnerability you are subjecting yourselves to by going out and requesting 3 bids for your project. Maybe the advise should be to make sure that you get the best qualified contractor to do the job right in the first place, instead of worrying about problems down the road. The 3-bid suggestion is just there so you can hopefully get lucky and find one who fits that category. Would you be astounded to hear that according to major roofing related manufacturers, that between 90 % to 95 % of all roofs do not qualify for the manufacturers long term peace of mind warranty, from the initial installation time? That’s a fact!
I know what you have been told; "Go out and get at least 3 bids", and throw away the contractors bid at the bottom and the contractors bid at the top and select the one in the middle. After all, isn't that what almost every single, "How to Choose a Contractor Guide" suggests you do. Isn't this the only way to ensure you do not get the low ball fly by nighter or the contractor who has to charge too much to justify his overhead or just wants to make too much profit from your job?
When you decided you had a need for this particular project, did you say to yourself, "Gee, I want to make sure I get somebody who does not provide me with the full scope of work we need, (even if we do not really know what that is yet), and I also want to make sure they do not have enough experience for this type of project?
Of course you didn't!
Well, that obviously eliminates anybody who would not spend the proper amount of time with you to be able to assess your projects complete requirements, while attempting to remain within your financial means to afford this enhancement to your home.
From years upon years of experience, we have discovered that the majority of bid work usually omits many of the necessary items that should have been included in the first place. We have chosen a different path. We decided that it would be better to explain the proper price for the job being done correctly at the beginning, rather than have to make excuses for the lack of quality for years to come.
Do you really think that there are so many corrupt or deceitful contractors out there? Actually, no there are not. The unfortunate consequence of requiring multiple contractors to be bidding on the same project without pre-determined specifications to be met, is that most contractors feel compelled to find ways to cut corners to be able to "Win" the job. There is a necessity to "Make the Sale", no matter what the consequences. Get the job at all costs, or should I say for all lack of costs.
Well now, what will happen next, once the job starts. Here are two possible scenarios;
A) The contractor will do all of the minimal work specified in the contract, hoping that no one alerts you to the fact that additional specifications should have been included in the first place. If you never find out that some specs were omitted, Great Job. Everybody is happy. That is until things do not work as they were intended.
Even though, “Roofing is Not Brain Surgery”; There are many Wrong ways to roof a house. But…There is only…One “Right Way” to do it and that is “By Following All of the Manufacturers Specifications”. Remember; Between 90 % to 95 % of All Shingle Roofs Done - DO NOT Qualify for the Manufacturers Long Term Warranty!!! ( This fact is; According to studies by GAF Roofing Corp., Air Vent Inc., & Alcoa ). Did you really expect that brand new 30 or 50 year roof you put on to look good and remain functionable after 10-12 years? Oh, you did! Were you educated about the manufacturers specs? How do you know if all of the manufacturers’ specifications or industry guidelines were followed.
But, if the building inspector approves it, doesn't that mean it was done correctly? Yes and No! The building inspector is only there to ensure that the "Minimum" specifications were followed. That means that they pass things all the time, where some contractors only do the least amount of work to just barely be on the legal side of the ordinances. Is this what you want, a "barely passed minimum standards job"?
B) On the other hand, what if you realize that the project is not advancing towards your vision you started out with? Aha, you inform the contractor that more work needs to be included in the project scope. Great!!! The contractor replies, but first, Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner, please sign these additional work change order forms. That work you now realize that you needed to have included, was not in our initial bid! We thought we were doing you a favor, by keeping the costs down for you, isn't that what you wanted?
So, what is a homeowner to do? The best that you can do is to find a contractor who is proposing to do the job 100 % the Right Way, right off the bat.
1. Make sure that you spend time with each contractor to interview them on how they will approach the project.
2. Make sure that you have an open line of communication with that contractor.
3. Make sure that the written proposal is extensively detailed so that there is no confusion as to what you are receiving for your investment.
4. Make sure that you know what the obligations and responsibilities are of both you and the contractor.
5. Make sure that they supplied you with multiple references of similar jobs they have done in your neighborhood.
6. Make sure that you are protected, by receiving copies of their workers compensation and general liability insurance certificates.
7. Make sure that they have been a licensed contractor, going by the same company name for at least 5-10 years. Verify anything that they are telling you if they do not provide the back up documentation as part of their proposal package. If you have doubts about any suggestions they have made, then have them back up their reasoning with industry related technical reports or articles.
There may be much more criteria which you would like to gauge your selection of the best contractor for your homes exterior enhancement, which you can request for free. Just ask for the 10 Tips on “What You Should Know Before Hiring Any Contractor” guidelines. Contact the professional roofing contractor for your area listed below to request this Free hiring guideline.
The Exclusive Professional Roofing Contractor Advisory Council Member for your area is:
Right Way Roofing Company
125 South Lincoln Avenue
Carpentersville, IL 60110
After you have done all of this, which contractor do you now believe is going to give you the Right Job for the Right Price?
More than likely, the only one out of the original 3 bidders, who even had a shot at producing the right results, was the supposedly highest priced contractor. Now, can you see that the highest bid, probably is not really the highest cost to you, but the only one to have provided the proper value to the specifications to ensure your warranty is validated by doing it the Right Way, per the Manufacturers Specifications?
Thank You Very Much for Your Time,
Good Fortune in Making a Qualified Decision.
For further queries regarding Contractor selection guidelines, roofing or ventilation questions, please feel free to visit our newly created Roofing Blog Site at: http://rightwayroofing.wordpress.com/
Re: Go & Get 3 Bids, Advice Article written by Ed
Hey Ed. do you have pics of concrete tiles on a roof? I'm not 100% sure I could recognize them from a distance. I imagine they scratch different then clay tiles?
Also, there's a new shiny flat shingle I see on commercial buildings, are they metal or PVC?
BTW, would that 3rd contractor be you by any chance?
Re: Go & Get 3 Bids, Advice Article written by Ed
Concrete tiles are easy to see the difference, upon a close up view.
Some new materials are PVC, recycled rubber, metal, and anything else that a manufacturer can lay claim to being the "newest and most improved version" since sliced bread.
One that I am looking forward to some day, in the not too distant future presumably, would be a concrete or composition shingle with Photo-Voltaic particles replacing some of the granular composition or accenting the texture on concrete tiles. What a renewable source of energy that would be.
All of my 23 years of job photos are stored in actual photo film bins for archival reasons, as I have not gotten with the ages, technology wise.
One may conclude that I would naturally be the 3rd contractor being referred to in the article, but a truer and more correct response would be; which contractor that they interviewed met all of the qualifications? Disregard all of the rest, and work with any one of them for a satisfactory long term result providing the correct specifications and dedication to doing things correctly from the onset, and most common problems will never appear. I firmly believe that we do fit into the elite category, but that is in the eye of the beholder.
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