Author Topic: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors  (Read 429 times)

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jpcher

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How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« on: July 28, 2014, 09:08:28 PM »
I posted a couple of months ago asking for advice on finding a contractor for a new roof. I've had 7 estimates.

2 of which I crossed of right away because "wink-wink I'll give you a good deal."

1 was crossed off because of internet search, they were operating in 5 different states at different times under different names. They no longer operate in the different states.

2 were crossed off simply because they were close to or more than $1,000 higher than the remaining 2, even though their proposals were comparable. While they had good reports with BBB and I e-mailed several of their references and received good notices, I didn't see that their services were much different or worth that much more money.

That leaves me with 2. Both are A+ ratings with the BBB, I've received positive e-mail referrals (after asking off of their web-site) from both of them. I've been e-mailing them both with certain questions concerning the contract and they have been prompt/polite/concise with their answers. The difference between their quotes is less than $200.


Here's the differences:

Company1 said he didn't know how many plywood sheets (decking?) needed to be replaced and wouldn't know until he tore off the roof.

Company2 guessed at 7-12 sheets of plywood. Both quoted the same $amount per sheet of plywood.


C1 said that the job would take one day.

C2 said that it would probably take one day, but figure on possibly two because you just don't know how much damage there is to the decking, etc. until the roof is taken off. He said "I'm giving you the worst case scenario."


C1 gave me a beautiful brochure with sample roofing colors, etc.

C2 said he'll be happy to bring me samples of colors, etc. before I sign with him.



That being said, which would you choose? C1 or C2? What would be your criteria on choosing? Are there any additional questions that I should ask that would make the deciding point?

wolfie

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2014, 09:16:15 PM »
Did either company 1 or company two go into your attic and take a look there? Did either of them walk around the house and explain what they were seeing and what it means?

They are so close to one another that I would say it probably doesn't matter but I am leaning towards one and I can't give you a reason for it - it just "feels" like the right choice.

Amara

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2014, 09:17:00 PM »
Quote
Company1 said he didn't know how many plywood sheets (decking?) needed to be replaced and wouldn't know until he tore off the roof.

Company2 guessed at 7-12 sheets of plywood. Both quoted the same $amount per sheet of plywood.

Company 1 because I like the fact that he told you he couldn't narrow down the number of sheets needed until he tore off the roof. I like that he prefers to have all his facts first then give you the correct number.



Quote
C1 said that the job would take one day.

C2 said that it would probably take one day, but figure on possibly two because you just don't know how much damage there is to the decking, etc. until the roof is taken off. He said "I'm giving you the worst case scenario."

Company 2 because he is also waiting until he has all the facts until he gives you an answer (Too bad it's not the same company as in the first scene.)



Quote
C1 gave me a beautiful brochure with sample roofing colors, etc.

C2 said he'll be happy to bring me samples of colors, etc. before I sign with him.

I would probably prefer Company 1 slightly but honestly, there is so little difference here to me it would be like splitting hairs and I wouldn't use this to choose. It seems like a tie to me.

Phoebelion

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 08:31:37 AM »
I also would have a hard time choosing.

I think I'd go with the one who could do the job the soonest.

Hmmmmm

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 08:46:59 AM »
My last criteria would be tidiness. If any of the referrals are in your area/neighborhood I'd try to find out how the roofer employees were about keeping the area clear of material and getting all the nails up. And I'd ask the neighbors of the homeowner who had the work done. Often they'll be good about keeping the actual nails clear in the yard/driveway of the home they are working on but are careless about picking up in the surrounding areas.

newbiePA

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 08:59:10 AM »
The good news, is it sounds like you can't go wrong with either one!  We need to get our roof replaced this year, and I am so nervous.  If you don't mind, please keep us updated with how it goes.
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lowspark

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 09:02:19 AM »
I agree with PPs. Based on what you've written here, they are so close that it's six of one, half-dozen of the other. I also agree it looks like you'll get good results from either. So I'd pick the one who I liked better personality-wise.

Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 09:34:10 AM »
Can you call a couple of references?  Ask about speed, time of arrival, professionalism, and clean up.  Obviously, all references are going to say the roof is great, but make sure the work ethic is up to speed as well.  Also ask if the reference has referred anyone to the roofer.  Finally, I am a huge fan of Angie's List, but it does cost $40 to join.  You get the real scoop (although there are always a couple of Negative Nellys.)
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guihong

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 01:23:41 PM »
If you haven't joined Angie's List already, do so.  It's only something like $10/year and you can look up reviews of each company if they're listed.  Besides, there's a zillion categories for other things you would need.

ETA: I don't remember $40; maybe I caught a promotion.  Anyway, it's a good resource.



shhh its me

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 01:26:52 PM »
I agree with PPs. Based on what you've written here, they are so close that it's six of one, half-dozen of the other. I also agree it looks like you'll get good results from either. So I'd pick the one who I liked better personality-wise.

I agree , they sound comparable.

Even though they don't know for sure how many sheets they will need to replace a roofer should be able to get close from walking on the roof and examining its overall condition. So 7-12 could be right enough to be statistically honest ie 1 of 100 times he needs one or two more sheets. The" one day" can be equally honest maybe even more so.........if he thinks it will take 8 hours and has 15 hours of daylight to work with he has a huge margin of error. (removing 3 times as many plywood sheets doesn't take 3 times as many hours to complete the job) 

texgalatheart

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 04:10:09 PM »
I just went through this during my kitchen renovation. I prefer to work with smaller contractors, but dont rule out anyone. I start with Angies list. I look through the listing and pull 3-5 that have good rating and reviews. i then schedule appointments to come and give an estimate. Generally I tend to toss the highest and lowest estimate unless my gut tells me not to. I also go on instinct - I will not consider someone who talks to me like I'm stupid or get irritated if i ask alot of questions - again gut.  Usually i've done lots or research and know what i want done.

  I had my roof done 2 years ago and that is the process i went with. The contractor stripped off the old roof and did the repairs - i was lucky only 2 small places needed repairs - the first day. The second day the put the new roof on. They ended up working until about 8 p.m. as they took a long break during the heat of the day. They cleaned everything up that night and ran a magnet but it was starting to get dark by the time they finished. The main contractor came back the next day to make sure it was clean and ran the magnet again.

MummySweet

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 04:22:44 PM »
I would ask both contractors (the actual person you have been working with) who they will have running the site and how often they will personally be present at the site.   Since the quotes are so close I choose the one that I would be able to communicate with the easiest while the work is being done.

Peregrine

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Re: How do you decide? Home improvement contractors
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 07:19:40 PM »
You might also want to know how far each contractor is booked out.  If you have a window in which you want the work done that might swing you one way or another.

You might want to double check on things like the costs for additional attic vents, flashing, copper stripping for moss, redoing any stacks or appliance vents that on first look were ok, but once the roofing is off might add to the cost.  Do they keep those things on hand or do they have to run out and purchase.  We ran into this when we had our house painted last year.  We had built in a slush fund of $500 for any cost overruns which turned out to be a good thing, since we discovered some rotten siding hidden behind a planting that we removed between the estimate and the work.  Water had wicked up through the siding and two sections of siding needed to be replaced before work could begin.