October 12, 2021

6 Tips on How to Get a Fair Estimate from a Commercial Roofing Contractor

Commercial roofing installations and replacements are big jobs with big budgets, which means that business owners often seek estimates from multiple contractors. 

Here are six tips for questions to ask to make sure you’re getting a fair estimate from a commercial roofing contractor.

Does Their Timeline Work With Your Needs?

Commercial roofing projects can vary widely in how long they take to complete. The time required may depend on the size and complexity of the job, along with the type of roofing used. 

To get a fair estimate, you’ll need to have the timeline laid out clearly during negotiations with the commercial roofing contractor. Your agreement should also include milestones, not just a completion date. 

Without a definite timeline, you risk running over schedule and incurring further expenses.

What’s the Cost of Labor for Roofers?

The cost of labor for your roofing project is going to make up a portion of the overall budget. Costs may vary based on the type of roofing used, the scope of the job, and local demand for services. 

Again, laying out clear expectations is key to getting a reliable quote.

Your commercial roofing contractor will determine the total labor hours required for the project while putting together their bid. They’ll then multiply the hours by the average wage they’ll have to pay their roofers.

What Types of Warranties Do They Offer?

When you’re working with commercial roofing contractors, warranties can become complicated very quickly. 

Depending on the type of roofing used, there’s a good chance that there will be some manufacturer warranty on materials. This isn’t true in all cases, so find out well in advance.

The contractor should also offer a warranty on installation. Terms for a contractor warranty will usually exclude neglect, modifications, and natural disasters. Get the terms of the warranty in writing upfront to ensure that the agreement is clear for your estimate.

Is the Roofing Material the Same or Different?

The estimate from a commercial roofing contractor will change based on the type of roofing system being installed. Flat roofs, low-sloped roofs, and pitched roofs will all have different costs — which must be taken into consideration along with the roofing materials.

Common roofing types for commercial buildings include metal roofing systems, modified bitumen, PVC, TPO, and EPDM. 

There is extensive variation in quality within each of these categories. The actual cost will come down to the specific brand and roofing product being used.

Will the Commercial Roofing Contractors Offer Clean-Up?

Commercial roofing jobs can require significant clean-up afterward. The number of labor hours can quickly add up. You won’t be able to accurately evaluate any quote if you don’t know whether or not clean-up is included.

Make sure that clean-up is explicitly mentioned in any agreements, along with ensuring that the estimate accounts for the labor,as well as for dumpster rentals or disposal fees.

How Does the Contractor Accept Payments?

Payment terms are an important part of any agreement. Your arrangement with a commercial roofing contractor should lay out payment terms very clearly. This includes how payments are to be made and when.

This is particularly important when it comes to deposits. How much of the job are you paying for upfront? How much will you owe upon completion? Will you have to pay your deductible to the contractor if insurance is involved in the roof replacement?

Most importantly, avoid cash-only contractors that want to handle your job “under the table.”

Understand the Terms Before You Make An Agreement

The last and most important part of getting a fair estimate from a commercial roofing contractor? Getting the terms in writing. Remember, promises are meaningless if they aren’t in the contract!

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