I have noticed on bids I have received that they list the total amount it will cost, but do not show price of materials or labor. Is this common or should you ask for this? Also, the estimates are very general like a form letter and they filled in the blanks. Is this standard? —Marcia S. Sour Lake, Texas
Dear Marcia: Proposals can differ considerably from one roofing contractor to another; from a one-page handwritten bid to a more official-looking document that’s several pages long. It’s possible that a form letter-like bid could contain all the elements you need to review, but your best bet might be to spell that out ahead of time.
What’s most important is that you get multiple proposals that compare apples to apples. After all, putting on a new roof will be one of the biggest investments you make in your home. That also makes it a big risk, so asking for a breakdown of the cost is not unreasonable.
What details a roofer's bid should spell out:
• The project, including who is responsible for what; the start and completion dates, and payment terms.
• Cost of labor and materials.
• Cost for permits to be pulled, and the cleanup and removal of any construction debris.
on the type of underlayment, flashing, shingles and ventilation being used, and the type of product and workmanship warranties offered.
• Proof of roofing or contractor's license (if required in your city or state), plus workmans' compensation and liability insurance.
What a roofing contract should contain:
Once you’ve compared the bids and are ready to make a hiring decision, make sure you and the roofer sign a contract, which will offer you protection should problems arise during the job. The contract should include:
• Specifics on payment terms, including down payments, progress payments, the final payment and a provision for you to withhold the final payment until the job is completed to your satisfaction.
• Specifics on type of materials to be used.
• Provisions for change orders or add-ons that could result in extra charges.
• A lien release, which protects you from liability should the roofer fail to pay his or her subcontractors or roofing material suppliers who worked on your project.
• A termination clause, which spells out reasons you or the contractor can end the agreement without penalty if the contract terms are violated.
Have you ever had an issue with a roofing estimate or contract? Tell us about it in the comments section below.