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Frederick Roof Repair

Serving Frederick and Montgomery County, MD
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How To Think About Your Roof

I find that if you ask the average person to place a value on their roof, they look at you like you have two heads. Clearly, they have never thought about it. I am not just talking about people off the street, but rather people who have called me for either roof repair or full roof replacement.

Consider carefully the following assessment. If a. you are reaching out to roofers for repair or replacement, and b. you do not have any idea what your roof is worth, than c. you are in the precarious position of making a bad decision concerning your roof and its proper maintenance.

The reason I say “precarious” is because you are all but guaranteed to “undervalue” your roof and so reduce your decision to the lowest common denominator, price, which can never by itself define “value”. Value is cost plus quality.

It is one thing to buy based solely on cost when you are buying product only. It is another thing to do it when you are buying product and skill, or the lack thereof. This is more true when it comes to expensive home improvements than anything else. When else is the average homeowner serving as a CEO? When you buy a car, or a stove, or even your house, you are essentially buying a finished product. When you buy a new roof or a deck or an addition to your home, you have the responsibility to properly vet not only the product but the qualifications of who will be doing the work. The sad truth is that most people are simply not up to the task, with the result being that just about anyone willing to sell low can get enough work to maintain a job in home improvements.

What is the homeowner to do that wants to put their best foot forward in making good home improvement contractor hiring decisions? The following can and will prove helpful if considered and implemented when hiring a contractor.

Relating A Home Improvement’s Cost To The Cost Of The Home

Let’s say your home has a value of $300,000, and you have been presented with contracts from roofers you are considering for hire. The estimates come in with the following price tags: $7,000.00, $10,000.00, and $11,500.00. What is the difference in cost when compared to the value of the home? The first is 2.33% of the homes value, the second is 3.33%, and the third is 3.83%. Looked at in this way, the odd estimate is the lowest, with a 1% spread between it and the middle bid. Also worth noting is that the middle and upper bid are 1/2 of 1% different in total cost relative to the homes value. A third thing worth noting is that even at the highest bid, we are talking about less than 4%, or 1/25th the value of the home. When you consider that:

  • the roof is often 50% of a home’s curb appeal
  • the roof is responsible for keeping the inside protected from the outside
  • roof work is the most dangerous work you can hire a contractor to perform on your home
  • a roof’s “quality of installation” can vary from great to abhorrent while still being considered “correct” by manufacturers

then it is worth looking at cost in this way. $1,500.00 might not be insignificant, but saving $1,500.00 and not hiring the contractor you knew would do the best job is not taking your roofing project seriously. Here is a useful tip. Imagine who you would hire if the work was free. This is the contractor who you should be hiring, regardless of cost. And no, it won’t be that fourth contractor who comes in with the $25,000 bid. That guy will just make you mad. Anyone can see that that price simply cannot be justified as a fourth bid to the first three, and someone is trying to take advantage of someone else for sure.

Reputation Is A Potentially Volatile Metric

The reputation of a contractor can only be ensured if it is in fact the reputation of the contractor. What? I’ll say it another way. The reputation of a contractor is only the contractor’s reputation if it has been derived as a result of the contractor him/herself actually being involved in the work. Consider the following. Companies A, B, and C all have good online reputations. Company A derived their reputation in a relatively short time spread with crew (1), but there has been a significant change in the crew, so the reputation really does not translate. Company B derived their reputation over a longer period of time, but again, the owner is not involved in the work as a knowledgable tradesperson, and there has been a behind the scenes change in the crew, so again, the reputation will not translate. Company C has derived their reputation over a fairly long period of time, and careful inspection of the reviews plus the obvious installation knowledge of the owner and their promise in the contract to involve themselves in your project from beginning to end guarantees the translation of the online reputation to your particular project.

Getting that great online reputation to translate is not something that most companies can in fact guarantee. Most companies are run by people who long ago got out of the business of actually doing the work. The only person in a company who cannot be fired is the owner. I suppose they could fire themselves, but you can bet they’d get rehired tomorrow. Please note I am not saying that the reputation will in fact not translate without the owner’s involvement. I am saying it cannot be guaranteed. This is a bigger deal than most people realize.

Your Best Bet

You really can’t go wrong hiring an actual tradesperson with an actual translatable reputation whose value is high because it is based upon a cost+quality=value evaluation. It is amazing to me that the average person will drop an extra $75,000 when they first buy a home based on almost nothing quantifiable but will find themselves on the wrong end of a bad home improvement experience because they wanted to save 1/2 of 1% of what they originally paid for their home. The one thing I will repeat is this. Hire the contractor you would hire if the job was free. You owe yourself that much.

Thanks for reading.

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