The Cheaper Bid: Is it a good choice?


Oh yes the infamous “low bid” temptation. I have to address this in many discussions because we are not generally the lowest price. But if contractors are bidding on the same project, how is it that their prices differ so much?

Well I started my business in 1998 with one helper and I can tell you that my expenses then were a lot less than they are now. But a customer might say, “What does that have to do with MY roof?” Believe it or not, quite a bit.

1. We don’t ever pay our employees minimum wage. We try to hire employees for the long term so that means compensating to keep them. And a happy worker is a great worker!

2. We always have our insurance, certificates, licenses, and vendors current. It is common for smaller companies to not have appropriate insurance and licenses. But if you don’t ask, you may be asking for trouble. Insurance covers them and you in the event of an accident. And licenses prove you are hiring someone that is competent to do the job.

3. We provide our employees with off the job training. Manufacturers come in to train our crews so that we can stay at the top of our game. New products and installation techniques come out all the time. Some companies focus all their time on just getting the next job done.

4. We have office staff. That sounds obvious, but many contractors run their business out of their truck with a cell phone. That’s fine until they need records they don’t have with them. With an office you can be sure you will reach a representative that can assist you most any time.

5. We invest in new technology. This helps make things easier for the customer and our company. With tech changing everyday it seems like, it is very important that we adapt quickly. From new tools, to computer software, to equipment we try to make sure we aren’t caught in the past.

6. We honor or warranties. Now this is a touchy subject because almost all roofers will say, “I’ll be right out there if you ever have a problem!” But I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard the customer say, “I’ve called the guy to come out to check it out but he won’t return my calls!” Or they won’t show up. Or they can’t find the problem. In any case, honoring warranties cost money. But it’s essential if you want to establish a long term good reputation.

Summary: Although I’ve heard of a few people choosing the “low bid” and being very satisfied, they are few and far between. Basically, you are taking a gamble. A gamble that the guy you are hiring who is charging you less is operating fully licensed and insured, has good employees that are reputable too, is reachable when you need him, and will be there to take care of you after the job is complete.

Although a little more money, a contractor that has these things in place generally lowers your risk as a homeowner. This means no “buyers remorse” after the project is done. And that is a good thing.