Ice Dams - Roofing - Contractor Talk

Ice Dams

 
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:41 AM   #1
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Ice Dams


I wasn't sure where to put this, but roofing seemed most appropriate.

I'm sure there are people that deal with these all the time, but I think this is especially relevant for those in New England right now.

As much as we might try to avoid these calls, there is an incredible amount of need (or at least an imagined need partially crested by homeowners terrified of what they hear on the news) for roof leak related services right now. My question is how (not how much) to price it? I hate t&m for remodeling, but I've fallen to it for roof leak assistance. I've got 1 rate for ladder work, and another rate for getting on the roof.

I was hoping to get some input on what others do in this situation. I'm too small and too busy to be going to look at these jobs ahead of time and then writing a fixed cost proposal for this stuff. And though I could do it upon arrival and looking at the roof, I can't be sure the owner will be home or available to accept my estimate at the time I arrive. I don't really have time to wait for a response or come back later.

Is there a better way to price this work? Also, do you get anything in writing in terms of NOT guaranteeing to stop the leaking?
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Old 02-14-2015, 07:21 AM   #2
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Re: Ice Dams


First off charge to look & find the issue (flat fee works great) - right now it isn't on the roof but rather in the attic which means you can help stop some damage by placing a box fan & blowing cold air at the area (assuming the attic isn't that hot)
Second fix the real problem - replacing the roof or adding in more ventilation is not the answer
Third use it as a tool to look at the whole place, become there "it is time to redo that bath, lets call"

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Old 02-14-2015, 09:26 AM   #3
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Re: Ice Dams


In the past we offered free estimates for snow removal and ice dam steaming. When we weren't super busy it wasn't too bad as my father who's been in the roofing industry for over 40 years did the estimates, he sold 90%+ of the homes he looked at. Snow removal is a little more straight forward compared to ice dam steaming as some ice dams go up the roof more than others and some are thicker than others. Not sure how he figured it but his time estimates for ice dam steaming were always very good. Some he said in 2 hours and the problem area(s) would be addressed, some more than 2 hours. One he bid 10 hours of snow removal and 10 hours of ice dam steaming. We got the job and it took exactly 10/10 hours.

When we got super busy last year (50-100 calls a day for ice dam steaming) we stopped offering estimates and just scheduled based on our two hour minimum. We no longer mentioned free estimates on our Angie's List free add. We also no longer advertised heat cable installs as last Winter we found it in most cases it was too cold for them and we steamed a lot of roofs with cables plugged in.

Please PM me if your interested in how we charged for snow removal and ice dam steaming. Would rather not post hourly charges and the logistics on this board.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:45 AM   #4
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Re: Ice Dams


We do a fair amount of this work, it seems like the folks that have a leak are not too concerned with shopping for pricing although the proce foe us to man a job is based on full hours including 30 miinutes in town and longer for out of town. Does not matter to us whether wre are on the roof or not, for obvious reasons we cannot get on all roofs safely but then again these steep roofs are not leaking it is the ranch burners.
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:18 PM   #5
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Re: Ice Dams


I have never and will never give any type of warranty or guarantee on ice dam or snow removal.

Heard a lot of companies were telling there guys to just let the snow and ice chunks drop and don't worry about were they land!
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:21 PM   #6
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Re: Ice Dams


We have done 75% of ice dam steaming on homes built from the turn of the century to the 40's. Most older homes with the short overhangs are steeper so there's less height to the ice dams but they don't need to get very tall to get into the walls. There is also more heat loss on these older homes. The low pitched homes can get massive ice dams of course and with big overhangs can get ice several feet up the from the eave.

Agree, when the water is leaking in the home most consumers don't want to call every company in the phone book to find the lowest rate. Most are concerned about method of ice removal and how quick can you get it done. We've booked many and then told the customer our rates.
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Old 02-15-2015, 06:40 AM   #7
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Re: Ice Dams


Thanks for the replies everyone. SLS I agree that is a good opportunity to find the real cause and sign them up for work in the spring. I like the idea of charging just to come look.

To clarify, we don't do roofing and I have only been agreeing to help existing customers. This is not an area I would like to be more involved in if I can help it. I just hate pricing by the hour. No problems with it yet, just wasn't sure if there weren't better ideas.

The weather here right now is perfect for ice dams. The last time it was like this was 4 years ago. People are absolutely in a panic. Most of them just need to be talked down from the ledge right now as a lot don't have leaks yet but are just scared they will soon.

Sounds like I'll just stick with hourly for now. Hopefully it'll stop dumping snow once a week and warm up so we can just forget about this problem altogether. Thanks again for the input.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:47 AM   #8
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Re: Ice Dams


I charge by the LF


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