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How stupid can you be paying too LITTLE for a roof?

5875 Views 31 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  CCCo.
So I am at a job yesterday looking at some box gutters. The customer says his roof is one year old and roofers messed up the gutters which I guessed to be about 8 years old and he confirmed. IN conversation I asked who did the roof, it ended up being the guys with the pink trucks (the chicago guys will know who i am talking about). When he said that I told him to start saving for a new roof in about 5 years. He looked dumbfounded and I explained we repair ALOT of their work.

I asked what he paid. He said $8k, and seemed insulted that "the next cheapest guy wanted $18k". I said he should have gotten a 3rd bid to equalize. He said he got 4 and the other 2 were in the same range as the $18k guy up to about $22k. I then asked him what he was thinking when he got 4 bids, 3 of which were all in the same range, and the other one he chose was less than half the price. I then said well, I guess you got what you paid for since now you have to replace your reletively new gutters.

Yes I was being slightly condesending, but I needed a release of built up anger towards customers just like that, plus he needed a reality check. I also told him there is no way I am going to be the cheapest and if that's what he is looking for we should go our seperate ways before wasting each other's time. He assured me he wanted it done right blah blah blah. Yeah right.

How stupid can you be to hire the low bidder, when he's half the price of all the other bidders? That happened to me earlier this year on a large commercial job.

How stupid can that roofer be leaving so much money on the table? If you want to be the cheapest, fine... but don't be half price!!!
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yesterdays repair estimate on a one yr. old roof--- $8560. Don't know if I 'll get it

Last month's Price Joke----- Onwer got three prices mine @ over 15K, one @ $8200 one @ $9200.
The owner EXPECTED to pay between $10-12K.

He is paying $8200.

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Agreed! I don't know how some do it. :blink:
If you want to be the cheapest, fine... but don't be half price!!!
You get what you pay for.

I find with a lot of subs, they do not know what to charge and these guys by in large are responsible for most of the low pricing (I am speaking residentially). I do not know if this situation is avoidable to be frank. It is not like someone is going to tell them what they should be charging, right?

However, you do have those established companies going around who have decided to pick the low-ball/discount roofing market as their own and pride themselves on it. Those guys do a large volume of work on the cheap, with a continually revolving door of subs, peddling their cheapness on everything, thus encouraging their subs to do much of the same. Roofing is hard enough, why those particular companies want to make it harder is entirely beyond me, it's not like they don't know the rates out there. Then again, those customers I don't want to deal with anyway, and there will always be those.

The best you can hope for is they learn their lesson, change their tune, and when it leaks or fails, call back the guy whom they feel is going to do the best job, not the cheapest.
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Grumpy it gives you more work though. You can smile all the way to the bank.
Homeowners have their reasons for doing what they want. We can go with their decision and look for opportunities to do better than the other guys and capitalize.
Yeah it gives me more repair work but I'd take the repalcement job for $18k with a 30% markup over the repair job for $2k with a 100% markup, any day. I mostly get the repair work since by that time they don't want to buy a roof again and I am left fixing others mistakes. I suppose if you do the math, they are still out ahead. $8k to install plus $2k to fix later on down the road. That's 10k and they are $8k ahead as compared to the next cheapest bidder who was $18k. However in this case these 8 year old gutters are going to cost approximately $3k to replace, I figure I'll be able to sell him a silver coat for another $2-3K, and down the road he'll need flashing work at the pipes and walls. Eh I suppose in the long run he's breaking even but having ALOT more head aches than if he had done it right the first time. BTW from my rough calculations, I'd have been right there with that $18k guy.

BTW I do know how they are so cheap and this is their business model: Every 2-3 years they change their name slightly where they append a "& disposal", "& gutters" "& supply" The first two words of the name are always the same but legally they are a new corporation every 2-3 years. In addition they purposely hire illegal alien subs, and string them along for a few months. Before you know it they owe the sub $10-20K and tell them "kick rocks, they aint paying them and try to sue, you're illegal." I have been told this by more than one person. Finally they buy material seconds by the truck load and warehouse at their facility. Yes they are installing materials that are nothing more than factory mistakes and passing them off like some kind of quality material.
Reminds me of the bid I put in last Fall.

I gave the home owner a bid to give to his insurance company, $14,000.
The home owner told me he got a check from the insurance company for $9,000 which tells me very little as far as what the total roof scope was. All I know is they figured at least $9,000 for the roof.
He told me he had a bid for $5,500. Shocked I told him he better go with that them, they are really cheap!!! Sure enough he got it done and they even put on laminates. On a job like to this for quality materials they would cost well over $4,000. Luckily was too busy to even think about a counter offer from the $5,500 bid to my $14,000 bid.

The most greedy owner this year was more than likely the richest I've met in my life and after getting a insurance settlement for $130K he took five bids and talked to the two lowest at $98K and $102K. It just so happened I was the second lowest bidder and of course they went with the low bidder. To think for $4K more they could have had a local family do the roofing with every dollar stuck right back into the local economy. Instead they wanted to profit as much as possible and get upgraded everything. For the heck of it I punched the numbers into Xactimate and the bid came to $170K.
BTW, I don't feel one bit bad for a home owner who has problems with either a cheap roofer or a cheap roof job. As a matter of fact, no never mind!!!
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Hey 8200 then go out of business and change name is 8200 in the bank, there is nothing we can do against these odds just keep plugging away people will hopefully realise that the cheapest is not the best choice
It is like this outside of roofing too. I have been told 3 times in the last 4 days my price was WAY OUT THERE.. :no: The one you are going with is not going to do the job right.. and you will end up with a far inferior product in the end. I have no pity for them. AND that is not who I want to work for anyway. Funny, I got ribbed both times.. like they were "stink nosing" me.. It was nice to throw it right back at them letting them know they are not paying enough to get their projects done and "I hope the quality of work you are getting is satisfactory in the end".. :laughing:

Some will never learn.
It'll will only be a matter of time till people realize that there are a of scams and scam artist out there now.
Since everyone has been affected by the current market right now,they're all trying to trim the fat,save some cash and get the most for their money.

They will realize after a while that hiring the tried and true contractors is a lot cheaper in the long run.A lot of us made it through a couple other recessions,and remember how many new "tradespeople" appeared out of nowhere.
We bitched about their quality,watched them steal jobs,wondered how long they would last,and made the most of what we had.
Same senario,just seems to be a little tiring right now.

We've been through it before,some HO's haven't,so they're still on that learning curve.
The few HO's that are educated enough will continue to do their homework on hiring,I feel sorry for the rest.
I've suceeded to get work for 30 years without advertizing,and now feel the need to try and compete with prices that are 30% below norm.
Truth is more competitors ,competing for fewer jobs now,so it's a buyer beware market.

It makes no sense to take a bid that is so far under the average,but everyone seems to be playing a "I got such a deal" game right now,it makes them feel like they're beating the system and making up for lost retirement revenues.
Get used to it,and find a way to stay out of playing a losing game.

The only losers are going to be the ones that think they can accomplish a task at a rediculously lower price.
Somebody is going to cut corners somewhere,it's just a mater of landing the job.

When there is no I&W on a roof,no vapor barrier under siding,2 nails in a shingle,non code compliant jobs done,whatever..................
If we've survived this long,we'll be golden in the next boom,it's just a matter of riding out the hacks,lowballers,handymen entrepenuers,layed off union workers,I did a roof for my self types,I read a book on it people...............
Scary,but the last economic recession around here exposed a lot of posers that just created a lot more work for the tried and true contractors.
Hang in there Grumpy,the next upsurge will be your retirement savings,because these lowballers won't last,yet alone be available for any warrantes that we can honor.
Except then they die off and their kids saw them buying cheap their whole life and they reinvent the wheel of buying cheap.
Hey 8200 then go out of business and change name is 8200 in the bank, there is nothing we can do against these odds just keep plugging away people will hopefully realise that the cheapest is not the best choice
I agree, I just spent 1 hour talking with a guy about a $500 difference in my price and another contractor. I told him that references and local roofers, myself, can go a very long way. I replaced this guys dad's roof 2 years ago and 3 roofs on his street just in the past storm, end of last year. I told him I can cut my price if he wants to go with a shingle that is cheaper made IMO since some brands are running about $9 less a bundle yet I deny going with them since I traveled to 3 manufacturers before choosing my certification with one.

I seldom argue over $500, it's usually a $2,000 argument that I am having with potential customers.
Low bids usually mean inferior work and lots of cut corners . In these times it is hard to walk from work but I will not sacrifice quality or use products that I don't feel are worthy . In the long run I believe this strategy will prevail and make those of us who use it stronger . I run as fast as I can from those seeking the "low bid" .
NNY I'm with you, but it's real EZ to take the high ground when work is plentiful. When you are barely by scraping because everyone is scared of the economy and hiring the low bidder, taking the high ground doesn't usually pay the bills. That's the problem I am having this year. So many so many guys whoa re getting let go of their jobs are starting their own company and low balling. So many guys that work construction or remodeling that wouldn't normally touch a roof are out there putting the wrong number on jobs lowering the value of what the roof really should cost.

I do see alot of poor workmanship, I see alot of flashings re-used. I see cheap shingles being installed. The problem is all of these people buying the low bid probably beelive in their mind that they are selling as soon as the market rebounds. There are few and seldom the customer who says to themselves "I am staying here and it's an investment to doing this job right." the rest buy cheap, because let's face it; the problems will not be present on day one, they will however be present on year 5 and year 7 and that 30 year roof will be replaced in 15-17 years. In 15-17 years it'll be someone elses problem so that person who bought the low bidder made out like a bandit.
Grump, I wish you were out here in NY.

I did my own garage roof when I sided my house, but for the main roof, I wanted to just sub it out and get it done, but get it done right.

I started the conversation with 3 roofers the same exact way. "I have weeks of my own time into the outside of my house, I want this done the right way even if it costs more"

From there I went on the show them a flashing detail provided by the manufacturer of the cultured stone that I was putting on my chimmney. They basically wanted to ignore it and do it another way. I asked them to use copper on the chimmney and instantly they are saying there is no need, I'll use aluminum??? I say I want drip edge on the rakes because I replaced the rake boards with the old roof in place and there is a bit of variation in gap to the roof. They all responed with, you don't need to put drip edge on the rake, I said I know, but I want to, charge me for it.

I got 3 numbers, none of them included the details I asked for :laughing:

I don't get it, are these guys that used to dealing with people that don't have a clue that they don't know how to discuss a project with someone who does??
Tccoggs, you'd be suprised how many salesman just don't have a clue. I'll never say no to an upgrade requested by the customer. I have told customers I would not follow their spec if I did not believe in it and I too have walked away from various jobs when the customer thought they knew what they were talking about. I am not saying this is the case here, but I am saying sometimes customers know enough to be dangerous. However details like drip edge and copper flashing are nothing to walk away from. Except that alot of shinglers have no concept of how a flashing is supposed to be.
That's just crazy, I love it when the home owner starts asking for extra's and especially when they have at least and idea of the spec's involved.
No easier sale out there than when your dealing with a home owner who knows what they want.
When quoting a roof I have been offerng 3 prices. 1 as a bare minimum 30 roof, cheap vent a ridge, 15# felt, cheap caps minimum Ice & water. Next price is with all the bells and whistles. Ice and water up the rakes, delux venta ridge, aluminum in the valleys to go along with the I&W, etc. And then I also offer up a price on a 40 year and a lifetime.

ALL my roofs include new flashings and drip edge all the way around. When giving them the prices they can compare the apples to apples and I make sure when delivering them that they can see the difference. Very few go with the cheap version.
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