Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Goldilocks and The Three Roofing Estimates

Our new house needs a new roof.  We knew this when we bought it, and the inspector said it had to be done soon.  (Since I didn't have a new job yet when we bought it, and we weren't married at the time, and I still own my other house, Katherine bought this house on her own.  Since she bought me a house, I said that I would pay for the roof by myself.  It also means I can I say I put a roof over our heads.)

Roof Over Your Head Day?  Seriously?

So I called three roofing companies to get estimates.

The first was a local company with a really good reputation.  They made a scant, cursory inspection the roof without ever consulting with me.  The estimate was not very descriptive, just a short paragraph. And the price was $3000 more than the others.

The first estimate was too cold

The second guy was so friendly and personable on the phone I thought, "Wow, he sounds like he'd be pleasant to work with."  He came over for the estimate, and he was very chatty.  We learned that we're both the youngest of five children, and that his name is Dan with a brother named Tim.  My name is Tim with a brother named Dan!  He walked all through my house, looking in the attic and the basement, helping me to figure out where a leak in the basement might be coming from.  He kept commenting on things that have nothing to do with the roof, and made suggestions about products I should buy.  Then he went up on the roof and rooted around there for like 30 minutes.  He came back inside and sat down with me at the dining room table and continued to talk at me for another half an hour.  By this time Katherine had to go into work, so I had to say goodbye to her while this guy continued to talk.  He kept telling me not to believe all the "smoke and mirrors" that roofers are going to give me.  About how the warranties are really useless.  And then told me all about his warranties.  He spoke at length about "synthetic roofing underlayment," which is supposed to be way superior to the traditional felt underlay.  (Afterwards I looked it up, and it seems like the biggest advantage to the synthetic stuff is that it's easier to install.  Which doesn't concern me, because I'm not putting it on myself anyway. That's what I'm paying the roofer to do.)

So after the guy finally left I was so annoyed with him that I thought I don't even want to work with him even if he gives me the best estimate.  He was trying way too hard to be chummy, and was also trying way too hard to prove to me how much better he was than the other roofers.

When the estimate did come, it was addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Tim Mylastname."  Uh, what is this, 1950?  The estimate itself was two pages long, with tons of optional add-ons.

The third company had a guy come out, he got a little bit of information, talked to me for maybe five minutes, went up on the roof, then told me he'd send an estimate.  The estimate was lower than the others, with three options for differently-priced shingles, and two options for add-ons (new gutters and/or a new chimney.)  All of this seemed very reasonable.  It wasn't too much information and it wasn't too little.  It was just right.


When I called the third company to tell them I wanted to go with them, the guy was very friendly and happy we'd chosen them.  He came over again to discuss shingles and a schedule and to get the deposit, and when I asked him about the other guy's explanation for the leak in the basement, he said the other guy was absolutely wrong.  So, there's also that.  He made one comment about my collection of beer bottles in the basement, but not in a desperate, stalkery, trying-to-hard-to-be-my-friend way like the other roofer.  He was the kind of guy I'd like to do business with: competent, trustworthy, and not getting all up in my business. 

My bottle collection, tastefully admired by my new roofer



asplenia said...

I feel like I learned something from this for the someday when I have a house.

Sarah B said...

We've been going back and forth on buying a fixer upper house, and this kind of makes me. . .not want to.

Incidentally, I really like being Mrs. Dennis Ourlastname. Then again, I'm pretty sure I've been reincarnated from being a 50's housewife anyway.