The Pitfalls of Selecting the Low-Bid Roofer
Quite often, low bids are poor estimates, an indication that the contractor may not understand your needs and requirements, or a tell-tale sign they’re utilizing inadequate or untrained workers.
Comparing bids based solely on price, assumes that contractors are proposing the exact same project, which is rarely true. Corporate procurement may just look at the price on a spreadsheet, without realizing the roof systems proposed and application of them (e.g. design criteria, such as number of fasteners, amount of adhesive, etc.) vary greatly. These differences can significantly impact the performance, energy efficiency, and service life of the roof.
Some contractors come in with low bids with the hope of securing more work from the customer in the future. Their low bid may result in:
- Change orders (i.e. subsequent unforeseen costs) as the project progresses.
- Installation of materials that were not specified.
- Poor workmanship as the contractor cuts corners to make up their losses.
The result is more oversight and project management from the customer (taking time away from their normal job responsibilities) and an increased likelihood of premature roof failure.
Viewing roofing as a commodity rather than a service means judging the proposed project, contractor, and scope of work solely on price, rather than performance, skills, experience, safety, etc. There is no contractor qualification criteria involved in the decision.
The quality of the roof system cannot be determined solely by price. At any price a roof system installed poorly is a poor quality roof. More needs to be considered than just the dollar amount when making a decision.
The bottom line is this: the best course of action when evaluating contractors and their bids is always look at more than the bottom line.