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What is the Real Cost of the Lowest Price?

When buying something as important as a roof, the desire to make the “right” decision is often stronger than with everyday purchases; very few people purchase a roof on a whim. Repairing or replacing a roof is a serious decision and much like buying a car, consumers are determined not to get “taken” in the process. This determination can lead homeowners to choose the lowest quote for their project. But defaulting to the lowest price roof can be a dangerous mindset for customers. Often there are hidden costs in the low bid resulting in harmful problems down the line. So, that begs the question: what is the real cost of the lowest price?

Trusted home service review site, Angie’s List, recently compiled a list of six tips to help consumers hire the right roofer. Among these tips was: price isn’t everything; which may seem contradictory because for many price is the most important, if not the only thing. However, there are several compelling reasons to be suspicious of the lowest offer. Everyone is familiar with the old adage “you get what you pay for” and while that is typically used as a criticism after the fact, it can be helpful to keep in mind before making a purchase. It is important to think about what you could be losing with the cheaper prices as well as what you are saving. If the quote seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

A roof is made up of so much more than just shingles. A home’s roof is made up of many parts, all of which can cause problems if not installed or maintained properly.[1] Cutting corners on just one of these parts can put the integrity of the project in jeopardy and risks damage to the roof in the future. Those customers who are determined to make their decision based solely on price will most likely end up spending more money in the long run. Reputable, established roofing companies have workmanship guarantees which guards against shoddy work.[2] This warranty is often included in the higher priced quotes and is the first thing to get cut in the cheapest ones. A workmanship guarantee such as an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred certification can minimize any issues and further expenses that homeowners may have down the road. Evangelina DePaz, an Angie’s List customer, had to pay to have her roof repaired twice; $11,600 for the initial repair, and then another $23,000 for an entirely new roof in order to fix what had been skipped over by the first contractor.[3] Professional roofers, Dustin and Piper Chilson say nearly 70 percent of their work involves fixing another company’s mistakes.[4] In order to arrive at that lower quote, companies take short-cuts to save on price. But these short-cuts are to the detriment of the homeowner and end up costing them in more ways than one.

When customers were asked what they felt was the most important factor of buying a new roof was, 61% of customers said that the longevity of their roof was most important to them. A roof’s strength and protection was thought to be the second most important aspect, at 16%. A home’s roof is what protects it from the elements, the longer your roof lasts the better shape your home will be in so it’s no wonder that longevity and protection are highly valued, but they don’t come cheaply. When you choose the cheapest price you could be short changing your home the durability and protection that is so critical.

Evaluating a company based on solely on the quotes and contracts they provide you with is becoming increasingly difficult, as contracts can differ considerably from one roofing contractor to another.[5] Here are the important things to consider when evaluating different quotes:

1)    Is the scope of work truly the same?

2)    Are the materials the same quality?

3)    Are the same warranties offered across the board?

4)    Is the contractor trustworthy and willing to stand behind their work?

5)    Does the company have longevity; will they be around in five or ten years should something go wrong?

No one really wants to buy a roof once, let alone have to pay for it a second time to fix mistakes due to cut corners and cheap materials. Make sure that the roofing company you choose is more than just a cheap price, or else you could end up paying double.

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