You know your commercial property needs roof repairs, but you also know your annual maintenance and repair budget is only so big. Here is how to polish your crystal ball and accurately forecast your roof repair needs and the money to pay for them.
Some commercial roofers create “estimates” that never quite seem to get close to the final cost of a roof repair. A roofing contractor quotes you one price, does the job, and then adds on “unforeseen costs.” Beware the vague estimate.
We recommend getting a very accurate scope of work in any estimate for any major roof repair; unless, of course, you have a trusted roofing ally. An additional tip: Have the contractor provide a proposed schedule with the bid estimate that includes the estimated start time and estimated project duration. The schedule may become a top consideration if the low-bidder cannot start the project based on your needs.
This eliminates several of the notorious “unforeseen circumstances,” such as:
- Scheduling conflicts that run up costs
- Inflated labor charges for accelerating the project timeline to be done in an unrealistically short time frame
- Surcharges for storing repair materials on the contractor’s site
But You Said …
Poor communication — or worse, no communication — can lead to expensive roof repairs and awful annual budgets. Sometimes the roofing contractor says one thing but you, as a commercial property manager, hear something very different.
This tendency to listen selectively is common to all trades. With roof repairs, confirmation bias (hearing what you want to hear) can lead to expensive budget busters.
One or two rounds of bad communication between you and your roofing contractor can lead to all sorts of consequences:
- You heard June and the contractor said July for the roof repair
- You heard two days but the contractors claim they said two weeks
- You heard $20,000 for the full estimate while the contractor recalls $120,000
- Clients, employees, tenants, and visitors of the building under repair can lose faith in your posted notices as to when the repairs would start and stop
- You heard or saw a phrase such as “all-inclusive,” or “firm estimate” when the contractor claims a misprint, outdated estimate form, or inexperienced sales representative
- Your roof budget was $25,000 and the final invoice arrives for $67,000
You can avoid many headaches by taking your time with the repair process. Do not be hurried into choosing one contractor over another simply because one can “squeeze your job in.”
Compare estimates, and see if one contractor has included something others left out (for good or for bad). Make sure all your estimates specify the full scope of work:
- Leak location
- On-site materials delivery and storage
- Type of roof
- Building height
- Type of roofing material
- Method of repair
- Pitch of roof
- Access for workers and materials handling
- Extent of damage
Where Roof Repair Costs Come From
All those factors mentioned above — leak location, damage, access — contribute to cost. For example, the slope (pitch) of your roof has a lot to do with repair costs:
A low-slope roof costs less than a steep-slope roof to install, but more to maintain; water tends to settle on low-slope roofs rather than run off promptly
Take another factor, such as access to your roof. If a roof repair crew has to scale three ladders with safety cages or run all materials through a hatchway, time and effort increase. Costs increase.
You need to examine the estimates carefully to be certain unreasonable charges are not being slipped in. A one-story warehouse with a full truck lot should not generate the same costs as a five-story office tower with no room for storing and staging materials.
Do not be afraid to pull out a moldering old warranty packet that may actually provide for financial relief. A conscientious contractor will ask about warranties upfront before estimates are generated. The contractor would, in most cases, prefer warranted work, because the manufacturer, not you, will shoulder the cost.
Commercial roof warranties are, however, slippery things. You may need to adjust your repair schedule to provide time for a manufacturer’s representative to visit your site and declare that, yes, the roof repair is covered under warranty.
The wait will be worthwhile. If you and your roofing contractor have a trusting relationship, your roofer will understand the delay and provide firsthand information to the manufacturer’s representative to bolster a warranty claim. It could be the difference between a roofing repair that explodes your company’s budget and one that is affordable. PSI Roofing is dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service and the most accurate, affordable roof repair estimates. For superior service to your commercial property, contact us at PSI Roofing today.