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Joined: Jan 2005
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Cat Servant
Well, I lost my bet, my race with the clock, in my household remodel. In the interests of sharing the 'customers perspective,' I thought to pass on the story.

OK, it has nothing to do with anything electrical - but everything to do with making a sale.

Short version, the best guess was that my roof had a few years of life left to it. This would have given me just enough time to do the interior remodel before having to replace the roof. Well, the roof failed the other evening.
Dramatically. Oops.

Why did I wish to delay? Because my remodel will add some skylights and other roof penetrations, and you don't want to hack up a new roof.

Well, I lost the race. Nothing makes for an interesting 3AM than having the cat wake you - followed by your running around and poking holes in the sagging ceilings with your 'Bell' bit. Let's drain those 'attic lakes' before the entire ceiling comes down.

Contractors .... The first guy said he could patch it for $60. Sure .... let's just smear some goop around and let me chase leaks all winter. Why take advantage of this early warning to fix it right, at our leisure, in good weather?

No sooner had his truck left when a local neighbor, the sort of guy whose household population varies considerably as Suburbans full of Mexicans pass through town, came over to offer his services. I reminded him of my conditions: license, permit, no on-site hiring. He muttered something about what a fool I was to waste my money.

Another guy really wanted to put on a 'forever' roof. Maybe he was right ... but I suspect he wasn't listening when I explained the scale of the remodel.

Finally, the guy I hired saw the sense in doing a tear-off and a cheap roof. As he observed, it's my money. He explained what he would do for his house, and I agreed. Price quoted, offer accepted, he comes tomorrow. I told him to come as early as he likes, even 6AM, before the heat builds up. He liked hearing that.

As for his offer ....
$3500, one day's work, half payment in advance.

I allowed him great lattitude in scheduling - anytime between now and the Fall rains (October). His tenative 'in a week or so' just turned in to "I can be there Saturday." Funny how that works.

My running of the numbers: His materials - everything - will run about $1100. I know this because I have access to the same suppliers as he does. Add another $200 for the dump fee. This puts his price at about 2-1/2 times his cost. For economy materials, he's working cheap.

What- $2200 for a day's labor? Seems kind of high, doesn't it? No, it doesn't .... and I think we all fail to explain to the typical customer where those dollars go.

First off, I don't know how many guys will be there to make it a one-day job. Last Fall I saw a neighboring house take more than a week for one guy to do it.

That truck with the dumpster body he can raise right up to the roof level didn't come out of a Cracker-Jack box. His crews can't work every day, in all weather. (It's not a matter of 'toughness;' I've seen too many roofs fail because they were installed in extreme weather and never had a chance to 'cure' properly). His ladders, tools, safety gear, and insurances all cost $$$$.

I also have this funny feeling that, with this job, I am proving my seriousness as a customer to the local contractors. Who knows? Maybe some of the guys who've been ignoring my calls will suddenly decide I'm a serious customer.

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Joined: Jul 2004
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That does sound cheap. I paid $5600 for a tear off and a new roof. I think it was 28 square.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jan 2005
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Cat Servant
To be fair, this is a small roof, perhaps requiring 16 squares of shingles. Low pitch, easy access. Basic underlay, snow & ice shield at only the basic points, simple asphalt shingles.

As expected, tear-off revealed some rotten sheathing, and there are a few areas where the trim at the eaves will be repaired. There also proved to be three layers, over a 'torch-down' membrane, so stripping the roof appeared more involved than expected. It will be interesting to see if any of this becomes an 'added expense' at the end of the day.

On the plus side, these little surprises confirm my instinct to 'do it right,' rather than just 'patch and pray.'

Crew is three guys and a working lead. While the sky is overcast and the temps in the low 80's, the humidity is appalling.

One nice touch is the use of a rolling magnet to collect any wayward nails, etc.

Notice through this narrative the professional behavior of the contractor. He came as scheduled, fully prepared to do the job. He has proceeded steadily, without having a panic with every little twist. He has maintained a clean and organized site.

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 368
Interesting hearing about the dumpster that can be raised up to roof level.

Never seen one of those used here in Winnipeg.

Usual thing is either a dumpster or truck on the street or side drive if available. The roof crew either throws the shingles on plywood or a ground tarp for a ground guy to pick up, or they throw them off the roof edge into the truck or dumpster.

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