In the movies, when there is an agreement to be made about a financial transaction, the amount is written on a small paper, slid across the table, and then the parties shake hands to seal the deal. However, that is definitely not the way you want to do things! It leaves far too much leeway for miscommunication and misinterpretation for most things. When you need an estimate for a roofing installation, replacement, or repair, you should always get more information than just the dollar total. Here are a few of the things that your roofing contractor should put on your estimate that can avoid a disagreement later.
- Material description – The estimate should include the type of roofing materials to be used, including the brand, style, and color.
- Payment terms – You need to know if there is a deposit to be paid upfront or if the total is due upon completion. If you are financing through them, you should have the terms involved clearly written out either on the estimate itself or as a separate document.
- Materials included – You should be informed as to what materials are included in the estimate and if there could be additional charges if it turns out more materials are needed.
- Permits and inspections – Your estimate should explain if the roofing contractor is pulling the necessary permit and arranging for an inspection or if you are required to do it. It should also point out if the fee is included in the estimate or not.
- Warranty – Sometimes the warranty is written out on the estimate, but it could also be given as a separate document.
- Cost – The estimate may be as a total amount or broken down between materials and labor, as well as any optional additions you might choose from.
There are other items that your roofing contractor might choose to put on the estimate, such as when the work will be completed, how long the estimate is good for, who is responsible for cleanup and removal, and other pertinent information. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about any estimate that leaves you unsure of the scope of the project and don’t sign to accept the proposal until it is filled out with everything that has been discussed. Verbal agreements are legal, but they can be a nightmare to enforce.