“You get what you pay for”
“If it sound too good to be true, it probably is”
“You buy cheaply, you pay dearly”
“Great work ain’t cheap. Cheap work ain’t great.”
These sayings reflect the hard lesson learned after being lured by a cheaper price and receiving an inferior product or service. We all want to save a buck when we can. Putting a roof on your home is an expensive proposition. No one REALLY wants to replace their roof, it’s not very exciting and you can’t enjoy it like a new car or a fun vacation. Your roof is long term investment that protects your home’s structure beneath it and possessions inside it. Though, if you choose quality materials installed by a knowledgeable, trustworthy roofer, you may never need to install another.
Thing is, often there is less responsibility and more profit for a business having independent contractors – subcontractors – doing the actual work than if they provided the service. Maybe with Uber or Lyft it doesn’t effect the customer directly (you got a ride to where you’re going), but with home improvement work, WHO is DOING the work matters. After you receive an estimate, complete your research and hire a roofer, is the company that gave you the quote the ones installing the roof? Chances are the answer is – No. Many, let’s call them, “Roof bidders” have only a sales dept, manager and maybe one or two actual employees to fix problems. More on that later. These companies farm out the work to subcontractors. So these subcontractor roofers coming to tear off and install your new roof were not vetted by you and are not employees of the company you thought you hired. Being in this business a long time, we’ve found that many (if not most) residential roofing subs have quite a few problems. Let’s start with insurances. The sub may be able to produce a worker’s comp certificate, but it probably only covers one, maybe two workers, the rest are not covered (saves $). If one of the uncovered workers injures themselves or another on your property, now you and your homeowner’s insurance may be involved. Subs may or may not have liability insurance coverage. Often it’s for minimal amount and for an entirely different class of business, say siding instead of roofing. This will delay any remedy you may have to fix damages from shoddy work, as the “roofer bidder” you hired will be passing along the responsibility to the sub you did not have a hand in hiring. A sub crew often has many undocumented workers, usually paid in cash. Legitimate employers can’t and won’t hire undocumented workers. “Roof bidders” are instinctively aware and don’t want to ask their subcontractor questions they don’t want to know the answers to. Most important to you the customer; who is making sure the sub crew is trained to properly install your roof? So back to the one or two employees working for “roof bidders”. These are the repair guys that usually have some roofing skills. They fix the things the sub crew messed up or did improperly, such as incorrect flashing around openings in the roof (skylight, chimney, various pipes), sloppy work, damages to home. These problems can be avoided, costing a little more up front, but less money and aggravation in the long term by hiring a roofer who employs and thus controls it’s own workers. As Warren Buffet says, “Price is what you pay, Value is what you get”.