“You’re overdue,” said my friend over lunch. “Everyone has to get a new roof at least once in their lives!” And so it was, I finally bit the bullet and yesterday, the house that I’ve owned for twenty years got its own new roof. I had been staring up at that stain in an upstairs bedroom, and was warned cryptically by my son-in-law. They knew it would be my problem, my expense, and the fact is that just about everyone I know has had to do this. It’s kind of like root canals.
I began with the typical research, calling the company that advertises the most and has done roofs all around me. Why not see what the big boys have to say? On the day I called, their secretary told me that they would be here the next day and warned me, I’d need to set aside two hours for our meeting. Wow! When the good looking young rep came by, he took a lot of time with me, taking me outside, looking all around the roof and the eaves, and then sitting down at the kitchen table.
That’s when the warnings began. Apparently, I had much to fear from renegade roofing outfits. Between bogus workman’s comp certificates, not putting a high quality enough liner down, and the tendency for roofing companies to go out of business, it was a minefield out there, he said. One by one, he listed the safeguards that his big company offered–hey the namesake of the company himself would go around my lawn and pick up nails with a rolling magnet!
My new best bud prepared an estimate–$11,600, including repairing a small hole in my garage roof. Then he handed me the pen. If you like all of what I’ve said, why not sign right now? I can give you a no-interest loan, for five years. But you gotta sign right now.
No way, I said, “you’re my first estimate. I’m getting a bunch more.” He didn’t like that.
I ended up having three other companies look at the roof. The first guy, who worked as as subcontractor on my addition, never even sent me a quote. Then a guy came to my tag sale and scratched out an estimate for $8500 on a business card. And then I met Brian, of AJ Home Improvements. Sure, he said, I”ll come up. And he told me he was once the sales manager for that pushy expensive well known roofing company. His estimate was $5250. He gave me some references. After one guy gushed into my answering machine about how great these guys were, I was sold.
Today I couldn’t be happier that I got in touch with Brian and his great crew. It took two days, they replaced a bunch of plywood, and the garage fix was included in the price. I’m ready to gush into the phone if anyone asks me if I know a great roofing guy.