If you’ve started working with a commercial roofing contractor, you’ve probably already heard the terms “estimate” and “proposal” being thrown around. Because we use the words so frequently, you may be wondering if they’re interchangeable. Although the general idea behind an estimate and a proposal is similar, there are some substantial differences between the two.
The better you understand the differences between an estimate and a proposal, the better prepared you’ll be to find the best value on the market as you continue shopping around for your ideal roofing solution. Here are some of the crucial differences to help get you started.
Many roofing contractors offer free estimates. But you’re probably wondering how much a free estimate can really tell you. A roofing estimate provides a general outline of the materials a contractor expects to use for your project.
The estimate also lays out general timelines for project completion and clean up as well as what the contractor is responsible for and what’s covered by the contractor’s installation warranty. In addition, an estimate clarifies the details and costs of any potential add-ons you may be considering.
Many roofing contractors will try to get you to sign a contract if you’re happy with the estimate they provide. You should be wary of signing a contract after you’ve only seen an estimate, however, because there can be substantial discrepancies between projected and actual costs.
If you’re satisfied with the estimate, the natural next step is requesting a proposal. Estimates are intended to help you decide if you want to work with a particular contractor. A proposal, on the other hand, provides a more concrete picture of what a project will cost.
If you like the direction of an estimate, it’s time to request a proposal from the contractor. A roofing proposal establishes the cost for your projects that both you and the contractor are bound to. While an estimate provides a general idea of material costs, the proposal details the costs of materials, labor, and any add-ons you may choose.
These numbers are what you will pay on completion of the project. Unlike with an estimate, the contractor agrees not to exceed the price specified by the proposal during the course of the project. That means if you aren’t happy with the price specified by the proposal, you don’t sign a contract with the roofer. If, however, you’re satisfied with the proposal, you can enter into an agreement knowing precisely what you’ll be paying.
Not all proposals are the same. Some are 10 pages; others may only be two. Be certain that the proposal outlines all of the details and critical information in writing before you proceed any further. The more you have in writing, the better protected you’ll be if any miscommunication occurs.
Want to learn more about what an estimate or proposal may look like for your next roofing project? Contact our team of experts today so we can help you get started.