Commercial Roof Replacements are Expensive
If it’s your responsibility to replace the commercial roof on a property you own or manage, you’ll go through what many consider to be a daunting process — finding the contractor to do a great job at the best price. However, if you’re like many, you may tend to focus on the latter requirement so you can spend as little as possible. It’s understandable that the bottom line is your priority, however, there are differences from one contractor to the next, and that can make a real difference to the value you receive. Bottom lines can be deceiving.
Lack of Commercial Roofing Knowledge
Commercial roofing contractors are professionals. They’ve developed their skills over many years to the point of having become masters at their professions. Whether they are experts at hands-on roofing system installations or seasoned estimators who have bid thousands of commercial roofing projects or first-rate superintendents who can spot problems before they happen and manage crews in all types of surprise situations, experienced roofing professionals cost more than roofers that don’t have the same knowledge.
Less knowledgeable roofers may be fine people but years of first-hand experience can make a major difference in their recommendations and your outcomes.
Inadequate Commercial Contractor Insurance
There’s a reason so many commercial roofing companies carry minimal insurance — it’s expensive! Commercial roofing insurance is costly because the risk can be enormous. Not only is there risk to bodily injury, but there is risk to whatever is inside the building, plus the building itself. A major problem during re-roofing can allow water into areas where machinery, office or inventory is located, for example, or create issues that impact your operations, tenants or other contractors working on your property. There are dozens of potentially expensive issues that the right type and amount of insurance will cover. It can be easy for contractors to underestimate the amount of coverage they need for each type of insurance they should have.
Lack Commercial Roofing Reputation
If the only service a contractor offers is roof installations, it’s unlikely they’ll be interested in developing a roof management relationship with you. Which means they won’t be around for the long term and don’t need to be as accountable. So they may give you a lower bid — they’re in and out then on their way. Full-service roofing contractors, on the other hand, want long-term business relationships. It’s part of their business model and are more likely to be honest with you about what you need. They offer regular maintenance contracts to keep your new roof in top shape and provide high-level repair services if something goes wrong like debris lands on and punctures your roof. It is always best to have the same contractor who installed your roof be responsible for it afterward because they know everything about your roofing system.
Failure to Use Commercial Grade Materials
Cheaper bids may include cheaper materials. Lower-tier roofing membranes are thinner and don’t last as long, for example. So they cost less. In the short run. You’ll have to re-roof again sooner than you would have with a higher-tier membrane and your roof will have less value and be less of a financial asset to your property — make sure the lower quality and shorter warranty is really what you want and justifies the cost savings. The same goes for the proposed R-value. Make sure the R-value in a lower bid meets your state’s thermal code. Sometimes contractors propose using less insulation than required to bring down the total cost of the project.
Poor Construction Planning
It doesn’t cost much to plan poorly. On the other hand, to plan your project’s logistics down to the last detail to prevent your operations and the people who use your property from being impacted or inconvenienced while the work is being completed is a different story. From the delivery and placement of materials to work-hour schedules to where the crew parks their vehicles and how behaves on your property, details matter. Not spending the time on the front end to thoroughly plan workflow can lead to time delays, tenant frustrations and complaints, conflicts with other contractors working on the property, and a generally disorganized project overall. Professional roofing contractors are also professionals in logistics and staging. They invest in providing you with a smooth re-roofing process that’s completed on time and on budget.
Lack Commercial Roof Training
Sometimes you get a low bid because a contractor hasn’t invested much time or effort to properly train its crews. So they can give you a lower price. All experts need to start someplace so giving you a low bid can allow them to get more on-the-job training for their crews — they can learn installation processes, materials and techniques as they do the work.
Understanding costs and choosing the best contractor for your commercial roofing needs can save you and your company time and money in the long run.