Roofing Estimate Help

We're in the process of getting estimates to strip and re-roof our house. All companies asked to provide an estimate are licensed constractors and in most cases approved by at least one major shingle factory.
The difference in price has been substantial. I think I'll throw out the highest and lowest bidder, but does anyone have any suggestions about what criteria I should use to pick who does the job? Also are roofing estimates ever negotiable, or is that just something that is not done. If it is negotiable, how should I start? I am a neophyte with this kind of work.
Thanks!
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Chris Simpson wrote:

not
Hey Chris. Well, you could reinvent the wheel and try to come up to speed on negotiating construction contracts, or you could do a more effective form of homework. Is it safe to assume that some of the contractors that provided bids had been recommended by friends and neighbors? Did you ask the contractors for recent and not so recent references and checked up on them? Have you checked with the licensing board and the BBB? It's also good to ask a couple of people (counter help and outside) at the local roofing supplier for someone who is reputable and does a reasonable volume of work.
Of course you have to make sure you're comparing apples to apples. You need to make sure that all the contractors are bidding on the same thing. Same shingles of course, whether they're reusing or replacing the flashing, drip edge, type of underlayment, how they deal with the valleys, type of ridge venting, etc. You should also ask about how they deal with protecting your property and clean up.
After you have done all your homework and gotten bids from your short list, there will usually be one or two guys that start standing out from the crowd. They'll make you feel comfortable with their ability to do the job and stand behind what they say. That doesn't mean that you'd necessarily want to hang out with them, but that they are straightforward and the type of person you like to do business with.
As far as negotiating prices, that will depend on the contractor. Some might have built in some wiggle room and won't mind flexing a bit. Others might feel that you're trying to chisel them down and that you'll be a "problem" customer. If you want to open up the discussion, ask them if there's a way to bring the price down a bit, and where you might save some money. You didn't go into details about your project, and roofing doesn't have a lot of unnecessary steps or wasteful techniques, but you'll find that some contractors have a preferred way of doing things and that the price goes up pretty quick when they can't do it their way.
good luck with it
R
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You got different prices so they may or may not have already given you their best. You can ask if they will come down, they may or may not. Check their insurance with their broker and lisence with the city. Check and see jobs. Check court records to see if suits have been brought. I hired a hack and found out after the fact he looses 2-3 cases every year and owes 60000 + to everyone 1200 to me and I cant collect. Best is deal with someone well known and established. Prices will vary this time of year as in my area it is still cold out and those that need work, or are new, bid less. Dont give a down payment till they actualy arrive with equipment, material and start work. Take out a permit, this will get you free ongoing inspections if you ask and a final inspection and clean up. Do not pay in full till it is finaly inspected. Chimney flashing is the most overlooked and easy way for a roofer to screw you.
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Also locate any rotted wood first if possible from the inside, this can add up and be an area you can be overcharged or cheated by it not being done. One roofer knew all rotted wood and agreed to replace it but when I saw the roof going on I stopped the job, got on the roof myself and busted all the rot wood so he only then would replace it. And He again tried to cheat me by bringing up a cheaper roof while leaving bundles of the good roof on the ground. And he isnt the guy I took to court, I paid him but was pissed.
Your chimney should be looked at first as often tuckpointing is necessary, do this first before the roof
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On Mon, 28 Mar 2005 22:52:35 -0500, someone wrote:

Why throw out the lowest too, are you scoring Olympic skating? If the lowest is qualified and meets the specs why would you throw them out and pay more?
Reply to NG only - this e.mail address goes to a kill file.
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On Mon, 28 Mar 2005 22:52:35 -0500, Chris Simpson

Check the BBB website. It is a *really* good resource.
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
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