FACTS about Public Roofing Procurement, and Oversight. Copyright 2010 by Robert R. Solomon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"How to write a roofing proposal"

This is intended primarily for entry level contractors, who may not know what is required of them in the most basic of all roofing paperwork: "The Proposal"

Many roofers and their clients use the "Proposal", in lieu of a contract (mainly residential), so that will be the focus of our discussion, elementary as it may be.  Remember, if it is not contained within the 4 corners of your proposal, it is not enforceable.  Watch "Judge Judy" sometime, and she'll tell you the same thing.

These components never change, and  regardless of your aversion to paperwork, or if you think you have a "better idea", believe me, you don't.

1.)  The proposal must be dated.
2.)  The client's name and address.
3.)  A detailed "Scope Of Work".
4.)  Price (furnished and installed, taxes included)
5.)  Terms (net 30 days typically), but in an effort to insure quicker payment, I've found that instead of "net 30 days", I like to establish when the project is officially over, because you can spend three lifetimes with nit-picking things.  When I write a proposal, I use the phrase "Upon final inspection by local permitting jurisdiction", so the job is officially over, not based upon your opinion, or the client's opinion, but by the inspector who has no interest in the matter.

6.)  "Hidden Damages".  this is a "unit cost" issue normally associated with deeteriorated lumber (decking mainly, and occasionally support members).  "Deteriorated Lumber" sounds a lot more professional than "Rotten Wood", doesn't it?  If the client balks at the "hidden damages" clause, walk away.  You (to the best of my knowledge) do not have X-Ray vision, and cannot reasonably accept the financial responsibility, and burden it will cause.

7.)  Signed by an officer.

I will again suggest taking your time here, and will state once more "if it's not within the 4 corners of the document, it does not exist".  A reasonable person can accept this, as they certainly would not go out on the limb they ask you to shinny out on.

The "Scope of work" section normally follows the installation in order of application, such as:
A.)  Remove and properly dispose existing roof system.
B.)  Inspect and replace deteriorated decking as "hidden damages", at unit cost listed below.
C.)  Nail 30 lb. underlayment to receive asphalt shingles.
D.)  Mechanically fasten asphalt shingles (6 nails per shingle).  Color selection by owner.
E.)  Fabricate and install prefinished metal accessory items (you may further describe the items individually if you prefer).  Color selection by owner.
F.)  Perform magnetic sweep of work area.
G.)  Furnish roofing contractor's two year guarantee.
H.)  Furnish material manufacturer's 25 year warranty.

All components installed per manufacturer's latest printed specifications.

Note:  If you have reduced your safety program to CD, you might want to spend 10 cents to burn a copy for the owner.  WHOA!! What's this, a roofer bringing up safety, and giving me a copy?  Killer.

If you want to scrimp on words, leave out items, or are afraid to tell a client you cannot predict wood replacement, that's your business, but I ADVISE AGAINST IT.  The idea of a proposal is  to eliminate guesswork, make the owner happy, and make sure you get paid.

A nice touch is to present your guarantee, and the owner's warranty to the client when you pick up your final payment.  Include a prepaid, addressed envelope, for them to send in the warranty registration, and you'd be amazed how impressive that is to the client.  To think you took the time to type out an addressed, and stamped envelope, instills additional "Comfort Level", and they will tell their neighbors how professional you are.

The owner has to work for the money they have.  As a result, you have to work for the money they pay you.  It should not be an "Us vs. Them" scenario, but as palatable experience as possible, for this very intrusive roof system installation.

The above will create great distance between you and any competitor.  Who would you choose, a guy in a broken down truck with a hand written estimate, or a full pro with the skill to make you happy knowing your investment is being maximized?

I did not mention lien releases, but that is also a nice touch, because once again, you are protecting their money.  People seem to like that.

I am thankful for my many visitors from around this beautiful earth we are fortunate to live in.  Thank you so much for spending time with me today, and always remember to keep looking "UP".

Reject negativity in all forms.


Robert R. "Ron" Solomon

1 comment:

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