Bidding on a Level Playing Ground

If you’re a commercial building owner or property manager, you face a unique set of challenges when it comes to contracting roof replacement or repair services – not the least of which is deciding on the best quote for your needs. It’s far too easy to become confused and overwhelmed with conflicting information by various contractors, each of whom has their own reasons for telling you what you need done on your roof, which materials are needed, etc.

When five different contractors present five different options on multiple aspects of a roofing project, ranging from a basic roof coating to a full roof replacement – and with wildly varying price points – how can you accurately determine what you really need, let alone how much you should pay?

In situations like these, it’s beneficial to work with a third-party specialist, particularly a builder’s manufacturer representative like RoofSource. Working with a specialist helps you put the bidding on a level playing ground, so each bid is for the same work scope.

Let’s talk about how working with a manufacturer rep can simplify the process of getting an accurate quote, giving you increased confidence in your decisions about your roofing project.

Benefits of Partnering with a Builders Manufacturer Representative

To understand why it helps to work with a builder’s manufacturer rep, let’s first discuss why it can be confusing to obtain quotes on your own.

When you contact a roofing contractor directly – no matter how honest or reputable they may be – that contractor can’t help but bring their own agenda and biases into the equation. Each contractor has projects they prefer to do, a preferred set of products and materials, and so on. One contractor who specializes in roof coating, for example, will bid on a roof restoration at a certain price. Another contractor might feel you need a full roof overlay, not just a restoration. A third thinks the entire roof deck needs to be torn out and a new roof installed.

As you can imagine, the price points for each of these approaches vary wildly, and each contractor will be very good at convincing you that their approach is the best.

Here’s the problem. When you ask a contractor for a quote, you’re not merely asking them to price a particular project: you’re also inviting them to define the project for you. You’re not telling them what you need – because you don’t know what you need. Instead, they are telling you what you need.

When you partner with a builders manufacturer rep like RoofSource, that dynamic changes. The manufacturer rep has no bias because they have no vested interest in which type of roof repair you need. They represent a wide variety of product lines that serve different purposes and challenges, so their only agenda is to help you determine your goals and needs, then connect you with the resources that match those goals.

In this way, RoofSource essentially serves as a middleman between contractors and clients. By establishing your goals first, then reaching out to the contractors, RoofSource ensures you’re receiving competing bids for the exact same work. What’s more, you can be confident that contractors propose products and brands for the job for a good reason.

Scope of Work and Specifications

Before reaching out to contractors, RoofSource will help you determine the scope of work for your project, as well as the specifications for the roof type you have. Together, this information helps set a level playing field for you to receive bids from contractors.

What is a Scope of Work?

The scope of work provides an exact definition of the services your roofing project requires – a “to do” list if you will. Does your building need basic repairs? Does it require a full restoration, roof coating, or overlay? Does the entire roof system need to be replaced? How many square feet need to be covered?

Defining these parameters upfront helps create a level bidding situation, so every contractor is bidding on the same set of services. Instead of comparing apples to oranges to bananas, everyone is now just comparing apples to apples – a much simpler process.

What is a Standard Specification Form?

Along with establishing the scope of work, RoofSource will establish the specifications required for your roof project. The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) publishes standardized specifications for every part of a building, including roofing systems. The CSI provides standard specification forms for different roofing types, such as asphaltic (BUR) or single-ply roofing systems.

Each form prescribes the specific materials, quality of the materials, warranties, and building codes that contractors must meet to complete the project. As part of the bidding process, RoofSource uses these standard specification forms to set the parameters for the building materials you need, how they’re to be applied, and what kind of warranty is needed for the roof.

Both the scope of work and specification standards need to be established to receive truly competitive bids.

So, in short, the scope of work defines the actual work to be done, and the specification standards define the type and quality of materials to be used so that contractors can work this data into their bids.

RoofSource’s Contractor Bidding Process

RoofSource goes through an extensive set of steps to ensure our client receives roofing bids that are consistent, fair, and competitive. Here’s how the process works.

Step One: Client Interview

To provide the proper context for the project, we begin by interviewing the building owner to ascertain their goals and intentions for the building itself. Is this building a long-term investment, or do they plan to sell in a few years? Are they leasing the building to tenants? If so, how long is the lease?

During the interview, we’ll also inquire about the building’s location and function – how it’s being used, and what plans there may be for its future. We’ll also explore budgetary requirements and/or limitations to know what our client has to work with. The answers to all these questions will inform how the roofing project is approached and help us develop a plan that meets the building owner or manager’s needs and goals.

Step Two: Building Assessment

Our next step is to do a physical inspection of the roof itself to determine its condition and what needs to happen. Our team will inspect the roof to determine whether it can be repaired or restored or whether it needs to be replaced. Sometimes, what the client believes they need isn’t really necessary at this time. The physical assessment will help us provide the best recommendations for what will match the client’s goals.

Step Three: Scope of Work and Specifications

As mentioned earlier, we draw from the client interview and our physical inspection to determine what work needs to be done and what materials are best suited for the job.

Step Four: Bidding and Construction

At this point, we begin the bidding process in earnest, which includes the following steps:

  • Inviting Contractors to Bid. We invite three qualified contractors in the area to bid competitively on the project. If the architect, owner, or building manager has a regular roofing contractor they work with, we’ll include them in this invitation.
  • Allowing Contractors to Inspect and Evaluate the Building. The invited contractors will be allowed to perform their own assessment of the building concerning the scope of work and specifications we provide.
  • Adding Comments and Revising the Scope of Work. We allow the contractors to comment on the scope of work and suggest revisions as they see fit. We share this feedback among all the contractors, as well.
  • Submitting Bids Directly to the Owner. Direct submission keeps the bidding process fair and impartial and keeps RoofSource in a neutral, facilitating role.
  • Beginning Construction and Onsite Visits. Once the owner or manager chooses a bid, construction begins. RoofSource is present at the beginning of construction to ensure the project aligns with the scope of work and specifications. We’ll also visit during construction to monitor progress.
  • Completing Final Inspection to Check Quality of Work. This inspection may be completed by the manufacturer’s technical service department or by a third-party inspector, depending on whether the client requested a labor and material warranty. A punch list is created and given to the contractor to complete, at which point the project is finished.

How Long Is the Bidding Process?

It varies from project to project. It generally takes a week or less to conduct the initial interview and inspection and create the scope of work and specification forms. From there, it goes to the contractors, who typically submit their bids within a few days. On average, the process from interview to receiving the bids is about two weeks.

Why RoofSource?

Why partner with RoofSource to receive bids on your next roofing project?

  • By leveling the playing field, we make it easier for you to receive, analyze and choose from competing bids.
  • By providing accurately scoped specifications ahead of time, we ensure that contractors are bidding on the same work.
  • RoofSource works with representatives from many independent manufacturers and technologies to select contractors skilled in working with recommended products and technologies.  
  • We have established relationships with tried and tested product manufacturers and contractors, and we know each of their strengths. Our ability to match the right contractor for the job gives you confidence that you’ll get the quality work you actually need.

Let RoofSource help you put the bidding process on a level playing ground for your next roofing project. Contact us to learn more.