Are you aware that an estimate may wind up being an open-ended contract costing you far more than you had expected? Or, that the proposal you are about to sign might have a clause finely written that allows the contractor to add additional charges for the very things he should have foreseen and disclosed to you?
The first rule is to stay away from estimates. The roofer is not restricted to the estimated bottom line costs and will be able to tack on additional charges for services for which you should have been informed. Don't let a roofer use this method to low-ball the offer and be awarded the bid. It is dishonest not to disclose all foreseeable costs, this is not rocket science. Either he is planning to add additional charges at the end of the project or he really doesn't know what he is doing and should be avoided.
A proposal specifies a fixed price to which the parties are bound unless it includes a clause for hidden damages or for unforeseen code requirements. Unless this roofer just opened his doors with no prior experience, he is fully aware of what he expects to find and has an established cost for all of these additional requirements. One of these additional costs that should not have to be bartered on is the re-nailing of your roof sheathing or decking. This is a code requirement that mandates every re-roofing project must establish that the roof deck is up to current codes. The age of your home will establish this and your roofer should be able to give you a firm price.
Another additional cost would be for the replacement of rotting decking. It is true that just how much rotting exists might not be able to be determined but a quick inspection of your attic as well as walking the perimeter edges can go a long way to determining if you have rotting. Your roofing salesman should also walk around the outside of your home inspecting all of the soffits and fascia conditions. These are the most prone to rot and they reveal the rotting
by tannin staining, cracks in the stucco surface and soft surfaces on the face of your fascia. The roofing salesperson should be able to set a price per sheet of plywood decking for replacement. Be sure to require that no smaller a section than 4 ft x 4 ft be replaced or you will wind up with a soft spot in your roof. Always ask to see the number of bad plywood sheets prior to them being carted away so that there is no reason for either party to be cheated.
Time and material estimates are an easy way to be charged for more than you should be. Always be sure that they come with a "not to exceed" figure and one that you will be comfortable with because it will probably be the final fee charged…go figure! If you accept one of these bids, then discuss the particulars about the time charges or you may be disappointed. Will you be charged for their breaks and travel to and from the job? What if someone leaves to get additional materials or tools that they should have brought with them but forgot? You might be surprised at how many additional charges you could receive for questionable items if you do not ask for a full breakdown of the billing fees. If you pay attention to the work being done, you will know what charges should be removed.
Allow us to help you with disseminating all the information you will be flooded with so that you won't be tricked and will receive the right services for the right job.