So… I let Thompson Creek talk us into replacing our bedroom overhang windows, as well as adding a gutter back to where one fell off our house. What they didn’t tell me at signing was what they told me later: The way your roof edge is set up, your gutter won’t work as well as it could, because of this:
That is the chimney to our old oil boiler, which has not been fired up since 2003 or so, and is no longer connected to most of the house. Here is another picture of it:
So anyway, they said we should really remove that and get the roof fixed before putting the gutters on. But of course, Thompson Creek doesn’t do this type of work. I’m a little pissed off that they didn’t tell me this until after I’d agreed to the job, because it was already just over $3,000, and this ended up raising the total price of the job by $575 (~19%).
But this review isn’t about Thompson Creek; it is about the Virginia Roofing Companies that we solicited for this job. And it is most specifically TO WARN THE PUBLIC AGAINST SAM AND SONS SERVICES, LLC, OF VIRGINIA, and their estimates that can only be described as exhorbitantly high. They gave us an estimate for $5600. We ultimately paid $575 for the work (plus $25 to fix a soffit ripped open by varmints). Sams And Sons estimate was ~869% higher than the $575 job ! $5025 more than what we had to pay! ASSHOLES!
Can you imagine the poor people who say yes in this situation? The Sams And Sons estimator actually asked me if I inherited my house. What kind of question is that? After the estimate, I realized: People who inherit (and thus did not work and earn) their houses are less likely to know the value of a dollar (beucase they didn’t actually earn the dollar to buy their house), and are more likely to be taken advantage of. The Thompson Creek sign in my yard probably didn’t help either, as their windows are NOT the least expensive. In fact, they are on the higher end of what you pay for vinyl windows. (And one of the 3 windows being replaced is 88 inches wide.)
Below the job are the specific notes on all the companies contacted:
STEP ONE: Find companies. I went to Google Local, entered in my “roofing near [MY ZIP CODE]”, and made a list of 15 (maybe 16) companies to call
STEP TWO: Call the companies, set up estimates. 2 companies did not do that kind of work. 2 more companies never had a human call me back after leaving a message. 1 person I did not call back because I could not understand him, and will not negotiate big bucks with somebody I can’t understand. About 9 people made appointments, but I only ended up with 6 appointments; some came and never gave an estimate; some made an appointment but never showed. A 7th estimate was received by phone via someone who rudely refused to come out and make an estimate (he had the best price, but was not chosen).
So yes — you gotta call 15 people and make 9 appointments just to get 7 estimates. Be pepared to spend some time getting the best price. Suggested protocol is to send all people to your house on the same day, even if it means some might show up at the same time as others. I think it’s a good psychological tool to have them run into their competition, and to realize that they need to give you a COMPETITIVE estimate. It also says a lot about a company’s flexilibility if you take charge and set the date yourself, and see if they can adapt around you. (The date I chose was about 2 weeks after the day of calls.)
STEP THREE: Collect estimates and compare.
Here are the results!
THE ESTIMATES WE RECEIVED (SUMMARY):
$5600 – Sams And Sons – FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU
$1150 – FSR Roofing … “chingle”
$1075 – $975 – Northern Virginia Roofing & Exteriors (offered $100 off for same-day signing)
$975 – Northern Virginia Roofing & Exteriors if I signed on that day
$825 – Metro Gutter & Home Services
$575 – #1 Handyman **** THIS IS WHO WE CHOSE, AND THE JOB WAS DONE WITHOUT A HITCH ****
$485 – Springfield Roofing & Sheet [reluctant estimate made without showing up]
THE ESTIMATES WE RECEIVED, FROM HIGHEST TO LOWEST:
Sam and Sons Services / 5649 General Washington Drive, Alexandria, VA 22312 / (703) 256-8080 ?
receptionist double-checked if this was the type of thing we do … 12-5PM – only 5 hr window
$5600 are you fucking kidding me? You evil sons of bitches just tried to steal $5,000 of our hard-earned money. You guys can go fuck yourself, and you’re going to be reviewed negatively on yelp too. We will scan and backup PDFs of your evil estimate, so don’t even try to take us to court saying this never happened, because the proof is backed up on servers that reside on the west cost. FUCK YOU.
FSR Roofing Contractor Inc / 3901 Guest Lane, Alexandria, VA 22312-1038 / (703) 750-0059 ?
my stapler.. somebody took my stapler.. OMG.. that guy.. wow…
guy wrote down wrong street name when we gave it to him
guy unable to determine day of week from date 3PM
guy came, friendly Flavio, very quick look at job
$1,150 – too expensive for someone who can’t spell “shingle” correctly
Northern Virginia Roofing & Exteriors / 5606 Scoville Street, Falls Church, VA 22042 / (703) 820-3077 ?
receptionist not the brightest star in the galaxy –
‘James’ has open schedule Feb 22 … 12noon .. with James
ultimately got $957 estimate – just too expensive, sorry
Called back the same day I drafted this post to follow-up with me on whether the guy came out, whether I chose them, and why I didn’t.
Metro Gutter & Home Services / 5645 General Washington Drive, Alexandria, VA 22312-2403 / (703) 354-4333 ?
fast-talking receptionist, sounds like she’s in a house, weird slow electronic hold music
transfer to new person, black-sounding, kinda rushed, not sure about us – 2-4pm Feb 22nd
couldn’t make it; asked if they could come 2/23 so they did
cool guy, talked a LOT about woodbridge, football, jobs, computers
spec’ed out the job separately – roofing part $450, removing pipe part $375 = $825 total
3/13/2012: called back to follow-up, I let them know I found someone else to do it.
^These guys would have bee picked if #1 Handyman Services hadn’t won our bid. However, they would have had to give us a $575 offer. And they missed our appointment and had to reschedule the next day. So if I had two $575 offers, I would have not picked them because they missed the first appointment. It probably woudl have had to be $525 for me to go with them. I’d need at least a $50 lower price to deal with someone who missed an estimate appointment; that is to say: missing an estimate appointment makes me willing to pay someone else $50 more for the same work.
They called back the day after I drafted this blogpost to follow-up, but didn’t ask why I didn’t choose them.
The #1 Handyman Services / 3250 Wayne Road, Falls Church, VA 22042 / (571) 235-2421
foreign sounding, hard to understand – 12-4PM – he said 2-3PM
Guatamalan guy Roldan, seems so extremely honest that I overlooked his bad spelling
said the whole roof would probably only be $5900 to completely re-roof as a new roof
WE PICKED THIS GUY AND HE CAME AND DID IT!
plus he fixed a soffit that was broken for only $25!
I even scope-creeped the job up by asking him to place wood under the soffit AFTER he was up on the ladder, and he still didn’t raise the $25 price.
Springfield Roofing & Sheet / 5605 General Washington Dr # A, Alexandria, VA 22312-2403 / (703) 354-3229 ?
straight to business receptionist who seemed to know what she was doing
guy called – resistant to coming out here –
“Would it even be worth it for me to come out and make an estimate?”
“That’s up for you to decide”, I told him. So he flat-out said on phone: $485
He had the lowest price, but lost the job for a combination of being rude, and how the hell can I trust an estimate by someone who hasn’t seen the actual work?
COMPANIES THAT CAME, BUT WE NEVER GOT AN ESTIMATE:
Exterior Medics – masonry & roofing / 5706 General Washington Dr, Alexandria, VA 22312 / (703) 942-6553
kinda mumbly receptionist, they sometimes have slow days without much work (she let on) — 3pm Feb 22 “Oscar”
Oscar comes, says things are wrong with our current gutters and our drain spout was wrong
He at least seemed to be confident – either actual knowledge, or bravado as salesmanship
Nose picker, reports Carolyn
Why did we never even receive an estimate????????
COMPANIES THAT DID NOT SHOW UP, DESPITE APPOINTMENT BEING MADE:
Metropolitan Roofing Inc “Alexandria Roofing” / Arlington roofing according to answering message /5649 General Washington Drive, Alexandria, VA 22312-2403 / (703) 750-1300
Gee your company has a lot of names and numbers that all answer at the same phone. That’s suspicious.
called back next day., appointment made Alexandria Feb 22 12:30PM gave us this number: 703-354-3531 – never showed up
ASA Roofing ???? / Alexandria, VA / (703) 592-6157 / All American Services / 6412 Edsall Road, Alexandria, VA 22312 / (703) 333-5200
sounded kinda ghetto, a bit barky in his responses, but still chill – my 4hr window was good enough for them…
I don’t mean to be an awful racist, but everytime I call a company and the dude is audibly obviously “ghetto-sounding”, the company doesn’t show up.
The exact same thing happened when we did 15 tree company estimates.
When it happens once, I just think “you shouldn’t be a racist!” to myself
But it’s not the color of their skin that is the indicator, because I can’t see that over the phone.
It’s their ghetto speech, which is independent of skin color or ethnicity. When a person talks like that, it indicates a lack of education, which tends to correspond with disorganization, which tends to correspond with not showing up.
I actually thought in my head that this guy woudln’t show up, based on my tree experience.
I was right.
I hate being right sometimes.
It feels political incorrect to be right.
But I was. :/
COMPANIES THAT I LEFT VOICEMAIL FOR, BUT THEY NEVER SHOWED UP – I GUESS YOU GUYS DIDN’T WANT MY MONEY:
Handy Work Helpers / 5445 North Morgan Street #304, Alexandria, VA 22312 / (571) 969-5805
“Woody Evans with Dan & Tracy consultant”
Ace Handyman ProHome Improvements / 6000 Amherst Avenue, Springfield, VA 22150 / (703) 260-1786
answering machine – left message
COMPANIES I SPOKE TO, BUT DID NOT DO THE KIND OF WORK I WANTED:
The Roof Center / 5900 Farrington Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304-4824 / (703) 941-6400
they only sell materials
Jim The Handyman / 8601 Victoria Road, Springfield, VA 22151 / (703) 503-9699
flat out said ‘we don’t do that kind of work’ when I mentioned removing the chimney