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If there is, it would be worthless in my area. I've seen estimates ranging from $2800 - $10,000 for the same reroofing job. If they're hungry it's less, if they're busy it's more, and if you call three or four you can easily get a range like the one on the roofing job. I couldn't possibly estimate a repair around here.

The moral of the story is:

If you don't know how it really works in your area, don't be too quick to depend on some outside source for estimates.

Brian G.

Maybe I Should Price That Way [:-crazy]

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If you provide estimates, you are the source of the estimate. As stated, more or less, "Estimates are worthless," this is partially true.

That said, this is what I have in my generic info. page for the client.

Many factors are critical to the life expectancy of property components including age, quality of the product, competent installation, maintenance, weather conditions, intensity of use, etc. The following are approximate life expectancies and replacement costs of some residential building components.

Component Life Cost

Asphalt and wood roof shingles 15 – 30 yrs. $3 - $4 sq. ft.

Flat roof 10 – 25 years $8 - $15 sq. ft.

Windows 20 – 50 years $450 - $1,200+

Forced air furnace 15- 25 yrs. $2,500 - $4,000

Central AC 15 – 20 yrs. $2,000 - $4,000

Boilers (cast iron) 30 – 50 yrs. $3,500 - $5,000

Water Heater 10 – 20 yrs. 40 gal. $500 - $700 50 gal. $700 - $900

Dishwashers 8 – 12 yrs. $500 - $1,200

Refrigerator 15 – 20 yrs. $700 - $2,000

Ranges 15 – 25 yrs. $600 - $3,000

Dishwasher 8 - 12 yrs. $500 - $1,200

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Well, from a Seattle point of view there doesn't seem to be much that's actually in the ballpark. I saw stuff there that was priced about 3 times what it is here and other stuff there that is priced at about 1/3 the price that it is here.

Here's a suggestion; make 3/4 copies of that list, get on the phone and call around and get prices from contractors in your area.

I avoid the price guessing thing. When I first got into this business, I priced something at about $700 (I can't even remember now what it was.). I'd been out of the construction game for over 20 years by then but thought I knew where it should have been priced. I just took what it would have cost to do in 1976 and added what I thought would have been charged in 1996 based on the higher cost of living, etc.. Well, that was my first mistake, 'cuz I'm terrible with numbers anyway and can't even balance a checkbook, let alone adjust something for cost over 20 years.

Months later, I got a call from the client; he was frustrated. Seems he'd been trying to find someone to do the job for $700 and couldn't. The closest he'd been able to come was about $950 and he'd been quoted prices as high as $5000. Luckily for me, there was a lot of other work that was needed that he'd taken into consideration when buying that house, or he might have tried to make an issue of it. As it was, he just called to give me some advice, which was to stop providing folks estimates and stick to what I do best - inspect homes.



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