The Hidden Costs of Property Improvement: Why Time and Material Estimates Are Essential

The Roofing Company, Inc. provides time and material estimates for specific projects due to the potential for unforeseen pre-existing conditions that can arise during the work. These types of unforeseen conditions can be common in many property improvement projects for various reasons, which is why The Roofing Company takes this approach.

The time and material approach, when performed correctly, is a benefit for both the property owner and contractor.  If all the estimated time and materials are not used, the property owner will receive a credit at the end of the project. The Roofing Company is transparent about this, stating that they do everything within proper standards and procedures to correctly and as efficiently as possible, complete the project while providing daily updates. This daily communication allows all parties to be in agreement if the scope changes for any reason.

The Roofing Company most commonly uses time and materials (T&M) proposals for unique situations, such as:

  • Repairing older properties that have had multiple previous repairs incorrectly performed by other contractors.
  • When the full extent of the necessary repairs cannot be discovered until an initial exploration is conducted to assess the unseen issues.

In these types of cases, the complete scope of the required repairs cannot be fully known until the demolition work has begun and the underlying conditions are exposed. Therefore, The Roofing Company finds T&M proposals to be the most appropriate contracting method when the extent of the repairs is not clear upfront.

The time and material approach differs from a fixed-price contract for property improvement projects in several key ways:

Flexibility vs. Rigidity:
  • Time and Material: Allows for flexibility to address unforeseen issues and changes during the project.
  • Fixed-Price: Locks in a set price, limiting the ability to adapt to unexpected challenges.
Cost Certainty vs. Cost Variability:
  • Time and Material: The final cost can vary based on actual time and materials used, with potential for credits if under the estimate.
  • Fixed-Price: The property owner knows the exact cost upfront, but there is no opportunity for cost savings.
Transparency and Accountability:
  • Time and Material: Provides full transparency into the costs, with the contractor accountable for efficient, high-quality work.
  • Fixed-Price: The breakdown of costs may not be as visible, and the contractor's incentive is to correctly complete the project as quickly as possible.
Risk Allocation:
  • Time and Material: The homeowner shares the risk of unforeseen issues, but also has the potential for cost savings.
  • Fixed-Price: The contractor assumes the risk of unforeseen issues, but the homeowner forfeits the opportunity for cost savings.
Ultimately, The Roofing Company wants the property owner to be fully informed of the potential challenges and costs associated with the project, so the owner can make the best decision for their needs, whether that is to proceed with our company or hire someone else.