Roof Inspection VS Estimate


Roof Inspection Graphic

Roof Inspection VS Estimate

For the last several years of my contracting life, my entire business model focused on realtors. Realtors need roof inspections, roof certifications, and small repairs. One of the challenges that I faced working with realtors was the free estimate and paid inspection dilemma. Most roofers offer "free estimates." Most people don't understand the difference between an estimate and inspection. It was pretty tough most of the time to sale an inspection service.

The Estimate

If you know that you have damage, or that the roof is old and needs to be restored or replaced, then you need an estimate and not an inspection. The critical point here is that you already know work needs to be a done and it is pretty clear to anyone who knows roofs. The contractor can just come out, take some measurements, and prepare an estimate for you.

The Inspection

If you don't know if your roof is damaged, or in need of restoration or replacement, if you are wondering what the condition of the roof is, how much longer can you expect it to last. Or was installed correctly, and so on. Then you need an inspection and not an estimate.

A proper roof inspection will include a visual inspection of the roof system and a report documenting the condition of the roof with photos and a written description. The inspection report should also include recommendations and an estimate of the remaining service life so that you can plan.

Beware the FREE Inspection

Early in my contracting years, I learned about this fantastic marketing trick called "free inspections." Who does not love getting something for free right? I call this a gimmick and not just marketing because the point of a free inspection is to find something to sell to you. Good roofing sales guys know precisely how to take good photos and present them in a way that makes your roof look like it does need some work. If not a restoration or replacement, perhaps some repairs at the very least.

You get what you pay for

If an inspection is what you need, then that is what you should hire someone to do. Find someone who offers actual roof inspections, and does not have any intention of selling any repair work. A roof consultant or a home inspector who specializes in roofing but not the roofing contractor who offers FREE inspections.

Free sounds good, but if you want a genuine roof inspection and not a sales pitch, you have to pay for what you want. Know what you need and ask for that.


It would be best if you got an estimate when you know your roof is damaged, needs to be restored or replaced. You need an inspection when you aren't sure if you have any damage and want to know what the condition of your roof is and what to expect. Don't fall for the FREE inspection trick, if you need an inspection the hire a professional and get an inspection.

Henry Staggs
Roof Consultant and Roofing Industry Advocate
(480) 265-1613

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