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Free Vinyl Siding Estimate - You mean it's really free??
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You'll see lots of advertisements for a " Free Vinyl Siding Estimate ". Have you ever heard ads for the Paid Vinyl Siding Estimate? Didn't think so. Obviously every contractor should and would be willing to provide your estimate at your discretion, but what should you request for when receiving your free estimate? Here's a few tips:
  • Put it in writing! Any vinyl siding estimate worth it's salt should be in writing. Lots of miscommunications can and do happen between individuals. Reduce the chance that you're one of them by getting it on paper
  • Make sure it's comprehensive. A vinyl siding estimate should look professional, and put down the scope of the work. Are gutters included, Will there be any up-charges? Are shutters included? Is the trim covered? What type of underlayment, housewrap or insulation will be used? On and on... A layperson should be able to review any vinyl siding estimate and be able to have a good understanding of the scope of the work.
If you are not prepared to act upon your vinyl siding estimate at this time, ask how long the price is good for. Vinyl siding is petroleum based and although there is a lag and other factors, will generally track the price of oil, as well as overall demand.

If your contractor prefers to work by handshake agreement, or less formal , be very cautious, a refusal to put their responsibilities on paper is a red flag. Bottom line, a free vinyl siding estimate can be a great starting point and how your contractor handles the bid can be a very good indicator of their responsiveness in general.
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