Why the Lowest Bidder for Chimney Work Isn’t Always the Best Choice
The cost of services is important, and saving money is something we all want to do. But when it comes to hiring a chimney cleaning, repair or restoration company, letting price be your only guide could lead to very serious problems with your chimney system down the line. Here’s why.
What does “lowest price” really mean?
Let’s say you’re collecting bids for a new chimney liner installation along with some masonry repair work. You look at the highest bid and see that it’s almost double the lowest bid. Don’t let your natural instinct to save money take over. Consider these four possible reasons why the one estimate is so low.
Different levels of work/costs of products. The lowest bidder may not include all the liner installation and masonry work tasks that higher bidders estimated for. In other words, the work may not be as thorough as it should be. Also, make sure that each bid is for the same type of liner system. A cheaper liner product can cause the bid to be lower.
Add-ons may be on the way. While it’s highly unethical, chimney sweep/repair companies have been known to give a low bid that includes only the most basic work. Then during the job, they’ll present their customers with a long list of add-on services and parts that crank the price higher.
No industry credentials. The best chimney companies and individuals carry the best certifications. This means, at a minimum, certifications through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fireplace Institute (NFI). Companies that don’t bother to invest in the training to acquire these credentials often come into projects with low bids.
Lack of equipment or inferior equipment. Depending on the chimney or fireplace project, many specific tools and equipment will be needed, and these tools cost money. “Amazingly low bids” are easy when a company has minimal equipment expense to compensate for.
How to select a credible chimney sweep or chimney repair company
When shopping around for a chimney professional to perform work on your chimney or fireplace, here are some questions to ask.
How long have you been in business?
Do you have contact info for people you’ve worked for previously?
Have you performed other jobs just like or similar to mine?
What kind of warranties do you offer on materials and workmanship?
Are you/your crew licensed, bonded and insured?
Will a worker who is CSIA-certified or NFI-certified be on-site while the work is being done?
- Online reviews of the company
- The company’s website
- Better Business Bureau complaints
- The overall helpfulness of the rep you speak with
The guidelines we’ve presented here are not to say that you should always go with the highest bidder for chimney services. But cost is just one of several factors that should influence your decision. Shop smart and shop well, and you stand a much greater chance of complete satisfaction.
Magic Mountain Chimney Sweeps of Frederick, MD, offers a full menu of services including chimney cleaning, chimney repair, chimney inspection, fireplace and stove installation and much more. We carry certifications with the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute.
Call (301) 695-6991 when only the very best chimney services from skilled professionals will do.