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Gutter Covers – The Estimate Game

Trying to get estimates for things you need done is not for sissies. I’ve never liked situations where you ‘bargain’ for things, and I’m not very good at fielding estimates, either.

We wanted gutter covers, thinking that this is a good idea as we’re too long in the tooth to be climbing up two-story ladders and trying to do anything these days. We don’t have much guttering, but I would like to take care of what we have the best way we can.

I went to HomeAdvisor.com and filled out a form about gutter cover estimates. Within a few minutes two of three people accessed had called me and arranged to come to the house to give us estimates. I now know, due to the estimates, that we have approximately 68 feet of guttering. It’s along the 2nd floor in the front, and part of the first floor in the back. We only put up the minimum, and it has worked well for us. In fact, when we doubled the size of our shop, we had them remove the guttering on the older part and have been happy with our decision.

The first estimate was $1020. Nice young guys. Good manners.

The second was $670, but no written estimate until I called him back, telling him we would do it, and it HAD to be done the next day.  To be honest, I was wary about this one.

My husband and I decided that each of these would cost more than we were willing to spend for this job. I started over today with estimates for just CLEANING the existing guttering and downspouts and adding a support to the end of the run at the back of the house.

This time there were apparently two available services, one of which said, “No available bookings” (whatever that means) beside their name.

Within 5 minutes the available company called me back. He was here to give us an estimate this afternoon. He said he also installs covers, so I asked him to give us an estimate on that, as well. He lists himself as a handyman, too, so that opens up a whole host of future activity with him if we’re happy.

He gave us an estimate for cleaning, repairing the one part of the guttering end on the back, AND the covers, of $300. SOLD!  He said he would call me back about whether they could do the job on Saturday or Monday. He called back in a couple of hours, and we’ve settled on Monday afternoon.

While he was here, I was griping that my husband and I are going to have to chain saw parts of two trees – an evergreen tree that the local power company savaged while they were making sure their lines were clear. They cut it off in a terrible fashion and we now have an unsightly and dangerous hunk of dead evergreen hanging from the top. A mimosa tree at the bottom of our driveway had one of its huge branches break off in the last big storm. It’s hanging at half mast, threatening to come down into the driveway, hopefully not on a vehicle under it at the time.

When the man called back about the guttering the way he promised, I asked him to give us a bid on cutting down the parts of both trees and hauling the debris away. He said he’ll put his chain saw in his truck Monday and he’ll give us an estimate then. If we like it, he’ll do it Monday while they’re here. If not, that’s fine.

I feel we’ve won the lottery on good sources and good people. I will continue to use HomeAdvisor.com for the odd jobs we need, and I will get and keep the handyman’s card in my ‘wonderful people’ file and we’ll probably give him several more jobs in the near future.

We came out pretty well for someone who doesn’t know anything about dealing with estimates…

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