Dougger, I feel for ya. There are a LOT of co’s here who hand back deductibles & what I explain to the customer is that’s insurance fraud, but they don’t care.
I also explain that the basic costs in this market are similar (although in reality I pay my labor higher $$ per square than 99% of the contractors), so with parts & labor being within 2 - 5% of each other (mine vs. theirs) if a job is being accepted for $ 1K less on a 35 square roof there’s got to be SOME corners being cut by the low ballers. & That’s the gawd’s honest truth - if it’s not in product then it’s definitely in labor.
Marshall, the only thing I’d ad to your “non pitch” is “Hi, I’m doing the roof next door / 2 doors over (etc) & if it’s OK with you, when we’re near completion I’d like to take a look in your back yard for any shingle wrappers that might have blown over the fence / gotten stuck in your trees.”
The other option is to tell them you’re doing the roof & if they find any trash, you’d like to know so you can come 'n get it.
For a 2 story where there are tight property lines, offer to roll the magnet through their yard.
When they escort you into the back yard, mention something in common with their house to the one you’re doing, sorta like “See that octagonal roof bump out? We found some rotten wood on Mr. Jones’ house across the street 5 doors over… you might have the same issues & if you’d like, I can pop a ladder up there & take a look for you.”
Low key, low pressure is the idea. @ The very least, offering to clean up their back yard is always a good into & if you’d really like to stretch it, when you’re in the back yard you can ask if they’d like you to put that rusted BBQ grill in your dump trailer. You know, the crusty old thing in the back corner that looks like they never did manage to drag it out to the street. It’s little things like that where you make good inroads.