What constitutes a tire kicker and what is their motivation?

I have seen the term tire kicker used a number of times here. I am assuming from the context that it is a person who is not planning on going through with a job yet still gets estimates.
For what reason does someone do this? what are the signs of a tire kicker? I can see why you don’t want to waste time on them. For myself, I have never hired a contractor, so I am getting estimates to see if I have anywhere near enough money for the job. If not it’s real simple, I don’t borrow money so I either have to save up or do it myself.

Some here seem to feel like anyone who gets more than 1 or two estimates is a tire kicker…

I just had my roof and soffit/fascia done…I got 6 estimates.

Now, to the 5 who I didnt hire, maybe they think I am a tire kicker…to the one who got my money, not.

As a consumer yourself, you probably do some window shopping…whether for cars, jewelry, big screen Tvs, whatever…and its all part of the purchasing process.

Some who shop around may wind up holding on doing the job due to money etc…no way to know what it will cost UNTILL you have some estimates…

I think “tire kicker” when used in regards to getting estimates on a new roof is a very unfair stereotype when we are talking about jobs costing upwards of $5, 10, 15, 20k.

Sure, people go to a car dealer and dream about that sweet little car they know they can never have…In fact, I did that just last night …the new Dodge Challenger SRT8 arrived at my local dealer…oh my gawd…what a ride!..at $42k I will likely not own one for some time. But it was fun to go and look…aka, tirekicking.

But who does that for a new roof? LOL

anything more than 3 to 4 is concidered that. After that you are just looking for the lowest price normally and dont go there.

Tire kicking is not having an expected amount of money budgeted for the job, yet still calling contractors out to waste their time.

A “Rough” estimate can be obtained over the internet or by using some construction/roofing calculators, but many of the costs also depend on the skill level and the proper insurance coverage.

A better way to “Not” be a tire kicker, would be to be up front with the contractors in the phone call process and ask, How Much Do I Need To Save To Do My xx square footage roof and it is a shallow slope or a steep slope and it currently has X amount of layers on it now. You might get a range from 4,000 to 8,000, or higher, depending on what options you want to include, but at least you know about how much to have saved up.

It takes me an average of 4 hours of my time and 1 hour of my secretaries time to do a complete proposal from cal in to delivery of the proposal. That is 5 hours that could be spent on being productive, not giving someone a detailed proposal and they know they will; not do anything about it.

I have spent a lot of time on the phone with people explaining how much they will need to budget, but they need to be honest with me about their circumstances.

It is a very SAD statement that someone looks at a professional business mans time as being totally worthless and being uncaring how his time will be wasted.

Also, by the customer being honest and upfront with me, I can provide a better scope of work, to more accurately reflect their intended goal of a budget and also offer various options for payment terms.

I have credit card options, financing options through a lending institution and also, In-House Financing options with deferred interest, if all payments are made as agreed to.

Be Honest. This is not a poker game that you need to bluff the rest of the players.


[quote=“ed the roofer”]
A better way to “Not” be a tire kicker, would be to be up front with the contractors in the phone call process and ask, How Much Do I Need To Save To Do My xx square footage roof and it is a shallow slope or a steep slope and it currently has X amount of layers on it now. You might get a range from 4,000 to 8,000, or higher, depending on what options you want to include, but at least you know about how much to have saved up.

But wouldn’t this process, then, have an outcome of basing the decision on price?

How can a professional make a true estomate over the phone? Dont they have to see the house, look for potential issues, etc? How can you rely on a homeowner to know how many squares, the slope, etc?

I knew my slope and squares after the very first estimate…I could have done what you suggest…but each guy had a different “presenece” about him and a different way of showing me what he would do on my house…cant do that on the phone. Much of my decision was baded on how the guy carried himself and explained the process on site…

I think doing it over the phone ENCOURAGES “tire kicking” and problems when the guy who just gave you an “estimate” on the phone for X amount comes out and realizes there are other issues that affect the jobn that the homeowner didnt know about…then teh price goes up and the homeowner thinks that the guy is baiting-and-switching…

But just IMHO. :wink:

My main point was to be honest up front, just to get some wide spread variation on prices that need to be budgeted for.

Thats all.

Tell the guy that the time he will be spending will be for a future project and not the immediate season.


I agree 100% Ed…Telling the contractor up front the real deal is the only way to go…I mean, if you plan on using one of these guys for your roof, you want the best possible relationship up front.

At least that is how I was working it.

I only wish the guy I ended up going with was 100% honest with ME.

People are people, and I never pre-judge. I was referred to a lady from a small repair job I did for a gentleman. When I arived she said the roof was only 5 yrs old and that she just wanted to get some more ventillation from the bottom, (intake was only Drip edge vent)cause she said she had no money to replace the roof that was poorly installed over plywood that had been popping off and was tearing the shingles. This was also a 12 pitch , so I looked at the roof , and the more I looked at it the worse it looked to me . So I stopped listening to her constant talk of not having any money and I measured the roof and took the time to explain the reasons for the need to tear of this 5 year old roof and replace it (before)she worry about some venting…(save up for it) The way I said it was that if she were interested in having me do the job in the immediate future it would cost about 5800.00 and that would include 3 sheets of plywoood(an educated guess). Then she asked how much more to cut some intake vents, and then she asked about wrapping the fascia on the gables w/aluminum so she would not have to paint them again. Also I forgot to mention there was no car or any sign of tracks from a car in the stone driveway…Usually a salesman will judge the customer by the vehicle in the driveway.The end result was a sale on the spot! She had 2 other companys give her prices on the job, but did not feel comfortable with them. She works from home on the computure and does not drive, and has a great poker face,lol total price was 6200.00 cause I’m a nice guy,lol…So you can’t judge a customer for trying to get informed. Some of my best referals came from people that could not afford to do there own home, but when I treated them with respect and understanding they sent me to all their friends who COULD afford to do alot of work!

This is a huge point not to be missed here. As a big DIY guy, I don’t hire other people usually, but I am also not getting estimates for stuff I know I will be doing. In the case of the roof, I was really being talked into getting estimates by my Wife and a neighbor (also an experienced DIY guy) who both thought I was crazy to attempt the roof - especially from a time standpoint. The neighbor kept saying just pay to have it done - it will be done in a day and you can sit on the front lawn and watch!
I had two estimates done: $7500 and $6500 (14Sq 1 layer tearoff, resheet entire deck) Mainly because I had no idea on cost and thought maybe this will be the first major project I let someone else do. I really liked the $7500 guy who sounded a lot like the folks on this forum. The $6500 guy, probably a good roofer, said a lot of stuff that sounded like he didn’t keep up to date. He said “I’m not much of a reader” and told me how the ventilation seminar he went to was the most boring day of his life.
Back to the point, even if I decide not to go with either guy, I will recommend the $7500 guy to everyone I hear about getting a roof and will explain why he is better. Skilled people that do quality work impress the heck out of me. A related example is car repair - everyone is worried about finding a mechanic they can trust. I used to be one so I do my own work, but… there will come a time when it’s too hot, too dirty or whatever and I want to pay someone. This mechanic guy I found, I have not paid him one cent for work, but I have sung his praises to anyone that would listen. I have talked to people at stoplights, handed out his cards, even stuck them on parked cars and given them to coworkers. All he did was a repair estimate and topped off some fluids. He probably has no idea the free advertising he is getting or even remembers me.
So I guess that was my point - that some people do appreciate quality and skills and even if they don’t become a customer, they might become an advertiser.
Our community has an email list and I asked the list who they used for roofing contractors. Once I decide, I will probably email the list the name of the guy I liked even if I don’t use him myself.
On the issue of tire kicking - At this point, I know the ballpark price and I found a guy I like so I feel like any other estimates would be a waste of someone’s time. Really at this point, the $7500 guy is competing with ME especially since my labor is “free” I just need to decide if the time, risk, etc is worth saving money. Materials cost is @ $2500 and I could use this as a “reason” to buy some tools, especially with $5K to work with. I have the money to contract it all, but It’s our emergency fund and most of our savings, so financially not good and I will never borrow money ever.

I tried to give the first guy that gave me all the refferal work a couple Benjies but he would not take em…he really has no idea how he has helped me. Since that job I got 3 more from 1 guy while I was on another I got 3 more, and seem to be getting passed around this comunity, and before I finish 1 I have 2 more…The snow ball effect of doing the right thing has paid off 10 fold…I also told guy #1 that anything he needs in the future it will be a pleasure to take care of it for him! I also stopped at a house around the corner from a job I’m on and tried to give a guy my card…, he said he is good friends with #1 and is planning to call me when he feels he is in a position to do buiseness…That blew me away…6 blocks away from #1