Removing Snake Oil from THE ESTIMATE

Choose your contractor based on their ability to answer all your questions and their current professional reputation.

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What is an estimate?

An estimate is simply a best guess or approximate judgement of how much a job might cost. You can receive a verbal or written estimate – there is no legal difference between the two. Most verbal estimates are provided over the phone and are based on information provided by the customer and can be completely inaccurate. While a written estimate is typically based on a site visit conducted by an experienced estimator who collects pertinent data such as measurements, constraints and restraints, customers specific requirements identified by either the customer, engineer, HVAC specialist or local building inspectors.

Technical information can be overwhelming but is very important for you to understand.

Make sure to request a copy of the products Technical Data Sheet (TDS) so you are aware of what is going into your home. There are variables that you must become familiar with, such as estimates should show R-values always and thickness only as an indicator. Every estimate should contain both amounts. For Polyurethane Foam it is very important that the TDS show the Long-term Thermal Resistance (LTTR) of a product as this will identify the R-value per mm. Every product may have a different R-value per mm. The industry standard is for polyurethane foam to be sold based on the LTTR. Ensure to compare apples to apples.

One is the loneliest number… Ensure to get multiple estimates!

There are numerous companies that could compete for your job, use that to your advantage. Once you receive your written estimate(s) ensure you read them from top to bottom, front to back.

Ensure everything that was discussed with the estimator during the site visit is identified clearly: including location, type of work, measurements, and required R-value.

Questions! Questions! Questions!

When selecting a company to turn your estimate into a contract you should ensure that all your questions have been answered, leave no stone unturned. Verify that the company and its products are reputable and have an outstanding track record.

Once you are completely satisfied with your estimate and you have selected the company who will complete your project, book your job; but it doesn’t stop there.

Once the technician arrives, review the scope of work to your satisfaction, any discrepancies need to be resolved prior to commencement of any work.

Verify the credentials of the technician who will complete the work.

If there is someone being trained there must be always a licenced technician on site. Once the job is completed review the work with the technician, if possible. If you cannot review at your first opportunity do so when safely possible,

Make sure you are completely satisfied with everything that was completed in accordance with the estimate or contract.

Any discrepancies or deficiencies need to be resolved as soon as possible.


Remember – One is the loneliest number.


Have an estimator come on site to provide an accurate written estimate. Educate yourself to the nth degree.

Compare apples to apples.

Choose your contractor based on their ability to answer all your questions and their current professional reputation. Make sure you are completely satisfied once the job is complete!