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Question DetailsAsked on 9/8/2015

Is it normal to get multiple estimates for chimney repair work?

We had our chimney cleaned and inspected and the company recommends about $5K worth of repairs. Typically, we always get multiple bids on projects of this size, but the chimney sweeps I've contacted all say they will charge $200 at minimum just to inspect the chimney in order to give us a bid. I understand there is liability involved in the estimates, but is there not a way I can get a free estimate with this type of work?

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Certainly for that amount - about half a whole new chimney give or take - I would get at least 3 responsive bids.

If you tell the other companies that an inspection has been done sahying substantial work is necessary, and you are looking for BIDS to do the work, should get the inspection free. That means they do not have to give you the actual inspection - just explain when they intend to do to fix the issues, which you can then compare amongst bids. OR provide the deficiency report from the first guy (without his bid) as the scope of work and ask for bids from each potential provider to do the work, and let them inspect as they deem fit to establish exactly what needs to be done.

I presume you want to keep the chimney - because you are in the ballpark (roughly, and depending on where you live) of it being as cheap or cheaper (assuming one fireplace, one chimney, on outside wall of building) to tear the chimney down and replace the fireplace with a direct-vent stove, if that possibility appeals to you. Would need two bids from each contractor - one for each option - in that case. Be sure any such bids are for total tearout, new chimney, AND complete refinishing of tearout gaps in walls, siding, floors, ceilings, roof, etc - which might mean they would need to team up with a General Contractor for the other work. Or if you talk to them about that possibility, they might say you should be getting bids from General Contractors which would include chimney specialists - whose bids to HIM would then be free to you.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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