(802) 839-6099 • 279 Websterville Road, Barre VT 05641 • jay@southgatesteeplejacks.com
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Steeple Inspection Policy/Estimates

We at Southgate Steeplejacks are often asked if we charge for estimates. In general, We do not give estimates, because quick estimates often lead to a situation in which unforeseen problems lead to unforeseen extra costs. Estimating low and then planning to make money on the “discovered conditions” once under way is a time honored technique that we refer to as “change order artistry”. Since steeples have no interior walls one can inspect them thoroughly enough that there is no need for surprises. Therefore, we prefer to do complete inspections accompanied by detailed proposals.

When first contacted by a church, we ask that they fill out the questionnaire and send us a picture of the steeple. It is important for us to have a sense of a congregations’ philosophy about their steeple before our initial visit. When we visit the church, we do a visual examination from the ground, and a thorough interior examination that includes hunting for rot with a small drill, and we take numerous photographs and notes.

Then at the office, we write a detailed report describing the Existing Conditions. This report contains concise, data rich text devoid of fluff, along with photographs that illustrate the text. Every aspect of the steeple is covered. Then, we write a list of recommendations that will rectify any problems identified. For all this, we charge at the rate of $100 per hour. This report becomes the property of the church, and may be used as a basis for the solicitation of bids if desired. We then give the church my exact costs for performing the work described. These numbers are confidential, and we ask that no church divulge them to any potential competitor, any architect, or anyone else outside the church.

The cost of these Inspection/Reports varies according to the scope of a steeples’ problems. They might cost as little as $500, or as much as $2500. In general, they run about $1200.Our policy is that if a church decides to hire us to perform the work described, the cost of the Report comes off the top.