Roof Cost

Just got three estimates for a tear-off roof job ranging from $8,000 to $13,500. I live in the suburb of Detroit and the estimates are for replacing existing 1 layer of shingles by new 30 yr. shingles. Roof area is 3,200 square ft. with a 8/12 pitch. About 1/2 of the roof area is 2 stories high, the rest is one story. I checked the price for the 30 yr. GAF shingles at Home Depot about $40 a square. So I estimate the material cost to be around $1,500. Therefore much of the cost is in the labor. Is the total cost of $250 to $425 per square reasonable around my area ? Can someone with experience tell me what is a fair price to pay ? I am really surprised about the big difference between the high and the low bids. As far as I can tell the proposals are identical except for the price.
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Roofing jobs are one of the favorite scams going. You do need to be careful.
Some quote jobs by number of squares of shingles. Others want to quote 'by the job' or 'by the hour'.
Get references, and check each with BBB.
Be sure that ALL bidders physically measure the roof. Some like to get 2/3 of the job done and then "Oh, I underestimated the area". Get a set price in writing before ANY work is done.
Are all using the same quality of shingle?
There is more then just shingles, is all necessary flashing included? How about ridge vents (if used in your area).
Are shingles being delivered 'to the job' or 'on the roof'. This can be an extra charge as much as $10 a bundle.
Is disposal of old material included?
How long will job take. My house took two days. My neighbor had a crew show up as I was leaving for work one morning. When I got home at 5PM the job was completed, and they were gone!
Since labor is the major single cost. Don't let them drag the job into un-necessary days.
Another scam is to get part of the job done and then find 'problems' with the roof that will HAVE to be done before they can continue.
Good luck.

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From my limited experience, $8000 to $10,000 sounds about right. Since you have only one layer, if it is flat, not all curled, etc. you can go over it with a second layer. I'd go look at a couple of jobs the low bidder did, maybe even talk to the homeowner. Ed
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There is more to roofing than just shingles and labor. On the material side you need: felt, tin caps, nails, flashing, drip edge, starter shingles, hip and ridge shingles, ridge vents, roofing jacks, vent flashings--plus delivery costs and, don't forget, taxes on the supplies. Plus the dump fees for disposal of the old shingles and trash--this can be quite expensive in some areas.
From the business side: general office expense, advertising, tools and equipment, insurance, trade memberships, salaries and other employee benefits--just to mention a few.
One thing to be careful of is thinking that all roofers are the same, this just is not the case. Just as with any profession there are good and bad contractors and there will be differences in pricing. Generally speaking, the lower quality roofers charge the lower prices. They operate on the premise that the customer is only interested in paying the lowest amount. On the other hand, the better roofers charge more because they are interested in doing what is in the customer's best interest and this is always more expensive to do.
Check out the roofers side-by-side: how long in business, are they certified, do they leave you a list of 100 or so references, do they explain their procedures and give you options for doing the job? Also, verify that the roofers are really bidding on using the same materials: are they using #15 felt or #30, stain-guard shingles or regular shingles, changing vent flashings or re-using the old ones...every item should have been discussed when you met with the contractors.
In the end, price is not as important as value--are you getting the best value for the money you are spending? You can determine value but it will take some effort on your part, you can't just try to figure out what is a "fair" price, there is no such thing.
Bruce A&B Construction Houston, TX www.roof.cc
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You never told us which suburb of Detroit! When I was roofing in the northern subs, Birmingham/Bloomfield Hills/Royal Oak, etc., I could charge $250/square, all inclusive, except for rot repair. After I paid my workers, I was happy to pay myself $200/day. It wasn't worth the hassle at that rate! And this was in 1996... Tom Work at your leisure!
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$200 a day doesn't make it, especially if you add on all those days you aren't paid--doing estimates, signing contracts, buying materials, etc. When you figure taxes is it even worse.
Every situation is different, but with just one crew and a small overhead, you might be able to make it on $500 a day--if you have a steady stream of business. However, even at that amount I think it would be difficult.
Sometimes it is overlooked, but it is in the customer's best interest to deal with a successful contractor. For that reason, among others, it is almost always a mistake to go with the lowest bidder--who will never be successful. As in any field, the better professionals always charge more.
Bruce A&B Construction Houston, TX www.roof.cc
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Some places will give cheaper insurance if you go with 40 yr shingles.
Sounds like you need a couple of more bids, or better yet, drive around and look for new roofs and ask the owners.
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DL wrote:

if you need a new roof due to hail damage or storm damage.. wait until the fly by night people leave town and then get a local company... even local companies use these fly by night guys when they have too much work to sub out.... i got stuck like this about four years ago after a hail storm... you could not get a company to come out to give you a bid.. well then finally did and it was a local company been in business a long time with a full size page in the yellow pages.. he subed out to some guys who look like they came from tobacco road... new roof looked worse than the old roof.. it took a threat of going to civil court with the owner of the company to get him to have some other employees to come out and fix the mess these guys made.. wish i would have waited and got some local small company's name from the neighbors...... the single story place i got is 2600 sq. feet and cost about $5400.... if you have a two story the price goes up.. if you have a high pitch to the roof the price goes up... if you have alot of valleys and ridges the price goes up....
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