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.
Roofing jobs are one of the favorite scams going. You do need to be
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Work at your leisure!
$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
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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