We realize that getting roofing estimates can be a chore leaving you with a lot of questions about your estimates. The main questions among homeowners are, “Why is this company’s estimate cheaper?” Or “Why is this company more expensive?” Understanding what you are purchasing is extremely important, and although several reasons may influence the varying estimate prices, the main reason is the cost of labor to the contractor. Today’s roofing labor force is far different from the past when a company would hire individuals seeking employment and to build a workforce. Today’s roofing labor comes in a family unit or a “crew” willing to do the contractor's work for a price per square foot agreement. These crews are then added to the contractor’s roster as temporary employees so the roofing contractor can claim that they do not use subcontractors. It also provides the crew members with workers’ compensation insurance, protecting both clients and the contractor against an injury claim. Now, because today’s contractors are forced to use these crews, prices vary immensely. A professional crew with strong work ethics will demand more money per square foot since they know what their quality is worth, whereas an unseasoned or unprofessional crew will charge much less. For example, a crew with little experience is willing to work for an average of $1.62 per square foot to tear off old and reinstall new roofing. At the same time, a good crew that contractors can put their faith in will cost an average of $2.57 per square foot, and a halfway decent crew will charge an average of $2.15 per sq. ft. All the contractors can offer the best materials, but if the crews they hire to offer a better deal are lacking experience and work ethic, the homeowners are in for a world of disappointment in the months to come when their roof is esthetically unpleasing and/or failing prematurely. That is why you need to be very careful when choosing a contractor and by all means, never buy on a lowest-bid motive.
To put this into a more comprehensive perspective, here is a simple example regarding the labor cost differences a homeowner with a 2700 sq. ft. roof that equates to an 1800 sq. ft. home under air will experience.
Labor cost to the contractor that carries over to estimates:
High-quality crew with strong work ethic $2.57 psf ……………………………..……. $6,939.00
Average crew with good experience but lacks work ethic…………………………… $5,805.00 Difference of $1,134.00
Inexperienced crew attracting business through low-priced labor …………………. $4,374.00 Difference of $ 2,565.00
Since roofing repairs are so expensive and shoddy workmanship can devalue your property and keep you dealing with problems for years to come, you must refrain from buying on low price points as it will cost you later. “Pay now or pay later” has never been a truer saying in construction.
Which crew are you getting…the good crew or the good, priced crew?
So, whenever you worry that your contractor is making more profit than the other, remember that this is likely not the case. You’re deservingly getting a worry-free roof.
Hiring an independent roofing Inspector/Consultant is the best insurance your money can buy.