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Understanding Roofing Contractor Pricing: Navigating Costs and Quality

January , 2024 | 10 min. read

By Mitch Owens

roofers completing roof repair

Vetting contractors for your upcoming roofing project can be a daunting process. By the time you've spoken to several different roofing companies, you’ll probably find that the estimates you've received are all over the place.  Not to mention, it's expensive to do a roof repair and a full replacement, and can be one of the largest expenses we make as homeowners, so why are you being provided with price points that are seemingly all  over the place?

You want your roofing project done right the first (and only) time around. It’s an important decision to make on your own, and it's one that we, as homeowners, don’t want to feel buyer’s remorse towards after the job is done. So, why is it that the estimates you've been given vary for the same job? It’s a question many homeowners have and a question that our family here at RoofCrafters has had to answer for nearly 3 decades. The truth is, every roofing company doesn’t offer the same high-quality materials or long-lasting workmanship warranties, among many other things. 

That being said, if you're in the process of choosing the best roofing contractor for the job, and you're wondering why prices differ from company to company, stick around until the end of this article. You'll learn about the contractor's scope of work, the difference in material costs, warranties, post-project services, and lastly, the contractor's overhead costs. Let's dive in!

Decoding the Scope of Roofing Work: What's Included in Your Estimate


No verbal agreement or handshakes, folks. You should get some form of a written estimate. Estimates detailing the scope of work that the contractor is proposing. You can review and compare them line item by line item. This is where you'll find major differences between companies.

close up of businessman hands signing an estimate

Some contractors won’t include certain line items, nor differentiate between a simple repair or a necessary roof replacement. Be sure to ask what's included. Ask if rotten wood replacement is extra. Some contractors charge extra for flashing work. These change orders can add up fast, so being prepared will help with budget expectations.

If you're unsure about repairing or replacing your roof, take this short quiz. It'll help you understand your roofing needs prior to contacting a roofing contractor.

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The Scope of Roof Work


Sadly, confusion and stress are bound to ensue when homeowners choose the cheapest bid. By only looking at the price and not reviewing the line items in the estimate, it's easy to miss components that may need to be replaced.

old roof with rotten plywood decking

You don’t want to be in the middle of the job and have your contractor come to you and say, "sorry, we can’t finish the job without replacing the wood or metal flashing." Then hit you with a massive change order with your roof open. Nobody wants to dish out even more of their hard-earned cash, right?

Quality vs. Cost: The Material Dilemma in Roofing


This one is simple but not always easy to explain. Cost-effective roofing solutions don't mean the cheapest. They’re big differences in the quality of materials. We know you understand this, but we must say it, because we see this happen over and over! 

chimney coming through a roof with a shoddy repair on the shingles

Unfortunately, when a contractor uses the wrong type of materials on your roof,  you don't find out that they were not durable roofing materials until the roof is leaking.

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Pros: High-Quality Roofing Materials

  • Durable in both summer and winter conditions
  • Proven to withstand heavy rain storms
  • Will handle the harsh conditions of saltwater climates
  • Come with manufacturer-backed guarantees 
  • Trusted by top contractors
  • Provide long-lasting protection
  • May costs more upfront

beautiful home new roof

Pros and Cons: Cheap Roofing Materials

  • It will save you money upfront
  • Can’t withstand thermal movement
  • Subject to give out in heavy wind and rain
  • Rust and fail prematurely around the saltwater 
  • Don’t come with guarantees 
  • Used by contractors who haven’t developed a value system
  • Fail prematurely
  • This causes more expenses on the backed
  • Provides a short period of security and protection

roof is damaged (2) (1)

Workmanship Warranties: Understanding Your Coverage

Workmanship Warranties: Understanding Your Coverage


There are two types of warranties in the roofing industry. The material warranty protects you from any defects in the materials. And also workmanship or a craftsmanship warranty, which protects you from faulty workmanship. Both ensure a long-term roofing investment for you.

water stains on sheetrock inside a home

What does the workmanship warranty mean for you?  It means, no leaks or the contractor will make the corrections without charging you if it happens. The workmanship warranty is the most used in the roofing industry. Why? They’re several reasons but to be fair, the short answer is that we’re human and we all make mistakes.

How a contractor handles their mistakes is what matters. That leads us to service after the job is complete.

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Post-Project Service: The Marker of a Reliable Contractor

Post-Project Service: The Marker of a Reliable Contractor


For a contractor to provide a high level of service after the job has been completed, two things need to happen. The contractor has to have systems and processes in place to handle callbacks or issues from past jobs. Meaning they’ve had to build out a service or warranty division inside their company.

Business man pointing the text Who Is Accountable?

A contractor's commitment to post-project service can affect their pricing. They would also need to account for this activity. Contractors that pre-plan for warranty work have typically been around longer. They're more experienced in providing service after the work has been completed.

roofer repairing a 3-tab shingle roof

Look, it is no secret that the roofing industry is a tough business. The Small Business Association shows us that over 85% of roofing contractors go out of business within 3 years. And staggering 90% are out of business before their fifth year. Staggering Right? Gas is almost $5.00 per gallon! Warranty work and service after the job cost contractors money, leading us in to our next point: the contractor's overhead costs.

Navigating Overhead Costs: What Goes into Roofing Pricing

Navigating Overhead Costs: What Goes into Roofing Pricing


Every roofing company has overhead or operating costs. This is the overall cost that it takes to successfully operate the company. Some of the overhead costs that can impact the cost of your roof include:

General liability insurance
  • General liability insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Vehicles (maintenance, fuel, and insurance)
  • Office and shop
  • Warranty work
  • Employee payroll and taxes
  • Employee training (continued education) 
  • State and local licenses and bonds
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Federal and State taxes

No matter how large or small a roof repair or replacement project may be, these are just some of the fixed costs that a roofing company has to factor into the cost of the project to operate their business successfully. 

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Can You Afford Quality Roofing? Exploring Your Options


You can research, learn, and estimate costs to replace your roof on your own. However, getting in contact with a company that provides reliable roofing services will always be your best bet. They'll be able to catch all the details needed to complete a total roof replacement or fix a small leak. They’ll also give you an in-depth explanation.

roofing estimator inspecting a cornice return on a ladder

When it comes down to how much a new roof will cost you, and if you can afford it. Well, any reputable roofing company will offer you financing options so you can stay within your budget. Here at RoofCrafters, we believe that a high-quality roof that provides protection is a right every homeowner deserves. We'd be glad to come out and discuss some affordable roofing solutions with you.

If you're eager to talk to one of our friendly estimators about new roof costs, go ahead and schedule your inspection below. If you'd prefer to brush up on your roofing service knowledge, you can better educate yourself through the extensive resources in our learning center.

Schedule an Inspection

We also recommend downloading our "Top 10 Checklist" where we share the top 10 things to ask a roofer when you are vetting companies. It has frequently asked questions along with the answers so you can better prepare yourself for your initial appointment That way you’ll know what should be expected of the roofing contractor you choose to hire.

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Mitch Owens

My name is Mitch, and I have over 10 years of roofing experience. I enjoy my career in the service industry because I love helping others take care of their homes and businesses. With over 10 years in the roofing industry, my success comes from my honesty and integrity during my roof inspections. I do my best to listen to the needs of my clients and strive to provide an awesome client experience.