How to Price a Roofing Job

Have you lost money on a roofing project, considered a roof software to prevent miscalculated estimates, or gotten partway through a project before realizing you were barely going to break even?

If so, you’re not the only one.

In fact, 90% of roofers underbid the job.

That’s right—only 10% of all roofing contractors bid the right amount for a project!

Part of the trouble is that most roofers don’t even realize they’re undercutting their profit.

Many think—and quote—in terms of squares. They make a rough mental guess about how many squares the roofing project will take. But they don’t always account for extra costs like labor and overhead.

Underestimating a bid once might not be a complete disaster, but repeatedly underbidding can run your roofing business into the ground.

You want to give your customers an accurate estimate for a roofing job and make a profit.

The last thing you want to do is underbid a roofing job and lose a profit or your client’s trust. Your clients need to know that the cost of a new or repaired roof is accurate and secure.

Stop underbidding and start earning the profit you work so hard for with these 5 steps about how to correctly price roofing jobs.

1. Talk to the Homeowner

The first thing you should do before pricing a job is to meet with the client. Come prepared to ask the customer many questions. You might ask the homeowner:

  • What is your budget?
  • What type of roof do you want?
  • What kind of home do you have?
  • Do you have satellite dishes or solar panels on your roof?

2. Inspect the Roof

Of course, you’ll need to survey the roof itself. While inspecting the roof, look for damage or particular features (like multiple dormers) that may raise costs.

To save yourself from trouble down the road, we recommend taking photos of any issues you come across. You can show the pictures to your client and save them to the customer’s contact card.

3. Measure the Roof

After taking pictures and inspecting the roof, it’s time to measure it. Getting the roof measurements will help you find how many roofing material squares you will need to install. Since roofing materials are the majority of your roofing job cost, you’ll want to make sure these calculations are correct.

When measuring, calculate the roof base length and width, pitch, and number of roof squares. Software like EagleView can automatically do your measurements for you and save you the hassle of mental math. You can also try the HOVER roofing calculator to help you get accurate roof estimates step-by-step or do the process manually with these steps.

How to Calculate Roof Square Footage

To calculate the square footage of the roof, multiply the length and the width of each surface of the roof. Let’s say the rambler home you’re working on is 48’ long and 22’ wide.

48 length x 22 width = 1056 roof square footage

How to Calculate Ground-Level Squares

Then, you’ll use the roof square footage to find the number of ground-level squares you need. In the roofing world, 1 square = 100 square feet, so divide the total roof square footage by 100.

1056 roof square footage / 100 square feet = 10.56 ground-level squares

Don’t stop at ground-level squares, though. That number only tells you how much you’ll need to cover a flat surface, and most roofs aren’t flat. To accommodate a sloped roof, you’ll need to determine the roof pitch.

How to Calculate Roof Pitch

The roof pitch (also known as slope) is a ratio. The first number is how high the roof gets (rise), and the second number is the horizontal distance of the roof to the highest point (run).

For example, the roof might rise about 4 feet within a 12-foot distance.

4’ rise / 12’ run = 4:12 roof pitch

How to Calculate the Total Number of Roof Squares

Now that you have the ground-level squares and roof pitch, you need to find the right roof pitch multiplier. Luckily, you don’t have to guess. Each roof pitch correlates to a specific roof pitch multiplier. Check out this chart to find the right roof pitch multiplier for any project.

Roof Pitch Multiplier

3:124:125:126:127:128:129:1210:1211:1212:12
1.151.201.241.241.301.351.401.401.551.70

Multiply the ground-level squares by the corresponding roof pitch multiplier. For our 4:12 rambler roof, the roof pitch multiplier is 1.20.

10.56 ground-level squares x 1.20 roof pitch multiplier = 12.67 squares

You should also account for waste. We suggest you round up about 10–15% to make up for any wasted materials.

12.67 squares x .15 waste = 1.90 extra squares

12.67 squares + 1.90 extra squares = 14.57 squares

Since you can only buy whole squares of shingles, you’d be better off buying 15 total squares instead of 14 for this roof.

4. Estimate Roofing Material, Labor, and Overhead Costs

How to Calculate Material Cost

Once you have a clear idea of what the roofing job is, you need to come up with the materials for the job and what they will cost. Different roofing materials vary in price, and, depending on your supplier, you can pay upwards of $7.00 per square foot for an asphalt shingle roof.

Let’s say the rambler homeowners want asphalt shingles that cost $4.50 per square foot.

$4.50 per square foot x 100 square feet per square = $450 per square

$450 per square x 15 squares = $6,750

Also, don’t forget other roofing costs, including nails, vents, flashing, tools, underlayment, and more. We’ll say this roofing job requires another $650 for those items.

$6,750 shingles + $650 additional supplies = $7,400

How to Calculate Labor Cost

Next, you need to determine your labor costs. Look at how many hours your project is going to take and multiply it by the number of employees you’ll have working on the job. If you’ve tracked labor hours for previous jobs in your CRM, you will have a good estimate of how long it will take.

For example, your 4:12 roofing project might take about 30 hours with two roofers.

2 workers x 30 hours = 60 labor hours

Then multiply those labor hours by your employees’ hourly wage to get a total labor cost. According to Salary.com, roofers average $18 an hour, so we’ll use that for our example.

60 labor hours x $18 salary = $1,080

How to Calculate Overhead Cost

After determining your labor costs, you need to consider overhead costs. The price you charge for a roofing job must be able to cover these costs. An overhead cost calculator can help you with this step.

What are roofing overhead costs?

Overhead costs include the ongoing costs you have to operate your business, such as office rent, vehicle maintenance, insurance, utilities, and taxes.

For our example, we’ll say you have a monthly overhead cost of $2,800. Then we’ll use that number to calculate your overhead costs for a week. Since most months have four weeks in them, divide the monthly cost by four.

$2,800 monthly overhead / 4 weeks in a month = $700 weekly overhead

Once you have your weekly overhead costs, divide them by your weekly labor hours to get the amount you need to charge per hour to cover overhead costs.

Let’s say you regularly work nine-hour days five days each week, so you work 45 labor hours a week.

$700 weekly overhead / 45 weekly labor hours = $15.56 hourly overhead cost

Next, take that hourly overhead cost and multiply it by the number of labor hours that the job will need.

$15.56 hourly overhead x 60 labor hours = $933.60 in overhead for this job

Finally, add material costs, labor costs, and overhead costs together to come up with a total roofing job cost.

Material cost: $7,400

Labor cost: $1,080

Overhead cost: $933.60

Total cost: $9,413.60

5. Add Your Markup

Now that you know how much it costs to breakeven for the roofing job, you need to add a markup so you can turn a profit. How much you mark up your roofing project depends on the profit margin you want to make, but it should be higher than your profit margin percentage.

To get your project markup, divide the project profit by the profit cost, then take that number and multiply it by 100.

Markup = (Profit/Cost) x 100

What is markup in roofing?

Markup is the difference between how much an item costs your company compared to what you are selling it to your customers for.

To find your profit margin, divide your net income by your net sales. Then take that number and multiply it by 100.

Profit Margin = (Net Income/Net Sales) x 100

What is profit margin in roofing?

Your profit margin is how much money your roofing company earns after paying for all business costs. This is the amount of profit you take home.

JobNimbus estimate details on a mobile phone

Let’s say you markup the rambler roofing job by 5% for a profit margin of 7.6%. On this job, the markup would be $769.30.

$9,413.60 total cost + $769.30 markup = $10,182.90 final cost

A word to the wise: don’t list your overhead on the customer’s line items. Include it in your other prices.

Use Roofing Software for Fast, Easy Estimates

Manually estimating can take twenty minutes, but technology like roof software gets it done in two minutes or less.

Roofing CRMs speed up your estimates and allow you to add material costs, labor costs, and overhead with just a few clicks.

JobNimbus specifically has an estimate generator to create professional estimates for your customers. 

This roofing software also integrates with EagleView to build Smart Estimates. Smart Estimates take the math and hassle out of pricing a roofing job.

When you make a Smart Estimate, you save time and cut out errors. All it takes is three simple steps:

  1. Choose your estimate template

  2. EagleView will automatically import your project’s roofing measurements

  3. Add your products

You’ll get a personalized estimate to review. Make sure it’s good to go, save it, and send it off! Once you make a Smart Estimate, you’ll never go back to estimating by hand again.

JobNimbus estimates demo

How to Make Your Quote the Winning Bid

Now that you know how to make an accurate roofing bid, you’ll want to make yours stand out from the competition. Try out these pro tips to make your bid shine.

Cover All Essential Information on the Estimate

What should a roofing proposal include? Your roofing estimate should have several important pieces of information.

 

You want to include everything that the customer might have questions about. If you address those things now, you’ll prove your roofing know-how and ability to think ahead. Here are 13 essential parts of a winning roof bid:

  • Project timeline

  • List and cost of materials

  • Labor cost

  • Required permits and associated costs

  • Cleanup cost

  • Overall job cost

  • Payment terms and conditions
  • Licensing and insurance information

  • Warranty information

  • Your company’s contact information, logo, and name

  • Your client’s name and project information

Here are some final touches to include in your bid to make it stand out:

  • Testimonials: Let your happy homeowners speak for you. 9 out of 10 people will trust what a customer says about a business more than what the business says about itself. Help convince potential customers of your skill and service with proven success stories.
  • Guarantees: Customers want the peace of mind that they’re getting the best service. Including a warranty or guarantee will help put hesitant customers at ease.
  • Pictures: Add pictures from the job site to help customers see what damage they’re dealing with. Go a step further and leave notes or mark up the images to demonstrate how you’ll fix the problem. JobNimbus lets you take and upload photos to a specific job, so you can access and share them.

The key is to personalize the estimate to each customer. Let them know that this bid is specifically for them—that will mentally translate to your company being the right one for them as well.

Provide Good, Better, Best Estimates

For the most effective roofing estimates, you should offer the homeowners multiple quotes with the different materials you can use. It shows your service variety and highlights the value of your roofing products.

Giving several estimate options can also lead more homeowners to close. With just one proposal, the homeowner might say no and move on to another business. But with several estimate options, you have a higher chance of one of them catching the customer’s attention.

The good/better/best estimate method lets homeowners decide what they want. And you might be surprised by how many customers choose to go with a more expensive roofing option.

Roofing software can help you make these estimates faster than ever. If you don’t have a roof software, here’s how you can manually make good, better, best estimates.

  1. Decide which three of your products/services you want to offer.
    1. Typically, roofers choose one option each for lower-quality, medium-quality, and high-quality.
  2. Create individual estimates for all three services.
    1. Be sure to list everything those three services include.
  3. If possible, give a side-by-side comparison of all three estimates.
    1. Combining them into one document makes it easier for your customers to see their options.

See how to make good, better, best roofing estimates in JobNimbus.

Communicate Quickly

To make your quote stand out even more, get it to your customer quickly. Texting your quote will help get your estimate to the homeowner faster. In fact, business texts have a 5x higher open rate than emails.

Customers won’t wait to hear from every roofer they reached out to before they make up their mind, so a fast estimate means they’re more likely to work with your roofing company.

If you aren’t using business texts, here’s how you email your estimate to a potential customer.

  1. Save or download your completed estimate to your computer.
  2. Log in to your email account.
  3. Create a new email draft.
  4. Carefully input your potential customer’s email address in the “to” field.
  5. In the email itself, open your saved estimate.
  6. Upload the estimate to the email.
  7. Write your message to the customer explaining the bid.
  8. Send the email and check that it doesn’t bounce.

Save yourself the time of emailing estimates by trying JobNimbus business texting.

Walk the Customer through Your Bid

Homeowners can feel overwhelmed just by looking at a roofing estimate. What does it even mean that they need 20 roof squares?

Prevent confusion by talking through each part of your quote. It might take a few extra minutes, but it helps the customer see the exact value you offer.

Here are a few things you should do when you lead them through the estimate:

  • Explain how you’ll approach the roofing project
  • Highlight your experience
  • Break down the costs
  • Answer any questions the customer brings up

Follow up after Giving a Roof Quote

It’s easy for homeowners to get caught up in day-to-day life. They might put aside your bid and forget about it or even accidentally lose it.

Don’t let a job slip through your fingers simply because of a misplaced estimate. Whether you wait a few days or a week, be sure to reach out to the customer for a follow-up.

Make Every Bid Count

Now that you know the secret to measuring a roof correctly, estimating roofing costs, and calculating a profit, you’re ready to create winning professional quotes for your customers and grow your business by doing what you do best. Try out these five easy steps to boost your roofing company’s profitability today.

Laptop open with JobNimbus Boards showing different steps of a contractor's process

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