How to Bid a Roofing Job Pt 1: Make a Profit w/o Causing Sticker Shock

Whether you’re new to the roofing industry or boasting decades of experience, bidding a roofing job can be complicated and time consuming. What if you could put a system in place to streamline the roofing estimate and bid-writing process while improving customer relationships? 

Check out these tips on how to bid a roofing job in a way that will build trust with the homeowner and even potentially land long-term business for your roofing company. 

how to bid a roofing job

Listen to your roofing lead.

Whether you’re in residential or commercial roofing, creating a satisfied customer starts with lending a keen ear. If you run a small roofing business, you may be your own salesperson, so it’s important to maintain the qualities of a successful salesman. This gives you the upper hand since you’ll be there for the whole process, from the sale to the close of the job. 

During your initial meeting, pay attention to your customer by showing empathy when they express their concerns and jot them down, but also make a mental note of your prospect’s body language and tone of voice. How do they respond when you ask if they have a budget in mind upfront? Their response may subconsciously indicate whether they have a flexible or tight budget. (It’s okay to ask for a budget early; it’s not okay to raise your bid to meet it.)

Evaluate the project and note potential setbacks.

Replacing a roof isn’t always as simple as tearing off the old and installing the new. If you’re performing the initial roof inspection, pay close attention to detail. Make note of those hard-to-reach spots and any sign of roof rot or other potential hazards.

take pic of roof

Take pictures. Before you start the job, build credibility with the customer by showing them any issues you spot while inspecting the roof that will affect production. Addressing sore spots in the beginning can prevent problems with the customer caused by an unexpected bill at the end of the job. 

Unfortunately, not all roof damage can be seen during inspection. Consider padding time or overestimating how long the project will take in order to cover potential setbacks. Alternatively, you could give your customer the initial roofing bid and inform them of the possibility of additional work, letting them know you’ll keep them updated throughout the course of the project.

On occasion, the homeowner may not need a full roof replacement. Their issue may be an easy roof repair job. A lower out-of-pocket expense will ease their mind before and after the bid, and they’ll recognize that you’re not trying to take advantage of them by pushing for a complete roof replacement.

Consider all your costs.

From materials to labor to tools, it’s important to consider every aspect of the job when you’re building your roofing estimate, down to the last nail. 

How do you typically pay your crew? Some roofers pay their roofing crew members by the square. Others pay based on time worked or how long the job is estimated to take. Multiply that by your pay rate to get the cost of labor.

If you rely on suppliers for certain materials, be sure to reach out to them for availability and the latest prices on materials needed for the specific roofing job you’re bidding. Don’t forget to incorporate tax and shipping costs when applicable. 

rb4000_roofing equipment

Machine and equipment depreciation should be calculated into your roofing bid, tooanything from new company trucks to equipment that further streamlines the roofing installation process, like the Equipter RB4000, a self-propelled portable dumpster. Some roofing contractors are concerned that potential customers will shoot their company down if they feel they have to pay for the company’s equipment. Our records show otherwise. The 2018 Equipter RB4000 Customer Survey Report shows that 58% of RB4000 owners say that homeowners are willing to spend more on roofing services when the company uses an RB4000.

And don’t forget fractions of these overhead costs: 

  • Office expenses, including rent, utilities, and supplies
  • Various necessary types of insurance for running your roofing business
  • Travel to and from the job site
  • Phone bills 

List optional services and upgrades on the bid.

Reflect on your on-site experience with the lead while putting together the job estimateincorporate your customer’s expectations and concerns. They’ll be impressed with your listening skills and excited to customize another part of their home to match their style. Just a few options to add to your initial roofing bid include:

  • Types of shingles (based on budget and homeowner’s location)
  • Shingle colors
  • Roof flashing colors

Be sure to note any problem areas found during the roof inspection as their own expenses. 

Also note how you plan to bill for any bumps that arise during production that weren’t initially observed and consider discounting the cost of those repairs. This helps build your credibility and keep you the homeowner’s choice roofer, creating another way to boost your roofing company’s referral rate.

Consider mentioning any preventative roof maintenance services and other services you offer at the end of your bid to let the customer know you’re there for all of their roofing needs--not just roof installation.

Schedule a followup and review the roofing bid in person.

Help customers understand your pricing process by reviewing the bid together. Although you’ve already broken the bid down line by line, being available to answer any questions in person speaks volumes of your integrity especially to homeowners replacing their roof for the first time. 

Tips on how to bid a roofing job should never be ignored, especially when it comes to ways you can build trust with the homeowner. Even the most seasoned roofer can use a fresh perspective every now and then. For more roofing advice, keep an eye on the Equipter blog and follow us on Facebook.