What to Look for in a Roofing Estimate

Why Are There Differences in Roofing Estimates?

If you found this article, there is a good chance you have a roofing estimate in your hands right now. You’ve probably heard that it is a good idea to get more than one bid for a roofing job, before deciding on who will be replacing your roof. But do you know how important it is to compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges? In roofing terms, that can mean comparing prices on more than just materials.

Don’t get me wrong, materials are an important element of any bid. I had a potential customer approach me once to ask, “Why is your bid higher than the one I got from another Marin roofing company?”

Turns out, while roofing materials like composite shingles may appear to be the same, they often are not. The proof is in the material composition, thickness and durability. The two roofing estimates included two different types and weights of composite shingles. The colors were similar, so he thought he had chosen the same shingle in both estimates. His first bid included lighter weight shingles with a warranty of 15 years and his second bid included a different shingle with a warranty of 30 years.

What to Look for in a Roofing Estimate

When comparing estimates, you’ll want to know what factors affect the cost of a line item. A low estimate on labor costs may mean trouble down the road, if the company doing your roof uses unskilled, subcontracted labor, or fails to insure their workers. That leaves you on the hook if anything happens.

Four Questions to Ask When Getting a Roofing Estimate

1. Is the company licensed and insured?

This is easy to check. Just ask for the company’s license number and in California go to the Contractors State Licensing Board site. Ask for proof of insurance, too, and be sure it includes both liability and worker’s compensation.

2. If this is a complete reroofing or new roof job, what type of sheeting and underlay materials will be used?

This is along the same lines as the outer roofing materials question. To ensure that you are making a realistic comparison, you’ll need to know what type of products will be included.

3. Does your bid include getting a building permit?

Each jurisdiction might have slightly different regulations – whether you are getting a new roof or a replacement could also be a factor. So it is a good idea to check, as the permit is for your protection.

4. How long has your company been in business?

Longevity alone is no guarantee that one roofing company may be better equipped than another to complete your work. However, it can substantially up the odds that the people walking around on your roof have done the task many times before. Experience plays an important role in getting things done right and done safely.

If you are looking for a comparative estimate or simply want a roofing professional to provide an opinion on whether your roof is prepared for the predicted El Niño, contact us a for a no-obligation, free estimate.

Booth & Little Roofing is the second oldest roofing company in Marin, established in 1923. Many of our staff have been with us for 20 years or more. When one of our team provides an inspection, you can trust you’ll be talking with a roofer and not a salesperson.