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How to Avoid These 15 Common Roofing Estimate Mistakes 

by Chris Lee | July 24th, 2017
When it comes to roofing estimation, it's very easy to make mistakes that can turn an otherwise profitable project into a money pit. But what mistakes should you guard against as you go through the process? Here are 15 common mistakes made in estimating roofing jobs:

How to Avoid These 15 Common Roofing Estimate Mistakes

  • Lack of transparency in the estimating process. How did you come up with those numbers in the first place? If you don't record your work, you'll have a much harder time finding errors when you're checking the quote at the end. Take the time to record your notes and make your calculation method easy to figure out. Then when the client decides to change their mind on their roofing tin type, it'll be easier to recalculate.
  • Incorrectly calculating last-minute changes. If our fictional client above capitulates and decides the blue-gray shingles will be find at the last moment, you may record an incorrect quantity needed, mis-type a price or make similar errors that slip through in the rush. Take your time and make sure to double-check the change to the estimate.
  • Underestimating the cost of labor or overhead. It's easy to get caught up in the swing of things when your crew is moving efficiently in June slapping down the shingles. That doesn't mean you'll get the same productivity in November. Account for the season and how extreme weather may slow down your crew.
  • Relying too heavily on cost guides. Cost guides are great tools when they work, but quickly fall out of date and may not be accurate to the expenses in your area. If you need to haul a load of shingles 75 miles to the job site or buy them from Fred's Hardware Store, the cost guide will not be accurate.
  • Failure to assess project risk. Are you re-shingling a relatively new home before the existing roof has begun to fail or a 200-year-old historic home that has lots of water damage? The difference can really impact your profitability.
  • No accounting for special circumstances, whether in the structure or the site. Did that tree that went over in the hail storm just brush the shingles, or did it cause structural damage to the roof? What about that steep, muddy driveway for a project in March?
  • Not including required fees for permits, inspections and similar requirements. A lot of contractors will simply include these fees as part of the margin for the job. However, if you're working in a municipality or county where you haven't worked before, you'll want to make sure you investigate these costs before they surprise you with high fees.
  • By planning for these potential mistakes, you can check more carefully for them and avoid them in the future. But what if you could automate some part of this process and avoid the mistakes all together? Esticom gives you a number of tools that help avoid errors in estimating, including automatically updated pricing from a national vendor, checking against national averages to avoid errors, automatic calculation of costs to avoid formula issues, analytics to tell you which type of job is the most profitable and automated transfer of quote amounts to QuickBooks. Why not see how our free trial can make estimating easier for your business?
Chris Lee
Chris Lee has an extensive background in preconstruction management as a former specialty contractor and business owner. As the Chief Estimator at Esticom, he’s helped thousands of specialty contractors digitize their preconstruction process to increase revenue and profitability while decreasing unnecessary overhead.

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