When you're new to roofing estimation, it can seem as though there are a lot of different considerations to keep in mind for each quote. Does the bid paperwork request insurance coverage? Do you need to stick with an exact material or will something comparable work for the prospective client? What about vents or issues with complex roof design? Fortunately, it doesn't have to be difficult to put that information together in a cohesive estimate that makes your business look like a pro. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know to create a quality roofing estimate.
Start with the basics
What if you're using a different type of roofing? If you're using metal roofing, measure from the peak to the end of the drip edge and record that measurement, then divide the roof's width by the width of the material, minus the overlap. If you're using 3' metal panels, for example, the pieces will often be 39” wide, but 3” of that is overlapped to provide a more water-tight surface. If your roof's width is 28' long and 42' wide and you're using 3' panels, you would divide 42/3 to get 14 panels that are28' long. This type of calculation will also work well for membrane-based roofing materials.
Add in any specialty flashing or items
Another area to consider is how complex the roof surface will be to lay down material. A simple gable roof with a single plumbing vent allows you to work quickly, laying down material with a minimum of flashing or other specialty roofing products. On the other hand, if the roof features a number of dormers, high pitch, multiple protrusions or changes levels multiple times, it's going to require a lot more flashing and specialty materials, taking much longer to install. By keeping these aspects of the project in mind, you can ensure you don't lose your profits to unexpected labor costs.
Another area you should keep in mind is the condition of the roof. If there's been water infiltration through the roofing materials, you may find issues with the decking or rafters once the old material has been removed. Pulling back the material slightly in order to check for other issues allows you to include them in your initial quote and explain the issue to the prospective client before work begins.
Consider any repairs on a replacement roof
Another area you should keep in mind is the condition of the roof. If there’s been water infiltration through the roofing materials, you may find issues with the decking or rafters once the old material has been removed. Pulling back the material slightly in order to check for other issues allows you to include them in your initial quote and explain the issue to the prospective client before work begins.
Write up the paperwork
The last step you'll need to take is to write up the information and make sure you've included everything requested or required for the project proposal. For larger commercial clients, you may be required to provide proof of insurance, specific crew composition for government projects or other documentation in addition to your final estimate.
But what about the estimate itself? You'll want to make sure all materials and estimated labor are laid out on the document, and having the ability to customize the quote gives you the opportunity to make a professional impression on your customer. Many roofers have been using the same standardized forms for years that everyone else uses, making their estimate blend in with everyone else's.
Having the ability to customize your estimate form allows you to stand out from the crowd, but with standard accounting-only software packages, it requires copying and pasting the information into new documents, forcing you to spend more time in the office when you need to be out in the field getting the job done. Fortunately, you do have other options available that allow you to streamline your backoffice process, from initial contact and estimates to final billing and follow-up contacts.
Digitizing your process takes you out of the office and back into the field, where you can focus on improving your profitability. Esticom gives you a wide range of tools to automate your business, allowing you to download or draft the plans needed for your takeoff, pull materials from an automatically-updated cost database, transfer your quote to Quickbooks, provide follow-up emails to your clients and use analytics to determine your most profitable project types. Try our free trial
and see how easy contracting can be.