Prices: Labor vs. Materials


Again, if the price between two or 3 estimates are really wildly off, then yes - you certainly should ask what the differences are (or @ least examine the estimates & see if you can educate yourself).

It’s one thing to ask what kind of shingle is being suggested, another to ask what price the roofer pays (or, ultimately, is charging YOU for them).


It’s one thing to ask what kind of shingle is being suggested, another to ask what price the roofer pays (or, ultimately, is charging YOU for them).

If I cut a check directly to the supply house, I would most definitely know materials cost.

And isn’t that good practice anyway, for the customer to pay the supplier directly? Shouldn’t that be the customer’s “deposit”?


Those are all good questions to ask. Everything you mentioned is part of the specs for the job. For the nails, 4 is all that is required. Sometimes you need to throw an extra one in for whatever reason. If they were doing more then that they would market it to you as a little ‘extra’ thing they do. And be proud of it.

IMO if you put more than 4 nails in a shingle, the odds of one being near or in the seam of the next shingle increase greatly.


Speaking of dually’s I just dropped off a pallet of Landmark Resawn Shake’s to a friends house, man did that thing squat!!! 4,000 lbs.

Got a killer deal though, $27.99 a square. The shingles were in very nice condition for being from 2006.

My lumber yard has never once charged me a return fee.


you should def ask. for a specific material break down as far as what the products are. i dont think you should get an itemized list such as how many and what each item cost.

i can get shingles for $43/sq “drunk uncle frank” gets 'em for like 55/sq. so why is he cheaper?...he basically is usually looking for beer money, has maybe a handyman policy (if that) and doesnt plan on sticking around and servicing his community. also one day drip edge is .31/ft one day it is $.39/ft. there are too many variable to itemize, also like it was said earlier. i dont have enough time to do that on every job.

basically i know how much your roof will cost (within a few hundred) as soon as i pull in the driveway. if you are good enough at this you know how to price things quick and still make a profit without loosing the job.

First of all What are you asking Jerry first you want a break down of material and labor and then you ask for expalnation of specs. If you were my customer you would be in complete understanding of exactly what you were getting and all the specs. You would not however get a breakdown of prices of material vs labor. Or a material list. My price is my price period. I can see that you are being a good consumer which is great ( Iwish more people were) as our prices as good roofing contractors would be more justified. If the contractor is giving you a quality roof with a good warranty and it is to be installed to the manufactures specs then he should make good profit. You would pay us Half down within a week of us starting or when the material is delivered to your property. Since we have credit accounts with our suppliers we will be done roofing your house and possibly your business weeks before we even pay for the material that’s on your house. Therefore there will be no “writing a check to the material supplier”.

As a note for the guys who have there customers pay the supply house for the material, why don’t you set up a credit account? I have accounts with every supplier we buy from. The terms are 30 days same as cash with most. Some charge 2 or 3% if you go over 2 weeks or pay by credit card. I get 50% down on each job. that covers all the material. If the customer has any problems with that then we have them pay the 50% when the material is delivered to there property. I never have my money tied up with there material.

  1. You don’t know my wife. 2 Times I’ve had a separate bank account exclusively for roofing work & she managed on both occasions to exceed our limits or need the $$ for household expenses. So much for that…

  2. I can’t afford to get upside down with my supplier if another “# 1” situation happens again (no, she didn’t have access to the account). I know too many people who have had the best of intentions with “A job that was supposed to get installed in a week” or “A sure thing contract” & they spent too much on X when they really needed it on Y.

  3. I’m a smaller operation. A one man show. If something goes sideways with a customer after parts are delivered, I’m going to have to eat that expense or take some kind of a hit. Maybe I’ll have to return all the shingles & some are damaged in the return transit or they all get relo’d back to the supplier but then I have the hassle of having to move them from point A to point B. What if the customer doesn’t pay when the shingles are delivered because they got their finances out of whack? I can’t take that risk.

  4. Finally, as stated above, if a customer isn’t prepared to make SOME sort of deposit up front, they sure as heck aren’t going to be as likely (or able) to pay the final bill when the work is complete.

I have yet to get a customer who refused to go with this process. If a repair has parts that cost less than $ 600.00 or so, I’ll probably eat that up front & wait for full payment on completion.


As an example. If we sell a house roof for say $330.00 per square and it is 18 sq. A 30 year roof will cost us about $1200 bucks in parts(give or take a few dollars). The total price on that job is $5940.00. Which means at the time of sale or about a week before the job is schedule to begin we will collect funds from the homeowner for the amount of $2970.00. We don’t owe the supply house until 30 days after we deliver the material. By then we have the job done and have been paid in full. I just don’t see how you can get hurt or go upside down by doing this. Plus if you are busy there should always be a positive cash flow.

I’ve never had it happen but if a customer paid 50%down. and then we deliver the material and the homeowner wants out of the contract before the roof is installed. Then i would give them back thier money minus the material cost and let them keep the material. Because At this point If they are committed enough to put down 50% knowing we are delivering the material or starting in a week then they should have no reason for backing out.

In the case of delivering the material before we get money, it doesn’t happen very often(less than 5% of our jobs). We only offer it when you have that customer who just doesn’t trust giving someone thousands of dollars with no guarantee other than the one in writing.

BTW, I have accounts that only my name is on, and someone would be serious trouble if they allowed anyone besides me to access those accounts. So get one without her name on it if she’ll allow it lol :smiley:


Liberty, go back & re-read # 2 above.

Also, my system is a LOT easier to keep track of. Get parts cost from supplier, tell customer what deposit amount they will need to pay, check on delivery schedule from supplier & put on roof in a timely fashion.

No having to follow up on who I owe or whether the money is there or not.

Works for me in the same way your system works for you.


Liberty------$66 a sq. for material??