You don't want your client to faint from the shock of your estimate for a new roofing job, but you need to pay your workers fairly and cover costs. If you're uncertain whether your estimates are going to provide enough money for materials and labor, or if you're wondering how to break into the business and price a roofing job, be realistic and plan ahead.

Figure out the amount of materials you'll need for the job based on the size of the roof. Tack on an extra 10 percent to cover mistakes, patch jobs and waste. If your client knows what kind of roof he wants, such as asphalt shingles, wood shingles or tile, call your suppliers to obtain their current price for that material. If the client doesn't know what kind of material to use, include price estimates for three roofing materials commonly used in your geographic location or for your client's style of house. Add up the price of any materials you will need, including cleanup costs.

Determine how fast you can get the job done. Will this take one day or two? How many workers will you need to have on-site? Do they need a supervisor? Sometimes, using more workers on the job will result in a time savings. Which option will save the client money? Add up the labor cost for the job by combining the number of hours for the job with the hourly wage of any workers.

Think of possible business expenses you'll incur while doing the job. These might include gas and vehicle usage, tolls, office overhead costs and percentage of monthly bills. Your business expenses per job will not be large, but you should get in the habit of including them in your estimates.

Combine the three sums from the business expenses, materials cost and labor cost to arrive at your total cost to perform the roofing job.

Decide how much profit you want to make from this job. The Contractors Group advises beginning roofing contractors to allow a 10 percent profit for the first few bids. Depending on the competition in your area and the economy, you may wish to raise or lower this profit percentage.

Add your profit to your costs to arrive at the total cost of the job. Prepare a written estimate that discusses the scope of the project, the materials to be used, the expected time-line and any other information the client should have.


Include one to two references along with your estimate so that the client can call other customers to get a positive review of your work.