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What should be included in a roofing estimate?.

July 02, 2021

By Dave Gray

You may spend a lot of time, money and effort optimizing your website for search engines, creating a strong social media presence, running PPC campaigns, or doing traditional marketing to attract potential clients, only for them to be turned off by a poorly prepared roofing estimate.

Potential clients rely on estimates to compare different roofers in terms of what they are charging and the scope of the project. A good estimate that explains the project in great detail ensures potential clients are not worried about surprises such as hidden costs. You can use your estimate to stand out from your competitors.

Get the client’s specific requirements first

Before you pen an estimate, you should first sit down with the client to determine what he/she needs. A one-on-one meeting on site is better than an email or phone conversation since it helps you understand the scope of the job. As an example, a client may tell you on the phone that only minor repairs are required and you prepare an estimate for the same, only for you to visit the site and realize that the roof needs to be overhauled. Your client is not a roofing expert and may overlook some things when it comes to roofing projects.

The one-on-one meeting also gives you an opportunity to agree on the charging method (hourly or per-project), to ask for clarifications on the details of the project and for you to advise the client on such matters as the best underlayment, flashing, shingles, ventilation and other materials to use. Once you have agreed on the charging method, materials, scope, duration of the project, and other details, you will have sufficient information to write an estimate. So, what should be included in the roofing estimate?

Project summary and timelines

A summary of the project is important for both parties since it is something to quickly refer to when in doubt about the project. Include timelines of deliverables here.


Your client will be very interested in this part of the estimate. You should break down cost so that the client understands what he/she is being charged for. A lump sum amount is usually very intimidating. The cost should be broken down into:

  • Labour: Indicate how much you charge per hour and the duration of the project. If you are sub-contracting, factor in these costs too.
  • Demolitions: If the roof needs to be replaced and you are the one responsible for demolitions, include the cost of demolition and that of disposal.
  • Materials and supplies: Include the cost of the different materials and supplies that will be used in the project in the estimate. Break this down such as the cost of the shingles, the ventilation, the underlayment, and so on for your client to easily compare costs.
  • Permit costs: Most roofing projects in Canada require local permits. It is your responsibility to determine all the permits that are required and to determine their cost. Include this cost in the estimate.

Payment schedule

Indicate the method of payment, the down payments, progress payments, the due date for the final payment, penalties for failure to pay on the due date, and provisions for the client to withhold the final payment until the job is completed to their satisfaction.

Guarantee of work

This allows you to stand out from the crowd. Outline your company’s policies when things don’t go according to plan such as workmanship guarantees. You should also include penalties that you will incur should you fail to honor the contract such as should you fail to complete the work on time or to the client’s satisfaction. These guarantees put your client’s fears to rest.

License, insurance, bonding and other information

Clients want a roofing company that is licensed and bonded and one that carries workman’s’ compensation and liability insurance and you should include this information on the estimate. You should also indicate membership to any trade organizations, your rating by consumer protection agencies such as the Better Business Bureau, industry awards you may have received, and certified installer status for leading North American manufacturers.

Contact information

This is an important, yet often overlooked, part of the estimate. It allows the client to easily get in touch with you in case of any question.

Other important components of a roofing estimate are:

  • A provision for add-ons or change-orders that could lead to extended timelines and extra charges.
  • A lien release to protect the client from liability should you fail to pay roofing material suppliers or your subcontractors.
  • A termination clause indicating circumstances under which you or the client can terminate the agreement without penalty on violation of the contract terms.

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