Money, Money, Money!


When it’s time to get the new roof, the cost of roofing these days raises its ugly head. Everybody wants a bargain, and everyone wants the roof to be perfect. Folks who would never buy the rusty clunker from snidely Sam’s used car emporium are somehow attracted to the low ball roofing guys with amazing prices and cotton candy warrantees.

So how do those low ball guys do it?

 Step one-use crappy products. There are shingles out there that are so thin they should be only used on a doghouse.  Shingles used to be sold by their weight, with a 240lb. shingle being standard. Today a very good 25yr shingle now weighs only about 220lbs. per 100 square feet. There are companies out there putting on 170lb shingles that have been named a ‘number 240’ unsuspecting homeowners think they are buying a 240lb. shingle. Caulks can cost $1.98 a tube for interior grade painters caulk, or $5.50 for high quality exterior caulks.  All down the line there are choices installers make between the cheap stuff that will last only a few years on up to quality products that will serve well for 30 years of more.

Step two-fudge on insurance. Roofing companies are required by law to carry workman’s compensation insurance to cover workers in case of falls and injury. Shady operators will show insurance certificates that cover safer jobs. Back in the 90’s when I was trying to figure out how these guys get by I discovered that some guys will wave a certificate that covers carpentry (21% of payroll) instead of a roofing cert. (49% of payroll). Or they simply mislead their insurance company and hide most of their employees (by paying them cash). Since labor is often the biggest cost in a roof project cutting corners on the necessary insurance can enable some roofers to undercut honest competitors.

Step three-find cheap untrained labor. With the economy tight, any many folks out of work there are areas of town where guys stand on the corner waiting to be hired for the day just to make enough to keep their head above water. If you offer them work they will assure you that thy have lots of roofing experience.  Paying cash to untrained ‘roofers’ can save a lot of money on insurance, social security, unemployment, and other costs associated with a skilled employee.

Step four-give an amazing sounding warrantee that you have no intention of honoring once the money is in your pocket. Ten, fifteen and even twenty year workmanship warrantees are out there. The standard in the industry is five years. Most of the longer ones are simply a sales gimmick. Remember  what the large print giveth the small print taketh away.

The safest way is to know your roofer is someone that you can trust. Even the better cars cost more than the junk.

Created by John Norman


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