Why Can’t a Roofing Contractor Give You a Price Over the Phone?

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, why can’t a roofing contractor give you an estimate over the phone? The last thing you want to do is schedule an appointment and wait for the contractor to show up. Isn’t a contractor just like the cable guy, in that they give you a 2- to 3-hour window and expect you have nothing else to do? A professional, licensed roofing contractor should make you an exact time for an appointment, not a block of time. All you want is a price to replace your roof, so why does the roofing contractor have to look at your roof before giving you a price? An experienced roofer should be good at their job, so why does he or she need to wait to give me a price until after looking at my roof?

You might think the roofing company is going to send out a fast talker, trying to sell you a bunch of stuff you don’t need. Sadly, you are probably right. The majority of roofing contractors are going to send out Slick Rick! In reality, a good roofing contractor wants/needs to give you a fair estimate. The roofing industry is very competitive, and the roofer you just called knows this first hand. If the roofer gives you a rough ballpark number over the phone, without seeing your roof, his price is either going to be too high or too low. Either way, the roofer loses because one of his competitors will give you an estimate after seeing your roof, and that estimate will be much more compelling than the ballpark price you received over the phone.

What is a roofing contractor looking for to give a roof estimate? The roofer needs to see several different sections of the roof. After an experienced roofer has inspected your roof, he should be able to answer the following questions.

  1. How many roof layers?
  2. How steep is the roof?
  3. How many stories is the roof?
  4. Is there easy access on and off the roof?
  5. Can any of the decking (plywood) be reused?
  6. Is there enough roof ventilation?

Once he has answered those six questions, the roofing contractor will need different measurements on your roof for the various components. A new roof is broken down into five different categories.


  1. Underlayment Paper
  2. Synthetic Underlayment
  3. Ice/Water Shield
  4. Valley Metal


  1. Gutter Apron
  2. Drip Edge
  3. Step Flashing
  4. Wall Flashing
  5. Chimney Flashing
  6. Skylight Flashing
  7. Pipe Collars


  1. Roofing Shingles
  2. Starter Strip Shingles
  3. Ridge Cap Shingles


  1. Box Vents
  2. Ridge Vent
  3. Turbines
  4. Power Vent
  5. Soffit (Intake) Vents


  1. Satellite Dishes
  2. V. Antennas
  3. Skylights
  4. Zinc Strips
  5. Heat Tape

Once the roofing contractor has all of the different measurements collected, he still cannot give you a proper roof estimate. I know what you are thinking “Are you serious?” Unfortunately, I am serious. Why? A roof comes with different types of shingle manufacturer’s warranties. So depending on how much out of pocket expense you might have down the road, the roofing contractor needs to know so he can give you the roof you desire. If you choose to have the shingle manufacturer’s warranty cover your contractor’s workmanship for the next 25 years, the roofing contractor will need to use different products. By using these various products that the shingle manufacturer requires, you can get a warranty that is top-notch in the industry. Not every roofing contractor can give you a roof system with that type of warranty. The roofing contractor needs to be a certified installer.

Next time your roof needs an estimate, be sure you have an experienced, licensed, professional roofing contractor give you a proper roof estimate. The most important question to ask the roofer on the phone is not how much a new roof costs, but instead ask, “Are you going to send out an unlicensed, “Slick Rick” roofing contractor to my home?”

Roof Pros Roofing is a fully licensed roofing contractor with a proven track record of success in locations such as Fresno, CA and Madera, CA. Give us a call at 559-408-6506 or click here to schedule a free estimate.


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