Good, Fast, Or Cheap Roofing

January 19, 2024

There’s an old saying that goes “Good, Fast, or Cheap – You Can Pick Two”. It’s become a standard mantra in industries from fast food, to automotive, to software design, and construction. It’s a common theory to purchases that if something is fast and cheap – it will lack in quality. If it is cheap and good- it won’t be fast. And if it is fast and good- it won’t be cheap. This seems to ring true in most cases. For instance; a cheeseburger at McDonald's is fast and cheap, but not necessarily the best burger you can buy. A cheese burger at Five Guys is good and cheap, but we oftentimes can’t expect it to be fast.  

We can take this example across most industries, in fact –many contractors even, maybe without noticing, fall into the “pick two category”. Roofing is no exception to this. We can come to expect that the“best”, most well-known roofers provide quality work, quickly – but we pay a premium for that service. Many of us are willing to pay a premium rate for peace of mind. A roof is an expensive investment, and it must be done correctly, in the long run – using a contractor that focuses on quality can save you – even if the upfront cost is higher.

Anyone who has received multiple estimates for roof projects knows – the range of cost can be dramatic, into the thousands of dollars in differences between contractors. This can make selecting a contractor exceptionally challenging. So, why are some roofing contractors so much more expensive than others? There are a plethora of reasons for this. The overhead cost of a contractor is one huge factor in the cost of their projects. Because roofing is so dangerous, injuries are more likely to occur, which can increase their workers' comp rate, which inflates the cost of projects. A contractor that does not keep overhead costs low, by scaling their business appropriately,can also experience an unaffordable overhead cost, which in turn inflates pricing. Every truck, sign, building, and advertisement is an overhead cost. The more, the higher the cost. Some contractors inflate their pricing in busy times when taking on another project adds stress to an already taxing situation. There is also the “guy in the truck” contractors who have no overhead, who can provide bids at extraordinarily low prices because they are not being regulated by the license board, or carrying the insurance that protects the homeowners. All of the above types of contractors almost always fall into the “pick two rule”.

However, there are exceptions to this “pick two rule”, while rare – they do exist. The solution is in the management of the company. Scale,organization, an emphasis on training, and safety – can help contractors keep their costs low, their employees efficient, and their jobs on schedule. Many contractors are taking educated guesses when providing estimates, this means on some projects they win- and some they lose when estimates are done this way,they are usually bid high to help mitigate the risk. However, an organized contractor knows exactly how much a project will cost, including the labor,overhead, and materials and can provide an estimate that is fair to both the homeowner and the contractor.

If a roofing contractor focuses heavily on providing quality roofing services, in a timely fashion, and strives to keep their costs low- and as a result- their pricing affordable, they can effectively provide Good, Fast AND Affordable roofing.