Most think that choosing a commercial roofing contractor that’s close to your business is the most cost-effective.
The closer the contractor is, the less overhead that will be included in the overall job cost.
You would think the answer is “Of course, I would. If a contractor is close, that will bring the overall cost of the job down.”
You may think “I’m not paying for another roofing contractor’s gas and time just to get to my roof”.
This is called “overhead”. Overhead refers to those expenses associated with running a business that can’t be linked to creating or producing a product or service.
But what if I told you that there were ways to justify paying that cost?
Here’s a quick example.
Would you drive 15 miles away to get a $1,000 car? Sure.
Would you drive 150 miles away to get that same car? Probably not.
But what if your time and gas for traveling 150 miles away were justified with benefits, such as:
- The car comes with a complete Carfax report
- The seller had a life-time record of maintenance performed on this car
- The Better Business Bureau certified the dealership
- The dealership has won numerous awards related to used car sales
The same type of analysis can be used in commercial roofing.
Since 1979, West Roofing Systems, with locations in Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama, has completed commercial roofing projects as far away as Iowa, Florida, New York, and even Iraq!
So why did those building owners choose West Roofing Systems if there were other contractors closer?
In this article, we’ll explain how much overhead goes into a commercial roofing project. We’ll also explain how the larger your roof is, the more it makes sense to widen the distance away your roofing contractor can be located at.
Let’s get started.
How much is the overhead cost on a commercial roofing project?
The amount of overhead on a commercial roofing project can be between 0.001%-25%.
The total cost of the roofing project and how far away the project is from the roofing contractor, vary the amount of overhead.
Let’s go through a quick example.
Say your commercial roof is 2,000 sq. ft. The average cost to replace your roof is $5 per sq. ft. Without any overhead, your project is going to cost around $10,000.
$10,500 might be the quote you’ll receive from a contractor 2 miles away. $12,000 might be the quote you receive from a contractor that’s 100 miles away.
$1,500 is the difference in overhead costs, which is 15% of the total cost ($10,000) of the job.
In this scenario, the difference in overhead cost is a large percentage of the total job cost because the total job cost is small.
Let’s go through another example.
Say your commercial roof is 50,000 sq. ft. The average cost to replace your roof is $5 per sq. ft. Without any overhead, your project is going to cost around $250,000.
$255,000 might be the quote you’ll receive from a contractor 2 miles away. $260,000 might be the quote you receive from a contractor that’s 100 miles away.
$5,000 is the difference in overhead costs, which is 2% of the total cost ($250,000) of the job.
In this scenario, the difference in overhead cost is a small percentage of the total job cost because the total job cost is large.
Long story short – the larger the project, the wider you can expand to find the right roofing contractor.
What factors justify a good commercial roofing contractor?
Remember the used car example in the beginning?
If the car dealership had a Carfax report, maintenance records, and awards for being a good used car dealership, that it would be worth driving a long distance to buy a vehicle from them versus an untrusted, local used car lot.
What about commercial roofing?
What benefits can one commercial roofing contractor have over another?
A roofing contractor can offer roofing options that benefit the building owner.
Some contractors only offer to remove the entire roof and replace it.
Some can restore the roof.
Some can offer a repair.
The best question to ask now is…why.
Why can I get away with only repairing the roof?
Why is it cost-effective to rip the entire roof off and start over?
The contractor that justifies their answers is more than likely the one worth going to…no matter where they are located at.
A roofing contractor has a list of roofs they have taken care of for decades
Imagine if a car dealership could give you a list of 10 people who have bought a used car from them, and allowed you to ask them how their car is still running today?
Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Unfortunately, car dealerships don’t give out their client’s information.
But in commercial roofing, this is possible.
A roofing contractor is more than happy to give you a list of properties where they’ve done roofing projects just like yours.
For example, if you’re thinking about installing spray foam over a TPO roof, a roofing contractor can give you a list of 10 clients who have had that work done.
Questions you can ask those property owners are:
- Have any leaks occurred?
- Have any major services or repairs been made?
- Have you recognized any energy savings?
A new roof is a big investment.
A roofing contractor that’s willing to give a property owner a list of other property owners who’ve been in similar situations should help relieve some skepticism…if there is any.
A roofing contractor that’s achieved certifications and awards
Quick question: If you were going to invest $100,000 in a new roofing system, would you spend $100,000 with a contractor with zero awards, or $105,000 with a contractor with many awards?
You’d probably pick the contractor with multiple awards because the cost difference is small when compared to the overall project cost.
The extra cost is justified because having a $100,000 job done wrong can hurt your business financially.
We’ve heard stories of companies saving a few pennies on the dollar. In three years when the roof isn’t performing how it should, that contractor is impossible to get a hold of, could be out of business, and other scenarios can happen that aren’t favorable to the building owner.
Don’t put yourself in this situation.
If you go with a contractor who’s won industry awards, you’ll have more confidence your roofing project was installed professionally.
NOTE: West Roofing Systems knows about the certifications in Spray Polyurethane Foam. For example, to become an SPFA (Spray Polyurethane Foam Association) certified master installer, you need 500,000 square feet of spray foam application experience. There are many other certifications related to spray foam, but if you’re looking into a single-ply, metal, or built-up roofing systems, we aren’t aware of their industry certifications.
Should you always choose the local roofing contractor?
As a building owner, your roof is very important.
It’s expensive to repair, restore, or replace. It can interrupt business operations if there’s leaking. There could be missed opportunities for energy savings if your roof is leaking or doesn’t have a good R-value.
You can put your business in bad financial situations if you only choose the local contractor.
In today’s article, you learned:
- Overhead is a minimal increase to the overall project cost
- The larger the project cost, the less overhead will factor into that cost
- It will damage your business financially if you choose a bad contractor
- How to identify a good commercial roofing contractor
At West Roofing Systems, we travel all over the United States to install commercial roofs. The reason is that building owners feel confident in our portfolio, experience, and awards/certifications in the spray foam industry.
What should you read next?
Besides making the mistake of only choosing a local roofing contractor because of overhead, what other mistakes can a building owner make?