Are you still ‘guesstimating’ based on dollars per square?

There is so much ‘tech’ being used in the roofing industry these days that many people could be easily convinced that they have reached the pinnacle of technology available, and they are getting the very best results that they can get – and they would be wrong. Very wrong, indeed.

Our research has shown that the vast majority of roofing enterprises, all around the world are quoting their materials based on dollars per square (square metres or ‘squares’ – doesn’t matter) and every one of these is leaving money on the table. The most unfortunate aspect of this is that this often results in many a good job lost, or the customer paying way over what would be a fair price or the roofer is throwing half the profit margin into landfill.

Why accuracy matters more than dollars per square

The primary reason for AppliCad taking the approach to creating accurate quotations the way we do, is that when we’re done, we know the answer is correct, the supplier orders have everything that the job needs, the customer is paying a fair price and the roofer is making a decent profit to enable them to stay in business. This mutual benefit scenario is the way it should be and can be if you do the job the best possible way – create an accurate 3D model, check that it is correct, simulate the application of the roofing materials (all of them) and develop the correct price – labour, materials and margin.

The key step is the simulation of application of the materials to our model. In doing this, we account for the complexities built into the roof structure, a process that cannot be accurately achieved any other way.

Let’s take an example using concrete tiles and another using metal panels.

A gable to gable roof (the brown roof) with exactly the same area as a somewhat random split level roof with a bunch of corners around the perimeter” (the blue roof).

Gable roof vs split level roof digital 3D model

Both these jobs are notionally the same, if you do your costing $/sq they have exactly the same area.  However, that method doesn’t account for the complexity of the blue roof so you add a “waste factor”.  How is that “waste factor” calculated – well, let’s be honest, it is a guess!  An experienced guess maybe, but a guess nonetheless.

When we calculate the quantities based on the simulation of the application then we have effectively laid the roof.  Contrary to the dollars per square method, we know exactly what we need, and we control the so-called waste to numbers that makes sense – an extra panel in case the guys damage one or cut the wrong angle; or a bunch of tiles that gets broken in transit, etc.  These adjustments are reasonable and to be expected, but first we must start with real numbers.  And, as can be seen from the actual results below, the real results are quite dramatically different.

Gable roof panel lengths in AppliCad Roof Wizard

The total length of coil required to fabricate the panels for the gable roof, compared with the length of coil required to fabricate the split-level roof.

Split level roof panel lengths

What about tile roofs and dollars per square?

A similar calculation for tiles, which is the same process for shingles, shakes or even flattened beer cans, comparing our gable roof with the split-level roof. In this example, we are using a tile profile where the head lap can be adjusted slightly so the software optimizes the result to suit, providing the best result that can be conveyed to the installers in your report.

Tile coursing tally gable roof AppliCad Roof Wizard
Tile coursing tally split level roof AppliCad Roof Wizard

Summarised in table form:

Roof TypeActual Roof AreaTiles
per Course

The difference between the two roof shapes is huge and highlights the potential risks of using “waste factors” to figure your materials, and hence control costs.  The waste factor approach doesn’t cut it if you are running a professional operation and want the best result for your business and your customers. 

Take control.

If you want to learn more about the better way to control your quoting processes for all the materials that go into a roofing project, check out the AppliCad Roof Wizard software before your current methods cost you any more.

Ray Smith

AppliCad Software

Are you still ‘guesstimating’ based on dollars per square?

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