We have surveyed actual roofing and exterior remodeling companies in many parts of the US, as well as tapped into the actual data collected by the Remodeling mag, which surveys many top remodeling contractors nationwide. Our research shows that most contractors will price their asphalt shingles roof replacement services at $4.00 to to $7.00 per square foot or $400 to $700 per square (100 square feet). To your point, though, we definitely agree that charging $750 per square is excessive, but that’s what actually happens in some areas; think San Francisco, Washington DC, and other places with exuberant costs of living and hence doing business. The location, obviously plays a major role, and when all is said and done, replacement contractors in expensive areas have to pay an arm and a leg for their workers’ comp. liability insurance, and whatever other overhead costs they may have to cover as part of their day-to-day operations; sales, office expenses, standing by the warranty, etc.
As far as the bottom-line price for a job is concerned, many homeowners would rather pay a bit more for a quality product and exceptional labor/service rather than try to find the cheapest guy in town. We find that the “real world” prices pretty much reflect that at the end of the day, most people ultimately care about the product and workmanship quality and dealing with a company that will do the job the right way from start to finish. Based on my experience in the industry and many conversations with homeowners, people are happy to pay more for the overall higher quality of work and ultimately their peace of mind. Sure, getting a great deal is great, but only as long as the crew doing the job is not cutting any corners in order to make the ends meet, which is often the case with companies working on razor-thin margins i.e. under-bidding their jobs and competing on price alone.
Also, as a homeowner, I have to understand that I may be held liable for anything that happens on my property during the installation. Therefore, I’d rather pay more for a quality product and trusted service. I want to deal with a company that employs a well-trained crew and provides workers’ comp. for their installers. — There are way too many contractors that run a shady operation, employing illegal workers with no rights and no workers compensation. Those are the companies that often tend to cut corners, do sloppy work, have low safety standards, and are no where to be found when the warranty claims start coming in.
It’s who you hire first, which should be the major point of consideration. The price you pay for the job is just as important, of course. I’d encourage any homeowner to focus on finding an honest and conscientious company so they can do the installation right the first time. — This may well involve having the discipline and willingness to do some necessary, and often tedious work, such as replacing missing/rotten pieces of wood in the deck, and treating homeowner’s property with dignity and respect in all phases from tear-off/work/clean-up, even when no one is watching — incidentally, this is exactly where many fly-by-night roofers will cut corners.