Types of Roofers: Which One is Right for Your Needs?

There are essentially 4 roofers types in the roofing industry. Let's explore each with their pros and cons to help you choose the ideal one for your project.
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Reviewed by JC Sanjuan — General and roofing contractor with over a decade of experience in residential and commercial construction. He specializes in project management, quality workmanship, client satisfaction, and solving roofing challenges.

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According to IBIS World, there were approximately 79,139 roofing contractor businesses in the US as of 2023. Given this vast number of roofing businesses, homeowners often face the question: which type of roofer should I hire?

This variety means homeowners have many options, but it also requires making an informed choice to ensure their roofing needs are met successfully.

There are essentially 4 types of roofers that are very common in the roofing industry. These are:

Small businesses – these are your local, often family-owned roofing companies. They might be smaller in size but can offer personalized service and attention to detail.
 
Full-service roofers – these companies handle everything from repairs to installations. They’re like a one-stop shop for all your roofing needs, which can be convenient.
 
Sales roofers – these roofers are typically focused on sales and may subcontract the actual work to other companies. They’re often good at selling, but the quality of work can vary depending on who they hire.
 
Storm chasers – these are the roofers who pop up after a big storm, looking to capitalize on the increased demand for repairs. They might offer quick service, but their reliability and quality can be questionable.

When it comes to choosing the right roofer for your needs, it all boils down to understanding what each type brings to the table and what you’re comfortable with.

  • What type of roofing project do you have? Do you need extensive repairs, a new installation, or just some maintenance?
  • Are you looking for a more personalized service from a local business, or are you okay with a larger company handling everything?
  • What’s your budget like? Different types of roofers may have different pricing structures.
  • How soon do you need the project completed? Some roofers might be able to start right away, while others might have longer wait times.

Let’s go explore further each type of roofer including pros and cons.

Small Business Roofers

Small roofing businesses are usually run by one or two people, and they might have a secretary along with one or two crews. Their gross revenue often ranges between $1–2 million a year. With low overhead and profit margins, these companies usually have limited options for customers and less wiggle room for price negotiation.

Working with them

When you decide to work with a small business roofer, you often get direct interaction with the owner. This interaction can provide valuable insights into the company’s values and capabilities. However, because owners are often involved on-site, their availability for customer support can be limited. Also, the absence of a dedicated project manager might require you to take a more active role in managing your project. These businesses usually can’t handle many projects at once, which might affect how quickly they can start working on yours.

Pros

There are many advantages to working with small business roofers. Generally, you might find lower prices due to their lower overhead costs. You also have the opportunity to work directly with the company owner, which can lead to a more personal service experience. Additionally, there might be more flexibility in how the work is done, which can be beneficial if you have specific needs or constraints.

Cons

However, there are downsides to consider. The potential lack of a dedicated service department can mean slower customer support. Limited crew availability might lead to scheduling delays, and you might need to be more involved in the project’s management. Lastly, there’s a risk that the customer-contractor relationship could become strained if expectations are not managed properly or if there are communication issues.

Full-Service Roofers

Full-service roofers provide a wide array of roofing services designed to cover every possible need you might have, from dealing with insurance claims and performing roof repairs to conducting inspections for real estate transactions. Their main aim is to offer services that are not only affordable but also easily accessible, ensuring that no matter the complexity or nature of your roofing project, they have the resources and expertise to deliver high-quality service. The overarching goal of full-service roofers is to create a positive and seamless customer experience throughout the duration of your project.

What sets them apart

A standout feature of full-service roofing companies is their commitment to making the process as convenient as possible for their clients. For example, the ability to schedule appointments online simplifies the initial stages of your roofing project. Once the project is underway, these companies enhance the customer experience by providing dedicated on-site support. This means having someone available throughout the day specifically to address your questions and help manage communication with the roofing crew. Moreover, a project manager or crew chief is typically assigned to ensure that the project proceeds smoothly from start to finish, aiming for your complete satisfaction with the final outcome.

It’s worth noting, though, that despite this strong orientation towards service, the operational focus for the roofing crew remains on completing the work efficiently and effectively. As such, while they are dedicated to providing excellent customer service, extended discussions during the project may be limited. The crew’s priority is to complete the roofing work with minimal disruption and within the agreed timeline, ensuring quality results without compromising on productivity.

Pros

  • Availability of multiple crews: They often have the resources to deploy multiple crews, making scheduling and timely completion of projects easier.
  • Competitive and flexible pricing: While not the cheapest option, they tend to offer competitive pricing and are flexible enough to work within your budget.
  • Wide selection of materials: Access to a variety of materials allows you to choose options that best fit your budget and preferences.
  • Versatility: Capable of handling both large and small projects, including those requiring insurance claims.
  • Broader service area: Many have multiple offices, allowing them to cover larger geographical areas.
  • Long-term warranties and quality: They offer extended warranties and high-quality roofing options.
  • Customer service and relationships: There’s a strong focus on customer service and building long-term relationships with clients.

Cons

  • Cost: They might not be the cheapest choice around because they offer such thorough services.
  • Material quality: They might not be willing to compromise on material quality to lower costs or match lower bids from competitors.

Sales Roofers

Sales roofers are the big fish in the roofing world. They’re the larger companies that either focus on selling retail roofing services or specialize in chasing storms to repair damage caused by severe weather. Usually, they stick to one or the other, not both.

How they work

These companies are all about their sales force. They’ve got a group of salespeople ready to get your roof replacement scheduled ASAP. But here’s the catch: you’ve gotta sit through a formal sales pitch before you can sign on the dotted line. And they insist that anyone who’s a decision-maker in your household be there for it. These pitches aren’t quick; they can last anywhere from two to four hours, all designed to make you feel like you’re getting a good deal.

While they offer a wide variety of options, they tend to show you the most expensive ones first. So, if you’re not looking to spend a ton, you’ll need to be ready to talk them down to something more in your budget. Also, a word of caution: if you start asking tough questions and the sales rep seems offended, that’s a big red flag.

Main go-to person

With these companies, the salesperson is your go-to for everything until the job is done. They’re there to help you navigate through all the choices and answer any questions.

Watch-out for hidden costs

Some of these companies offer zero-interest financing, which might sound great but watch out for hidden costs.

Different types of sales roofers

Retail sales roofers: These big companies will get the job done but don’t expect them to roll out the red carpet for you. Customer experience isn’t their forte. They do regular roof replacements and usually have a customer service department, but don’t count on them for insurance work—they prefer jobs where they can charge top dollar.

Storm chaser sales roofers: These type of business are all about following the storms. Their model revolves around dealing with insurance claims from start to finish.

Pros

  • You’ll get a thorough sales presentation, which is a good time to ask all your questions.
  • Being a big company means they’re likely to fulfill their contracts.
  • A wide range of material options means more flexibility in pricing.
  • They’ve got the manpower to start your project sooner rather than later.

Cons

  • Those sales pitches can be a marathon, and it can feel like too much.
  • They’re usually on the pricier side.
  • The first price you hear? Probably the highest. Be ready to negotiate.
  • They might pressure you to make a quick decision with “today only” pricing tactics.

Storm Chasers

Storm chasers are roofing contractors who specialize in responding to areas recently hit by severe weather events like tornadoes, hurricanes, or hail storms. They actively seek out neighborhoods that have suffered significant damage to offer their services, often knocking on doors to propose checking for roof damage.

What storm chasers do

Their primary focus is on insurance claims, aiming to assist homeowners in navigating the insurance process to cover repair costs. This approach is particularly appealing in areas where the need for roofing repairs is widespread, as they can provide a seemingly timely solution for affected homeowners.

Financial considerations

Typically, storm chasers are compensated directly from the proceeds of homeowners’ insurance claims. However, it’s important to note that the insurance payout may not always fully cover the cost of a complete roof replacement. This means homeowners might need to explore additional financing options to cover any shortfall.

Pros

  • Expertise with insurance: Storm chasers have significant experience dealing with insurance companies and can help streamline the claim process.
  • Efficiency: They often have multiple crews in the area, allowing for quicker service delivery.

Cons

  • Post-service availability: Once the initial repair work is completed and the crews move on to the next storm-hit area, getting follow-up service can be challenging.
  • Quality and warranty concerns: There’s a tendency for storm chasers to offer lower warranties and possibly use cheaper materials, which might not provide the long-term durability homeowners expect.
  • Limited options: Homeowners may find their choices in materials and repair options to be more restricted compared to what local, established roofing companies might offer.

Bottom Line

Choosing the right roofer for your project involves weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of roofing company. As we’ve discussed, whether it’s full-service roofers, sales roofers, or storm chasers, each comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The best choice for you depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the nature of your roofing project.

If you need help hiring a roofing company contact us to get the best roofer for your needs.

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