The simple truth is that residential roofing is a messed up retarded business.
There are a couple obvious reasons for this and some that are a bit more subtle.
The biggest reason is the relatively low cost of entry into this business.
Along with the low cost of entry is a perception that it is mostly simpletons work.
This leads to all sorts of unqualified people thinking that they can buy some tools and they are now a roofer.
When you get these people that don't really know what they are doing (and it is surprisingly a majority of them it seems) bidding jobs they miss a lot of stuff and simply don't know how to properly deal with other issues.
Properly bidding a job takes skill, knowledge, & experience, something many people who call themselves roofers seem to lack.
Many residential roofers sell based on price alone, this hurts everybody involved.
Now we have a scenario with too many unqualified people trying to do what is viewed as low skilled brainless work.
These unqualified "roofers" go around giving bids that are too low to sustain a business and since there are a lot of dumbasses in this business these low prices get looked upon as the norm or what is known as the "going rate".
Well it is the going out of business rate and real roofers with real businesses have to go up against this every day.
Unfortunately many markets have more unqualified "roofers" than qualified ones.
This going out of business rate is so prevalent that many homeowners are shocked when they get a realistic bid to do quality work.
A realistic bid from a legit company will frequently be 2x as much as others.
When people get a realistic bid many feel as though they are being gouged because they are comparing it to a bid from someone who doesn't really know what they are doing.
From a labor aspect roofing is pretty simple most of the time, for a person of average intelligence.
But 1/2 of the people you meet are below average intelligence, by definition...
Many roofing companies have all of their procedures in place based on high production, do the whole roof in 1 day, or 2 if it is large.
This may sound impressive and it certainly looks impressive when you see a good crew go to work, they get a lot done fast.
The problem with this is that in my experience it simply is not possible to do roofs this quickly and still do it according to manufacturer specs.
To get around this experienced roofers have developed many proven procedures to make the roof last at least 2-5 yrs, this gets them past their legal requirements to stand by their work.
Many roofs will start to leak or blow off after 5 yrs, because they weren't put on correctly.
The thing is that a incorrectly installed roof can look identical to a correctly installed roof.
The customer is happy because they think they got a good roof, well you don't really know how good your roof is until it is on for a little while.
Like I said almost all roofing companies can put on a roof that is problem free for 2-5 yrs.
Your roof should last at least 20 yrs, easily.
Another thing is that good roofers will use good material, good material costs more, it just does.
Homeowners don't know the difference between good material and worthless crap, they aren't expected to.
Roofers that are selling based on their low low price use the cheapest material available, and they install it as quickly as possible.
This leads to a bunch of bad roofs all over the city.
Part of this is the customers fault for having unrealistic expectations and not doing their homework.
The unrealistic expectation comes in the form of price shopping.
We have been taught to shop around for bargains, there is nothing wrong with this.
When you are buying a roof, even though they may use exactly the same material the end product will be slightly different from one roofer to the next.
This is not like buying a tv where you can directly compare one product to an exact same model, many people don't seem to understand this very simple concept.
A good illustration of this is the exposed fastener metal roofs that have become so popular lately.
Well lately people have been thinking that they want a metal roof.
To a homeowner a metal roof is a metal roof, whats the big deal.
Well a real metal roof designed for a climate controlled structure is expensive, all of them are expensive.
To put it another way, a metal roof worth having is expensive, it is out of most peoples budget realistically and this is why they haven't been very popular for residential roofing.
Metal roofing is a commercial product.
Well, these exposed fastener metal roofs are cheap, about the same as shingles which is believe it or not, pretty cheap.
These exposed fastener metal roofs are not meant for residential use, they never were.
This doesn't stop unscrupulous roofers from selling them as metal residential roofing.
This is just what many homeowners want to hear, cheap metal roof.
Since they are pushing cheap many of these "metal" roofs are installed over the top of existing roofs, to save money...
Within 10 yrs many of these cheap metal roofs will look like crap from uneven fading and/or leaking from worn out screw holes.
The roofers pushing the cheap crap don't mention this aspect of these types of metal roofs.
The homeowner is happy because they think they got a good deal on a lifetime roof, well they didn't, they just screwed themselves.
The only person that will tell them that is some know it all roofer on the internet...
I could go on and on, most members here deal with what I am talking about daily.
People that actually install residential roofing material to manufacturer specs are extremely rare, many people simply aren't willing to pay what it costs to do things right because they think it is too much $ compared to others.