Should I be paying for starter individually?

I have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer to… Does anyone else pay extra for starter? I’ve had a couple sub contractor demand $5-$10 per SQ for starter? I’ve never heard of that in the 5 years I’ve been in roofing but to me I still feel new and like I have a lot to learn. So I’m reaching out for a definitive answer… Should I be paying for starter or is that included in most people’s work as a general rule?

That is your call. You are the owner right? Set your pay scale and live by it. I only use employees and they piecework composition. Starter and designer ridge is paid 2 bundles/boxes as a square. You should find a scale that is fair to you and the sub and they can take or leave it.

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Yes my husband and I started a roofing company last year. He has been in roofing on the sales side for 15 years and I worked as the office manager for other companies for 5 years. Neither of us ever did the financial side. I want to take care of our subs and pay them fairly. So, Thank you! I appreciate the clarity!

We pay the same per square price for all shingles, field, cap and starter. Starter doesn’t install itself.


A bundle is a bundle is a bundle.
A roof is not just the field shingles.
It is the starter and cap shingles too.
Of course the men get paid for every bundle
Unless they are hourly or salary.

I just hate it when i ask someone how many squares the roof is, and they only tell me how many field shingles.


So do we say 27sq 1sq starter? I’m new to the paying side of this that’s why I’m asking. I just want to be fair to my guys.

I get the regular square price, 3 bundles starter is considered a square for billing. If I have to install it, I’m getting paid.

Y’all mistake me. I am in no way trying to get out of paying my guys fair price. As I stated above I’ve never been on the pay side of the business so I wanted to make sure I was paying them fairly but not getting taken advantage of because I’m new to this side. There is absolutely no need to be presumptuous and assume I’m trying to screw my subs. I just want to make informed decisions and I thought this would be a great place to get the answers I needed to pay my subs correctly but so far I’ve gotten one response that was informative and respectful. So thank you for making this a not so great experience in wanting to make sure I was doing the right thing and paying fairly.

And furthermore, I have visited quite a few posts and there have been many less than tactful people on there. Some questions have deserved the attitude most have not. If you are offering an opinion to HELP someone see the error of their ways maybe try doing it in a way people will actually listen to you. Because the majority of y’all seem like know it all jerks who want to flaunt their superiority rather than help someone to make fair decisions on every aspect of their work. If you are here to troll and not help then you need to move to Facebook posts and leave the adults to the big boy sites. Thank you for all your input, I will adjust my pay to reflect the proper way to pay by adding starter to the itemizing. Have a great weekend.

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You are WAY too sensitive to be asking questions here if you think people were disrespecting you. I didn’t see a single post indicating that and thought respectable roofers were just answering your question in a clinical manner. I would have thought you would thank them for the information but you totally misread what these guys were trying to tell you. You need to adjust your sensitivity meter and you may have success in this business. You casted off a bunch of good information because you had your feelings hurt. Will not take you far.


You were the one I thought was respectful. I took all the advice given and adjusted accordingly. I only said that they weren’t respectful in the way they acted. It didn’t hurt my feelings. I did as they said just didn’t think people should assume I was trying to cheat my subs. But it’s ok. I got the information I needed and fixed my pay scale and that’s all I needed. I’m pretty successful considering we already make money and have only been in business since August 2019. I was just raised to think before I speak and consider how I word things to other people. Anyway have a good night!

I didn’t think they were disrespectful, they were just speaking as people who have been , and in some cases still are, installers. They weren’t directing anything towards you, more the people who they have dealt with through the decades. These are people you can learn from and increase your earning potential but sometimes you may have to have thick skin to gain those rewards.


never herd of someone charging you for starter strip cause its part of the roofing package. Its half of a shingle and you use the other half on the ridge anyways. If someone is charging for starter strip then they are trying to get more money out of you in my eyes.

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And what is wrong with subs and employees “getting” more money? I thought it was actually a man doing a hard job and EARNING more money in the most honest way, by pieceworking. If it’s material and it is being installed it should be paid for but ultimately it is the employer/GC who should set the terms and installers can decide whether they want to work for them or not. By the way, I’m an employer and I pay for everything and I don’t split my starter for ridge either.

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You charge the homeowner for the material you install.
So you can pay the roofer for the material they install.
Know what you install and charge appropriately.

Pay your men fairly.
It is the right thing to do.
A bundle is a bundle is a bundle
And they all should pay the same.

I hadn’t either but again I had never been on the paying side of the business so I never dealt with paying the subs I did all scheduling and ordering materials. I just wanted to be fair to my subs. I wasn’t trying to get out of anything which I feel is how everyone else is taking this. I asked for advice so I could pay properly.

Again, I’m not trying to be unfair. Why else would I go on a forum asking for guidance if I had planned to screw over my subs? I asked to make sure I was paying them fairly. I have NOT ever paid a sub before owning my own company. Before I worked in the office scheduling and doing paperwork. I know what the insurance pays but in this instance the insurance isn’t even paying for the dump fees so I wanted to be sure I paid them correctly. I am still covering dump costs even though its coming out of my pocket because it is my job. I just wanted to be successful at the business and fair to my guys.

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We don’t split ridge and starter. We order material based off what needs to be done. That is why I understand paying for each piece. Just wanted to make sure I was doing it right.

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nothing is wrong with it at all been doing this for 26 years and never heard of that. When i order the square for the house i use half of the shingle for starter strip using a entire shingle is stupid and doesn’t need to been done when you can just cut a arc in half and use the other half on the peak. Wait let me guess you don’t try to save the customers on material? What i am saying is if you are installing shingles you don’t charge more for starter strip its part of the roof it’s a shingle nothing different. It’s not drip edge nor felt or ice&water or flashing its a shingle. I understand maybe adding a extra bundle but that is all you need tops for any residential roof.

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the ridge gets a top coarse on it so why wouldn’t you cut a arc in half and use it for your top ridge rather than cutting a new shingle up. If you got the money to burn then so be it. A shingle is a shingle regardless don’t care what type it is you are paying for shingles to be installed and starter strip is a shingle. This is my opinion and as a GC my subs will not get paid any extra for laying starter strip bottom line.

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That is how I thought it was done but I’ve been told I was doing it wrong and lost a few subs because of it. That is why I figured I’d come on here and ask if I was wrong. I don’t want to short anyone. Not the way I was raised. I just want to be fair. I know tearing off and putting on a new roof isn’t easy. It’s hot and it is hard work. I don’t mind paying them fairly by any means, I just didn’t want to be taken advantage of because I didn’t know any better either.