By now you have been privileged to receive an e-mailbox (or two) full of price increase notices. It seems the price of asphalt roofing is on the rise yet again. Question is: “Do you believe it?”

By now you have been privileged to receive an e-mailbox (or two) full of price increase notices. It seems the price of asphalt roofing is on the rise yet again. Question is: “Do you believe it?”

The Kabuki dance we go through on asphalt shingle price increases in this industry always makes me a little crazy. But I have never been in the position of having to forecast asphalt requirements or set production schedules. I imagine the art of setting up an asphalt shingle plant to be in the perfect position in terms of raw and finished inventory to match up with the (often fickle) needs of the marketplace is nerve-wracking. But so is trying to price a roofing job when dealing with two and three price-increase announcements and not knowing which one (if any) will stick.

What the hell… I have to write something: Here’s what I think about the latest round of price increases. I think the price of asphalt roofing depends on things we can all keep an eye on and a few that are a little more difficult. Either way I think contractors should be wary of lofting prices out without pretty tight restrictions on time.

Things we can keep an eye on include the price of diesel fuel. Asphalt roofing and the raw components that make them are all heavy and relatively inexpensive by the pound. This makes the transportation piece of the price fairly significant. Fuel prices are going up (read the other day that diesel is 99 cents higher than it was one year ago) and there are predictions are for more increases.

Significant roof damage from storms will keep the supply/demand equation on the side of higher delivered roofing prices. In the old days this kind of thing would have more of a regional impact. But these days with a smaller number of manufacturers and asphalt roofing plants, significant storm activity can impact pricing on virtually a national basis.

Things that are a little more difficult to predict are these dang futures markets and even building activity in other parts of the world. Sure there are experts (those guys who have to worry about how much raw and finished goods to keep in their shingle plants) who keep an eye on all of these metrics, but you won’t be able to keep up with that information from conventional sources.

So to keep an eye on other things that might impact the price of roofing, I suggest staying in touch with trusted shingle manufacturers’ representatives. May seem a little like the fox guarding the henhouse, but they should have insights that are otherwise unattainable. And what good would it do them to lie to you? It is pretty much speculation anyway. A “trusted” rep is one you are comfortable sharing the kind of details on your business that they need to develop good information on the market.

My bet for now is that shingle prices are on the way up. Of course, this is “subject to change without notice” and this speculation is subject to terms and conditions prevailing at the “time of shipment.”