August 2016

How To Choose The Best Construction Company Name

Choosing The Best Construction Company Name

 When starting a new construction business, it can be frustrating trying to come up with a name for your new company.  Here are a few points to consider to help you choose the best name for your new construction company.

-Create a Business Plan for your new Construction Company:  Write down your short and long term goals.   A clear business plan detailing where you want your company to go in the future may help in deciding a business name.

-Choose a Business Structure:  Sole-proprietorships and Partnerships often are not considered legal entities, and may have less restrictions on name registration.  Structures such as LLC’s and Corporations will have more requirements.

-Choose a Specialty:  What type of construction will you specialize in?  If you are going to focus on renovations, then including words such as renew or restoration may be good to include in your business name.

-Reach a Broader Audience:  If you have a variety of skills, or are not sure which direction your business may go, you may not want to limit your business name to a specialty.   If you want to mainly do renovations, but are also interested in new construction, you may not want to limit yourself by having a business name that customers will only associate with renovations.

-Consider Your Target Audience:  What type of customer is your primary target?  If you are in an affluent area, you should consider a name that will attract the wealthier clientele.  In this case you would stick with a strong general business name, such as using your own name, or using a name that indicates quality and prestige.  If you are in a lower income area, you may wish to choose a name that indicates value or affordability.

-Use Your Own Name:  Do you want your own name in the business name?  “Joseph Johnson Home Renovations”  “Walsh General Contracting”.  Using your own name adds a personal touch that may appeal to to choose a construction company name

-Use a Simple Name With A Catchy Slogan:  You may also choose a simpler business name and focus on a catchy slogan or tagline that will define your business.  “Quality Home Renovations”, “Sacramento’s Premier Home Builder” or some other phrase can be a tagline associated with your business.  While “John Smith Construction” may not sound too fancy, a tagline associated with your business name can give you a big boost.  You can see how having “John Smith Construction– Your Excavation Expert” on your business card, advertisement, or plastered on the side of your roofing vehicle may have a greater effect than just “John Smith Construction”.

-Choose a name near the front of the alphabet:  You may want to choose a name that would show up alphabetically near the front of the traditional phonebook.  Examples for this would be “ABC Home Builders” or “Apex Contracting”.

-Choose a name that easy to remember:  Using a short simple name that people can remember may be better than a long, difficult-to-spell name.

-Consider the future when choosing your name:  Make sure you are happy with your current name.  Changing it down the road could cost you financially by losing customers, and having to pay for rebranding.  If you think you might want to sell your company in the future, consider how your name would be received by potential  buyers.

-Make sure your business name is legal: After choosing your name, you will need to register with the proper institutions.  You should make sure the name you are choosing isn’t trademarked, or used by someone else in the area.  Registering your business name may not only be necessary on a local level such as with your city, but also with other government agencies for tax purposes.

-Choose a good website address to complement your business name:   While it would be ideal to have your business name as the actual web address (ex., it isn’t necessarily crucial.   You could even choose a web address that reflects your specialty such as “”.  The key with choosing a website name is to keep it easy to remember and easy to spell.  If your website is created properly, customers will have no problem finding you, no matter what the web address is. You can check for website name availability and a FREE domain with web hosting purchase here.

What Should I Charge For Roofing Jobs?

Pricing Your Work

A big question, usually coming from a roofing contractor just starting a new roofing business, or who wants to offer a new service is:  “What should I charge?”

The answer to that question will depend on a number of factors.  A few major factors when trying to decide how to set prices for your roof work are: Regional economy, the type of roofing service you are offering, your competition, material costs, and profit margin.

I have heard it said that if you sign up every job you give an estimate for, your prices are too low, if you are not signing up any jobs, your prices are too high.  That little bit of advice has helped me personally in setting my own prices.

Regional Economy

The economy in your region can affect how you price your work.  Just because you read online that roofers are charging $400.00/square to replace an asphalt shingle roof doesn’t mean you’ll be able charge that in your area.  You may be able to charge more or less depending on the current economic climate and the average income in your area.

Different Types of Roofing

I realize this may be obvious to most, but it needs to be said anyway.  Not all roofing applications are the same.  Therefore, you can’t price them equally.  Shingle installation costs will be different than slate or metal per square.  This doesn’t only go for materials costs, but also labor costs.  Some types of roofing, such as slate, is considered a specialty.  Besides the cost of slate per square being more than shingles, installation costs will also be more because of the time and expertise involved to install a slate roof properly.  Commercial roofing often has additional challenges and requirements, so the prices charged for a commercial job may be more than a residential job.


An important factor to investigate when deciding your pricing is what other contractors in your area are charging.  Don’t cherry-pick other roofing company prices you randomly find off the internet and try to use them as your own.  There is not a standard roofing price that will fit every job in every area.  If you are going to compare prices, make sure they are specific to your area.  You may be surprised to other local roofing companies are charging much more than what you were planning to charge.  Finding out what an established roofer is charging will give you a good starting point when setting your own prices.  I realize there are a lot of part-time, moonlighting roofers who will severely undercut their competitors.  I don’t have a problem with charging a little less in order to get a job, but you should at least be in the ballpark with other contractors, whether your price is slightly higher or lower.  Pricing too high may catch up with you eventually.  If homeowners have you do work, thinking they are getting a fair price, only to find out later they could have got the same job completed, with the same quality, at a much lower price, you may reap some negative word-of-mouth reviews.  If you are going to charge more than your competitors, make sure your materials, workmanship, and guarantees are superior to your competitors, so you can justify the higher price.

Materials Costs

The cost of materials can greatly affect your pricing structure.  If you choose to use high quality, high cost roofing materials, or materials that require technical expertise or additional time to install, make sure you increase your pricing to reflect that.  You MUST make sure your marketing and sales presentations highlight the reasons for your pricing.  When a potential customer is comparing your estimate to another contractor’s, they may be comparing apples to oranges.  You need to educate your customer as to the benefits of the products and techniques you are using, while contrasting that to methods often used by other roofers.  This will help soften the “sticker shock” affect when they find your pricing quite a bit higher than another estimate they received.   This advice goes for new installation as well as small roof loans

Make sure you shop around at various roofing supply houses to get the most competitive pricing.  It is often foolish to use big box home improvement stores to purchase all your roofing materials.  In my region, almost all roofing supply warehouses offer lower, sometimes much lower, pricing than the major home improvement chains.   They often also offer better quality materials.  I realize this is not always the case, so take some time to compare.

Keep in mind that materials costs can vary from region to region and even town to town.  In my area, the prices for asphalt shingles are $25/square cheaper in the city-based roofing supply companies than in the suburbs.  A local roofing supply chain even has a huge price difference between its own stores which are only 10 miles apart!  One is in the city, close to other roofing supply companies, while its suburban store, which is the only one in that area, charges much higher prices.  Competition is the factor in driving the prices down.  It pays to shop around.

Profit Margin

Another factor to consider is profit margin.  Sometimes, competition may be so tight, that you will wonder how you will make a profit.  This is where you may need to make some tough decisions about how to price your work.  Use some of the ideas mentioned above in the Materials Costs section to help justify charging higher prices than your competitors.  Remember that materials are not the only costs you have.  Vehicle maintenance and fuel costs,  liability insurance costs, health care, employees, equipment costs, and much more all influence the total costs of your job.  The materials costs are obvious, but these other costs are “unseen” in a way, as they are spread out over time, rather than job specific.  If I have a customer balk at a price, or the time it took to do a job, especially for a smaller repair, I will sometimes gently remind them of all the additional costs that are factored in besides the materials or the time it took to complete the job.

Pricing Models

There are two basic pricing models- A set price, and time and materials.  I use a set price (either per/square, per/piece, or per/job) for almost every job I do.  I like to give the homeowner an estimated total job cost, and I do my best to complete the job at the quoted price.  There are some types of jobs that cannot be priced that way, such as possible roof deck repair, or other potential additional work.  I may price that type of work as a $/per sheet of plywood, or similar type pricing.  I generally do not like to charge an hourly rate for a few reasons.

One, is that the rate per hour sometimes will look ridiculously high to the customer.  A $150 repair with minimal materials that takes a half hour appears to be $300/hour profit to some customers.  Of course, they don’t factor in all other miscellaneous costs to running a roofing business.  There is no way I am going to tell a customer my rate is $300/hour.  I would never get hired.  I evaluate a job and give the customer my price for completing the work.  I have hardly had any customer balk at a $150 roof repair charge, no matter how long it took.

Secondly, I don’t like to be tied to a clock.  I don’t want to be accused of taking a nap on the roof in order to ramp up my per hour payout.  On the flip side, I don’t want to be penalized for being able to do a job quickly and efficiently.  I have seen some painfully slow roofers, who will spend a whole day on a job that would take me just a few hours.  A per/hour rate may work out great for them, but not for me.  I would rather charge based on my expertise, than on the time it would take me to complete a job.

Lastly, I like being able to give the customer a reliable estimate.  With an hourly rate, the customer is at my mercy.  I could make up any reason to prolong the job in order to up the profits.  With a fixed price, I try to be confident that the estimate I give the homeowner is the price they will pay at the end of the job.  I realize there are exceptions to this, but for the most part I am able to hold to the price.

I understand many other tradesman do charge by an hourly rate for a number of good reasons.  For me, at least, I have had good success at avoiding the hourly rate model.

How I Price My Work

For slate and tile repair, I have a $ per/slate price that I charge.  I will adjust the price slightly higher or lower depending on the difficulty of the job.  For shingle installation, I use a $ per/square charge, that is adjusted based on the type of shingles used and other potential add-ons the customer may request.  For shingle and flat roof repairs, I don’t have a fixed rate, I basically evaluate the necessary repairs and set my pricing based on job difficulty, needed materials, and estimated time to complete the job.  The customer will get a set price, not a time and materials cost.

I don’t list prices on my website, and I try not to quote over the phone without seeing the job first.  There are many factors that will influence pricing, so be careful not to commit to a price before seeing the job in person.  I will give a ballpark figure over the phone, but I try to be careful not put a price in the potential customer’s mind only to have to change it when I get on site to see the job in person.

In the long run, you need to price your work according to what works best for your business, in your particular region, with the specific services you offer.

How To Start A Roof Cleaning Company

Starting A Roof Cleaning Business

Roof cleaning can be a great source of income, whether you are already a roofer, and are expanding your list of services, or someone looking to start a new roof cleaning business.  If you are already a roofer, your equipment purchases for a roof cleaning company will be much less. If you are starting from scratch, your startup costs will be much more.

Need help choosing a roof cleaning business name?: Roof Cleaning Business Name Ideas


Before registering your company, it would be wise to plan your way to a successful business.  Some points to consider are:

  • How great is the need for roof cleaning in my area?  This can be somewhat easy to find out by simply driving through neighborhoods and seeing the condition of roofs.  If you are already a contractor, you may have had multiple requests from customers for having their roof cleaned, indicating a need for the service to be offered.
  • How many companies are offering roof cleaning services in my area? Do some research to see what your competition would be if you started your own business.
  • What will my startup and operating costs be? Your startup and operating costs will largely depend on the methods of roof cleaning you will use.

Roof Cleaning Methods

There are 3 basics methods, although the first one mentioned is NOT recommended.

1. Using a high pressure power washer.

Yes, a pressure washer will certainly “clean” a roof.  It will also remove granules from an asphalt shingle roof, damaging it, and therefore decreasing the lifespan of the roof.  This method, while only requiring a pressure washer for equipment, and not requiring any chemicals, is NOT recommended.  Most customers requesting a roof cleaning are looking to enhance the look of their roof by removing the ugliness of stains and algae, not decrease the lifespan.

2. Using a chemical mix with low pressure application.

This method will use a power washer on low pressure to apply a chemical mix to the roof.  The mixture is often a combination of chlorine bleach and TSP (trisodium phosphate).  The mixture will dry, and then must be rinsed off.  This method may need to be repeated in order to remove stubborn stains.  Care must be taken as chemical run-off and over-spray can kill or damage plants and grass.

3. Using an eco-friendly algaecide with low pressure application.

This method applies a safe, organic algaecide using a power washer on low pressure.   Depending on which cleaning products you use, there may be special application methods along with application accessories you will need to purchase for your power washer in order to properly apply the product. This method is deemed safe for plant life, animals and humans.  The cost can be greater than other methods.

You will need to do your own research to decide which method is best for your business plan.

How To Register A Roof Cleaning Company 

To start a roof cleaning business, you first need to register it.  A roofing cleaning business can be profitable, but you must be legally registered as a business in your state before you clean your first roof.   Each state has specific guidelines you must follow in order to start a legal company and make money in that state.  Before you start a roof cleaning company in your state, or before trying to clean roofs in another state, make sure you are obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, and are properly registered for tax purposes.  The information in the links below will apply not only to an individual wishing to start a roof cleaning business, but also to someone want to start a gutter cleaning business, siding installation business, or other roofing-related businesses.

Below are links to US registration, UK, and Canada:

United States: Click on your state to find out how to start your roof cleaning business in that state.


New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

How to Start A Roof Cleaning Business in Canada

How to Start A Roof Cleaning Business in the United Kingdom

How to Register A Roof Cleaning Business In Texas


How to Register Your Roofing Business In Texas

Here are some steps you may have to take (not necessarily in order) to start your roof cleaning company in the state of Texas.   Before you go further, have you written a business plan?  Also, make sure you market your new roof cleaning business effectively after you register.
Getting Started- Here is a website that will help if you want to start a business in Texas: Start a Business In Texas

1. Select your business structure.

Sole-proprietor, LLC, Partnership, Corporation, etc.  Find out more here:

2. Register your roof cleaning business name.

Find out more about registering a fictitious name here:

If you need help selecting a name for your roofing business:  Choosing a Roofing Company Name

3.  Register your business.

You can register your business with the state of Texas here:

4. Open a Business Checking Account.

You will need to open a separate bank account for your roof cleaning business with your new business name.

5. Find out about taxes, hire an accountant.

As a business owner, you will need to apply for an EIN (Employee Identification Number).  More information about local and federal taxes here: and .

6. City License.

Check with your city government, as you may be required to obtain a license to operate as a roof cleaning business in a particular locale, whether you are a resident, or not.

7. Permits.

Depending on the locale, you may need to apply for permits before commencing roof cleaning jobs.

Equipment And Tools Needed For Roofing And Roof Repairs

The roofing equipment you will need for your new business will vary, depending on what type of roofing systems you will be installing, and what type of repairs you will be performing.  It is generally recommended to start with basic roofing tools, and then add specific equipment needed when new jobs require it.  I made the mistake early on in my business of buying a number of roofing related gadgets that I ended up never using.  It is much wiser to buy tools as you go, and let new jobs pay for them.  If you are sure of what type of roofing you will be doing, below is a basic list of tools and equipment you will need (this list is basic tools only- no materials).  The Roofer’s Helper’s personal tool recommendations are here.

Basic equipment and tools for any roofing job

– ladders, chicken ladder (roof ladder), tool belt, hammer, utility knife, tape measure, chalk line, flat pry bar, scratch awl/punch, gloves, safety equipment

Specific equipment for various roofing applications

shingle ripper for asphalt shingle repair
Shingle Ripper

Asphalt Shingles:

For installation- Hammer, tool belt, utility knife, tape measure, nail gun, hose, air compressor, ladder jacks, roof jacks, shingle remover (for tear-offs)

For repairs- hammer, shingle ripper (a long, thin pry bar could also work), pry bar


For installation and/or repairs on slate roofs: hammer (regular, or slate hammer), tool belt, tape measure,

slate cutter for slate repair
Slate Cutter

slate cutter, slate ripper, scratch awl/punch, ladder jacks, roof jacks, chicken ladder (roof ladder)

Slate Ripper for slate roof repair
Slate Ripper

Terracotta Tile:

For installation- hammer, tool belt, tape measure, wet saw or angle grinder with masonry blade, ladder jacks, roof jacks

For repairs- hammer, tool belt, tape measure, wet saw or angle grinder with masonry blade, slate ripper

EPDM Rubber:

For installation and repairs on rubber roofs: gloves, utility knife, tape measure, roller

Modified Bitumen:

Installation and repairs on torch-down and cold adhesive flat roofs: utility knife, tape measure, gloves, trowel, squeegee


Installation and repairs on metal roofs: hammer, tool belt, tape measure, metal brake (for certain jobs), snips

Using a Drone For Roof Inspections and Roofing Estimates

Drones have rapidly increased in popularity over past few years.  Recently, roofing companies have started to take advantage of this valuable technology.   A drone can provide valuable insights when estimating and inspecting roofs.

drone used for roofing
A drone can be a great tool for your roofing company.

With thermal imaging attached to the drone, possible leaks and insulation/air leak issues can also be assessed.  Some companies are starting to offer technology for drones that includes measurements, allowing you to get accurate roof measurements from the air.

Before purchasing a drone and flying it over a customer’s house, be aware of the laws in your area, and the risks involved.  You may want to check with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make sure you can legally use a drone in your area for roofing purposes. The last thing you want to happen is to be slapped with a fine for an air space violation, or be accused of invasion of privacy by a paranoid neighbor.  Drones can also crash.  An injury to a person, or damaged property is a possibility.

The negatives aside, if you follow proper procedures and laws in your country and locale, a drone can save you time, and money.  It will also provide you with the information you need to give your roofing customers accurate estimates and inspections.

How To Grow Your Roofing Company

While some business will sell themselves, that is usually not the case.  Depending on the economic situation in your region, along with the competition from other roofing contractors, you may need to spend less time on the roof and more time in the office and on the street to get your business moving.  Here are some ways you can throttle your roofing business:

  • Marketing – Effective marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg
  • Pricing – How you set your pricing and present your pricing to customers can boost sales.
  • Customer Relations – Treating your customers right can bring in new jobs.
  • Organization/Office Management
  • Employees can make or break your company.  Make sure you choose the right ones.
  • Patience/Persistence-  Running a profitable business takes hard work.  Don’t throw in the towel just because the phone isn’t ringing.   Maybe you aren’t working hard enough to attract customers, or maybe you need to re-evaluate the techniques you are trying to use to acquire customers.


Free Roofing Company Logos

Below is a collection of free roofing and construction-related design elements that can be used for your personal company logo. These basic designs were created exclusively for The Roofer’s Helper and are offered here royalty-free.  Any image may be modified for your own use.  The current image file size will be fine for a website header.  Check here if you need some tips on logo and branding design.  

Roofing Company Logo Design

A logo and branding for your roofing company doesn’t have to be extravagant, nor do you necessarily have to spend a lot of money for one.  While you may have an idea for a logo in mind, make sure you choose a good business name first.

Poor marketing materials can portray a low-quality company.  Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by using sloppy advertising.  Like the expression goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”.  Don’t confuse simple and basic with poor and sloppy.  There is a big difference.  Some of the nicest roofing logos I have seen use a strong basic font for the business name.  The “artwork” is a simple A-frame roof line over top of the name.  Find some free basic sample roofing logos here.  

Here is some food for thought on deciding on a logo and branding for your company:

  • Logos often portray the personality of the business or business owner.  What will your logo and branding say about you and your company?
  • Sometimes a customer only has a split-second to see your business name.  Logos and branding can be so fancy and intricate, that it is hard to see what the name of the company is.  Is your logo/branding so busy that your name gets lost in the imagery?
  • In most cases, your company will not be a worldwide brand like Apple or Pepsi.  A logo for a small company would serve better to complement your business name, than to attempt to be your business name.  In other words, make sure your business name is prominent in your logo and branding.  Major companies have spent millions (or billions) of advertising dollars to make sure you recognize their logo/symbol, even when their business name is nowhere to be found.  Imagine how much money you would need to invest in your region so that your logo would be the face of your business.  It is not worth the expense.  What is more important: your business name, or your fancy logo?
  • Don’t make your business name too small, use difficult-to-read fonts, or try to cram too much information (services offered, etc.) in your branding.  I was guilty of this.  I had yards signs made that were packed with so much information, they couldn’t be read by a passing car.  Oops! Will your logo be easily readable on all marketing materials, including t-shirts, business cards, yard signs, etc.?
  • A well-chosen tagline can often be very memorable and attract positive vibes toward your business.  The tagline could be integrated into your logo, or used separately on your marketing materials.  Do you have a memorable tagline?

These are just a few tips you can use when deciding on your logo.  A professional graphic designer should be able to give you multiple options to choose from when deciding on your branding.

Ladder Rack Comparison

A ladder rack is an important piece of equipment for any roofing truck or van.  It will not only be used to hold ladders, but also lumber, gutters, drip edge, and many other roofing related items.  There are many different models on the market.  Here is a comparison chart including a few different popular models.  For this review, ladder racks for pickup trucks will be compared.  Ladder racks for vans will be reviewed in another post.

When purchasing a ladder rack, you may want to consider a used model if price is a concern.  While a new ladder rack could cost over $1,000.00, a used rack in good condition can usually be found on Craigslist for just a few hundred.  One note on the System 1:  this rack is narrow at the top, allowing only two ladders next to each other (of course, you could stack more ladders, if you wish).  This is one of the only negatives for this rack in my opinion.

I don’t know if there is one “best” ladder rack.  Each one listed here will do an excellent job at what it is made for: holding ladders.

If you are considering a vehicle to go with your ladder rack, check here.

ladder rack comparison