February 2019

A Rookie’s Mistake

A Rookie’s Mistake

A guest article by Alex Zuniga from Academy Roofing & Construction in Corpus Christi, Texas (academyroofing361@gmail.com)

There are many reasons why we choose to start a roofing company. Either because of the love for the trade, financial independence or not having to work for someone else. Whatever the case, there was a burning sensation of passion that ignited within us.

A lot of us had to start by doing the work ourselves. Nothing wrong with that. I think it’s better when you actually know how the whole installation process goes. That way when you begin hiring roofers, you know if the installation is being done correctly. Ensuring we give our clients the best is priority, their satisfaction is what often leads to future referrals.

The reason I use the word Rookie.

You have to treat your business like you’re the owner of a sports team. If someone isn’t performing at their best, they simply can’t or won’t make the cut. Business over family: You won’t fire your family, so when viewed as a teammate it’s much easier.

We’re all part of the same team, we’re here to learn and grow together. You can give people second chances, find out what’s going on. However there, definitely has to be an improvement from that individual. It could be anyone on your team; the secretary, roofer, maybe even your supplier. You’re the business owner, take control. Do what is best for everyone. This is why you don’t just hire anyone randomly. Interview them, test them out. Make sure they’re the right fit for your company.

Another mistake we can make without even realizing it is, wanting to lend a helping hand when it comes to the progress of a roof. There’s nothing wrong with getting your hands dirty every once in a while, but you can’t do it forever. One of my mentors drilled this into my head: “If you’re working, you’re slowing down.”

Make sure you continue to spread the word about your company. Trust your roofers. Pre-screen them, once you realize they know how to roof, it’ll be easier for you to stop micro-managing and line up more work for them. This will be the only way your company can continue to grow.

You’ll always be a roofer! REMEMBER that. Yet, there’s a thin line between being a roofer and being a roofing contractor; learning to step up to both roles as needed is the trick. It’s a beautiful trade. In reality, you learn as you go. Enjoy the process and make sure you always continue to grow!

How To Start a Roofing Company – Roofing Business Resources

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If you want to start a roofing business, you must realize that running a profitable roofing company is a lot more than knowing how to find a leak or replace a roof. Just because you can do a great job installing shingles, managing a crew as a foreman, or selling roofs, doesn’t guarantee that you will be effective at running a roofing company.  Being a successful roofing business owner involves discipline, organization, both business and general roofing knowledge, patience, perseverance, people-skills, and a number of other traits.  A majority of roofing businesses fail within the first few years of business. This is usually not because the owner wasn’t skilled in their roofing craft, but because they were not skilled in running a business.

On this page, and throughout The Roofer’s Helper website, you will find valuable tips and helpful information to get your business off the ground.

There are basically 3 steps for how to start a roofing business:
  1. Plan your roofing company. This is a major step, and will help guide the direction of your business.
  2. Register your business with proper government institutions.  You need to make sure your business is operating legally in your area.
  3. Promote your business.  A solid marketing and sales strategy is critical to attract new customers.


Develop a Business Plan

Before diving in to any business, you should develop a business plan.  Roofing equipment and vehicles can cost a lot of money.  Don’t forget about insurance costs, not only for you, but for any employees.  A business plan doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but is something that will help organize your goals and priorities and help you make wise decisions.  It is important to know how much you will need to spend to get started, and how much you will need to make (after expenses) to support yourself. Not everyone wants to have a multi-million dollar roofing company with hundreds of employees.  If your goal is to have a small to medium sized  business, then the goals you set will be much different from a business plan for a large corporation. Either way, you need to have a solid plan set in place that will help you achieve the goals you set for your business. The larger you want your company to be, the better you need to be as a business owner, as the responsibility will be greater.  It is not wrong to dream big, but if you are a new business owner, it is best to start small and work your way up. Finding a mentor can be a huge asset when starting your roofing company. The ability to learn from another successful roofing business owner can save you time, and help you avoid many costly mistakes.


When starting your business, an important part of planning is research.  Depending on your location, a running a successful roofing business can potentially be difficult.  You may want to find answers to these questions before starting your company:
  • What is the competition?  How many other roofers are in business in my area?  What are they charging? Would commercial roofing be a better option than residential?
  • What types of roofs are in your area?  Are these the types of roofs you want to repair/replace? Is there a certain type of installation/repair you can specialize in?
  • How old are the homes in your area?  Is there a great need for new roofs, or mostly repairs?
  • How many homes are in your proposed service area? Are there enough potential jobs to sustain a full time business?
  • What are the economics of your area?
  • If a full-time roofing business can’t be supported, are you willing/able to offer additional services (snow removal, painting, siding, windows, etc.) in order to produce a full-time income?
Below are some additional points to consider in the research/planning process:
  • Set short and long-term goals – Plan your roofing business before you spend a dime.
  • Decide what services you will offer – Decide the scope of your business.  How many different services and options will you offer customers?
  • Find a niche – What will be your specialty?  What will set you apart from the competition?research online how start a roofing company
  • Choose a business name – Put some thought into deciding your company name.  You could always change it later, but a name change could hurt your business.
  • Decide what you will charge for your services – What you charge will vary depending on location, economics, products used, and your skill level, among other things.  You can’t just set your prices based upon what some other roofer charges 1,000 miles away.

Financial Considerations

It can be scary to start a roofing business from scratch.  Even if you already have experience as a roofer, or in managing a roofing company, you will need to consider the time it will take to get your business off the ground, and to make the income you will need.  Often a new business will take longer to grow than you planned, and may bring in less income than you planned. It is generally advisable to not quit your job and then start your roofing business.  If your business doesn’t make it for whatever reason, you may regret letting go of the job you had. A safer financial decision is to keep your day job (if possible), and start your roofing company slowly.  This can be difficult, as you will have to work around your normal work schedule, but a lot can be done on weekends, evenings, or mornings, depending on what your work schedule is like.  Another option is to at least keep a part-time job (such as an evening shift) to help provide funds to pay the bills while your roofing business is growing. Another possible option is to obtain financing.  You may want to consider a business loan depending on what your needs will be for equipment, vehicles, and a business location.  Once again, be careful that you don’t get over your head in debt.  Be sure to get a loan only for what you absolutely need to get started. how to set roofing business goals

Get Organized

As soon as you start your roofing business, you will need some sort of organizational structure so you can keep your customer communications and roofing-related paperwork in order.  You won’t necessarily need a full office when starting out.  An office desk dedicated to your business paperwork would be helpful. Get a daily planner or use your smartphone to schedule estimates, jobs, and other work-related appointments.  An easy way to lose customers is to arrive late or even forget a scheduled appointment.  A schedule will help you plan your day, week, and month, so you can make best use of your time and your customer’s time. There are many helpful software programs that can be used for accounting, estimating, customer communications and more.  Some software is especially designed for contractors.  You probably don’t need to invest in expensive software right away.  This would be a consideration as your business grows.
  • Set up an office- this can even be a home office
  • E-mail- have an email dedicated to your roofing company
  • Business phone- if you don’t have a separate phone, make sure you answer your personal phone in a professional manner.
  • Roofing Estimate and Bill forms- You can order custom forms online, or create your own.
  • Roofing Software – Track leads, sales, jobs, create estimates, and more in a single program.  Try JobNimbus for Free!

Equipment needed when starting a roofing business

You can’t start a roofing company without roofing equipment.  Equipment will probably account for the largest portion of your startup costs.  Starting out, you don’t necessarily need all brand-new equipment.  You will save thousands of dollars in startup costs by purchasing a used truck, used ladders and ladder rack, and other miscellaneous tools. tools needed for roofing business startup Another tip is to only buy tools as jobs require them.  This will help keep you from going into debt for tools and equipment you may end up never using.  Some of the tools and equipment you will need will vary according to what roofing services you plan to specialize in.


When just starting out, you will be able to work solo, or with a small team.   If you are going to grow, you will need to hire additional laborers, sales staff, and office staff.  The larger you want to grow, the more employees you will need.  Obviously, the more employees you will have, the higher the payroll will be, so a good sales team, along with solid marketing is key to bring in enough work to meet payroll requirements and continue to grow.


Pricing can vary among roofing supply companies in various regions.  When starting your roofing company, you’ll want to save every penny possible.  It pays to shop around and take advantage of competitive pricing.  You may notice a significant cost difference in materials when comparing prices at big box home improvement stores and roofing supply warehouses.  You may even notice price differences from one city to another because of local competition. A good supplier can help keep you aware of roofing trends and new products. Many suppliers will offer a credit line, product discounts, customer management, online ordering, and more.
  • Build a relationship
  • Know your costs


Make it legal

how to register a roofing businessMake sure you are following proper protocol in your region.  This means having necessary insurance, following tax codes, getting proper licenses and permits, etc.  This applies even to a part-time roofing business. Some steps (not necessarily in order) to starting your roofing company legally:
  1. Select your business structure (sole-proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.)
  2. Register your roofing business name
  3. Register your business entity
  4. Register as a roofer or home improvement contractor with your state (US)
  5. Open a business bank account for your roofing company
  6. Taxes- either get an accountant, or do research on filing yourself
  7. Liability Insurance
  8. Worker’s Compensation
  9. City Licenses and Permits
  10. OSHA
  11. Health Insurance

Register A Roofing Company In: The United States

Click on a state to find out how to start a roofing business in your area:

Register A Roofing Company In: Canada

Register A Roofing Company In:  The United Kingdom


In order to grow your roofing company, you will need to work hard, have people skills, and be patient.  You will also need to market your business effectively.  Success and profit won’t come overnight.social media marketing for a new roofing company


Beside employees, dealing with customers can cause a great amount of stress.  Learning how to communicate well with customers can help boost sales and increase word-of-mouth leads.  Good customers can be one of your greatest sources of free marketing!


roofing company marketing ideas

After you start a roofing business, you need to market it.  Some low-cost advertising to get started can include a basic 1 or 2 page website, setting up a free business listing for your roofing company on Google and other online directories, social media accounts, business cards and a few yard signs.


The Roofer’s Helper on Instagram– Giveaways, the best and worst of roofing, business features, and more! Helpful roofing-related websites Roofing education and training websites

How To Market Your Roofing Business

As it is with many businesses, the “fun” part is often the field work, while the difficult part is the paperwork and other behind-the-scenes stuff.  Marketing, especially in the age of the internet and social media, is a necessary part of running a successful roofing company, whether you think it is fun or not.

Marketing and advertising can be very expensive.  Whether you are new roofing company, or a roofing veteran, the last thing you want to do is to go into debt trying to get some customers.  You also don’t want to waste valuable time and money utilizing poor marketing techniques.  Fortunately, there are a number of low cost, or even free roofing marketing tips and tricks to help get the phone ringing and bring in more roofing customers.

Many of the following marketing and advertising ideas can be implemented without hiring a marketing company.  You can successfully advertise without spending a fortune.  Before you take out a loan to purchase a massive billboard or radio ad, check out these marketing ideas that can help you get more roofing jobs:

A Quality Website

A great looking website doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars.  With some basic computer skills, you can even set up your own website for just the cost of hosting fees.  A good website doesn’t need to be complex.  Keep it simple.  A home page, an about page, a services offered page, and a contact page are all you really need to get started.  Ranking in the top search position in Google is another story.  This can often be quite difficult depending on the competition from other roofers in your area, and also battling against the large advertising pockets of major home improvement lead companies that are also competing for the top search positions. The key is to have the website set up properly and use specific keywords closely associated with your business in order to rank high in your local search engine results.  SEO (which is mentioned next) will play a huge part in ranking well.   More on setting up a Website.


A basic website is foundational, but will only be effective if people visit it. An SEO-optimized website can be an incredible source of roofing leads and can potentially lead your roofing company to dominate your market.  SEO (Search Engine Optimization) utilizes various techniques such as proper website structure, quality content, targeted keywords, links to your site, and more in order to improve your chances of being found in a search.  While the cost to maintain SEO can be expensive, the long-term results can often be more cost-effective and productive than any other form of marketing.

A Catchy Tagline or Logo

A creative tagline or logo associated with your business name can help personalize your business and is a great marketing tool to attract customers.  Sometimes the tagline or logo becomes more memorable than the actual business name.  Find out more about business names here .

Door Flyers

Well-designed flyers targeted at the right neighborhoods can be very effective in advertising your roofing services.  Targeting is the key.  Don’t waste your time placing flyers in neighborhoods full of renters..  Create flyers for specific roofing services and place them at homes that could use those specific services.

Reference Incentives

Offer current customers kickbacks for referrals they give you, if the referrals turn into paying jobs.  A 20 dollar bill is a small price to pay for a guaranteed job.  Free gutter cleanings may also be a incentive.

Free Online Listings

Many local and nationally-based websites will allow you to post a free business listing.  Take advantage of Google Business listing, which is like a mini-website.  You can also set up free listings on Yellow Pages and other similar websites.  Check with local community websites to see if they offer free business listings.  You may consider an placing an ad listing on Craigslist, although results may vary depending on your location.

Positive Online Reviews

People are drawn to positive reviews. Ask loyal customers to leave a positive review for you on your Google business listing and/or Facebook page.  Google is preferred, as many more potential customers will see it. It is also a good idea to provide them with a link to the review page to make the process easier. Make sure you also display some of your best reviews on your website!google reviews for roofers

Facebook Ads

While you may need some help creating an ad, Facebook is an excellent option to advertise your roofing services.  You can choose how much you want to spend, and specify who you want the ad to be seen by (age, location, etc.).

Yard Signs

You see them everywhere.  They work.  Make sure the sign is simple and clear, and displays only the most important information.  Name, short business description (unless your business name is enough), phone number, and website should be enough.

News Media

An excellent way to get your company seen is through a television or newspaper story.  Let local media sources (big and small) know when you are doing something newsworthy, such as giving away a free roof, donating to charity, etc. Also, you can provide useful homeowner information that a media source may deem worthy to publish such as the importance of insulation and venting, ice dam prevention, how to know when to call a contractor for repairs/replacement, etc.  These types of stories are published all the time.  Your business name could be mentioned on television or in a newspaper or magazine, which would promote you as a local expert.

Vehicle Advertising

When you doing a roof job, neighbors often wonder who the contractor is.  You will leave no doubt if you have clear contact information on your vehicle.  You could use something as simple as magnetic signs on your truck, or decide to pay for lettering or even a full, graphic-heavy wrap.

Charity Giveaway

Charity auctions are a great way to get positive exposure while helping a good cause.  Offering a free service such as gutter cleaning, or a gift certificate are both good options.

Prize Drawing

This is a great option for your local county fair or community day.  Have people sign up with their emails.  You could offer a particular service or a gift certificate to the winner.  You could also choose to offer all contestants a consolation prize such as 10% off any roofing service.

Community Sponsoring

Help sponsor a local sports team, or advertise at a community event such as a charity walk.  Sponsoring costs can add up quickly, so weigh your options before verbally committing.  Having your business name fully or partially featured on a shirt or banner can help bring exposure to your business, while also benefiting your community.

Social Media

If you are already involved in social media such as Facebook, and don’t have a business page, what are you waiting for?  Use your connections with friends and family to promote your roofing services.  Facebook and Instagram are currently the best social media platforms to use to promote your business although TikTok and YouTube effective as well..  In addition, social media advertising is also an option that can bring solid leads.  Social media advertising must be done properly, or it can quickly drain marketing funds while providing little or no results.

Connect with other contractors

When you need help with something out of your skill set, reach out to other contractors for assistance.  Have a list of contractors you can refer to homeowners such as electricians, plumbers, masons, handymen, etc.  Make sure you tell the contractor when you refer them.  These fellow contractors will be happy to get a recommendation, and will hopefully do the same for you.

Build a referral network

Get to know as many real-estate agents and insurance agents as possible.  They have access to an incredible amount of homeowners who will need roof repairs and/or a new roof, and can be a great source of leads. You could potentially offer a finder’s fee when they refer a paying customer to you.

Build an email list

If your customers are willing, use their email address to send reminders such as yearly roof inspection or other services.  If you enjoy writing, you may consider creating an email newsletter.  You could include tips on roof, gutter and home maintenance that may lead to new jobs.


If you are mainly a shingle contractor, and business is slow, you may need to consider offering other services such as flat roof repair, gutter work, or another service you may feel comfortable doing.

The previous suggestions showed some lower budget options.  If you have more money to spend, a nice video can be used in a number of ways- website, social media, and even local television.

Need some branding/marketing advice?