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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:
- Plan your roofing company. This is a major step, and will help guide the direction of your business.
- Register your business with proper government institutions. You need to make sure your business is operating legally in your area.
- Promote your business. A solid marketing and sales strategy is critical to attract new customers.
1. PLAN YOUR ROOFING BUSINESS
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.
If you are looking to grow quickly, it will be critical for you to identify your own weaknesses and hire others that can excel in those positions. Keep in mind that there are risks in trying to grow your company too quickly.
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?
- 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.
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.
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. 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
2. REGISTER YOUR ROOFING BUSINESS
Make it legal
Make 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:
- Select your business structure (sole-proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.)
- Register your roofing business name
- Register your business entity
- Register as a roofer or home improvement contractor with your state (US)
- Open a business bank account for your roofing company
- Taxes- either get an accountant, or do research on filing yourself
- Liability Insurance
- Worker’s Compensation
- City Licenses and Permits
- 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
3. MARKETING YOUR ROOFING BUSINESS
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.
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!
- Learn how to sell a roofing job to a potential customer
- Estimate a roofing job properly – How much should I charge?
- Communicate regularly and clearly with the customer
- Be fair and honest- take responsibility for your mistakes
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.
- Social Media- With over 375,000 followers, we know a little about social media. Contact us to see how we can help!
- Set up a Roofing Website
- Get Featured on The Roofer’s Helper – Improve SEO and internet exposure
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)- make sure your roofing website shows up in the highest position possible in internet search results
- 15 Simple Roofing Marketing Ideas
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