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How To Start a Roofing Company – Roofing Business Resources

Table of Contents

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.

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. 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.

Research

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.

Hiring

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.

Suppliers

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

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

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.social media marketing for a new roofing company

Customers

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!

Advertising/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.

Resources

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

Five Keys to Selling A Roofing Job

Trying to sign up a roof job, especially when you are new to the roofing business, can be intimidating.  If you are a new roofing company owner, you will quickly find that filling your schedule with jobs may take some effort. Here are a few tips to help give you a better chance at lining up some new customers.

First Impressions

Whether with a cold call, or responding to a request for an estimate, the first impression you give a customer can go a long way in the process of selling a roof job.  You may get an emphatic “NO!” before you open your mouth just based on appearance alone.  Roofers already tend to have the reputation of being rough, dirty, and shady.  You can really set yourself apart by presenting yourself as the opposite of that stereotype.  You don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but make sure your appearance is somewhat neat and tidy.  This is crucial with a cold call.  If you are only doing roofing sales, neatness will be much easier.  If you are mixing jobs with calls, you may have a tougher time staying clean.  Save the tar-stained shirts or pants for days you are only doing jobs, if possible.

A smile and friendly tone will help break the ice with the potential customer.  If  you know you are not good with words, there are plenty of resources to help you with your communication skills.

A neatly written or typed estimate can also help with professionalism.

Honesty

A pet-peeve of mine in the sales industry is the cut throat “a-sale-at-any-cost” mentality.  In my opinion, I would rather under-promise and over-deliver, than to exaggerate my skills and not follow through.  The pressure, especially when you may need work, is to promise more than you are able to really do, and at a lower price, just to get the job.  This is a dangerous practice.  You could potentially get in over your head, and not be able to deliver a product that the customer deserves and has paid for.

If the customer asks you to perform a certain roofing service, be honest about your skills in that area.  Don’t be afraid to tell them you aren’t an expert in that particular area, and that if you completed the job, it may not be “museum” quality.  Customers appreciate honesty.  You would be surprised at how many customers told me they appreciated my honesty in telling them my strengths and weaknesses.  Many have asked me to go ahead with jobs even after I was trying to talk myself out of them.  Don’t be so eager to take on a job that you know you can’t complete, or that you can’t do well, without giving the customer an honest set of expectations.  Trust me, your customers will appreciate this, and you will get referrals because of it.

Be honest about the condition of your prospective customer’s roof.  Don’t tell them they need a new roof when you can clearly see the roof has plenty of life left in it.  That is unethical and just plain dishonest.  You wouldn’t want someone doing that to you.  You might get away with it, but beware.  It could come back to haunt you.

Don’t forget to be honest about the timeline of the job.  If you know you can’t do a job this week, don’t make a promise you’ll do it this week just to sign up the job.

Knowledge

It is important to be organized and knowledgeable when dealing with a customer.  Know your pricing.  Know your roofing lingo.  Be confident, but honest when talking about the best way to complete a roof job.  I realize some knowledge comes from experience, so it may be difficult to be knowledgeable with an area of roofing you are not familiar with.  This is where a previous trait I mentioned, honesty, can come into play.

I know of one roofer who used the line “That’s my specialty!” when any potential customer asked about a certain service.  In other words, every type of roofing service he was asked about was his specialty.  He had the “fake it until you make it” mentality.  I don’t know if that is the best sales method.  It would definitely help for you to learn as much as you can and get as much roofing-related experience possible so that you can best advise your customer.  If you do choose to have a specialty, put as much effort as possible into learning all you can, so you can truly call yourself an expert in that particular area.  Many customers (but not all) can easily spot when someone doesn’t really know what they are talking about.

Value

All customers want to know they are getting a good deal.  There are a number of ways to give the customer value without having to lose money.  One way you can add value is by throwing in extras, on top of what the customer has requested, at no cost.  This could be telling them you will clean all gutters at no extra charge after doing a roof job, or that you will be using a premium shingle at the same cost you would charge for a standard shingle.  Don’t lie about your pricing.  You don’t have to pull numbers out of your hat.  For me, I always charge the same for 3-tab shingles as I do for architectural shingles.  I prefer installing architectural, and they have a better warranty.  When the customer finds out I charge the same price, they will see they are getting a better value by choosing the architectural.

I generally try to present my estimate with a firm price, so that the potential customer has confidence they are already getting a good price.  I generally don’t like to play games with my pricing, but there are a few exceptions.

One exception deals with my minimum charge.  I have a few different standard “minimum charges” depending on what the roof-related work is (my minimum is less for gutter cleaning than for regular repairs as gutter cleaning takes less skill).  I have adjusted those minimum charges when the job is particularly easy, or small, thereby giving the customer value.

Giving the customer value doesn’t mean that you should always start with a higher price and then give “discounts”, but this technique is common practice in some cultures.  In some parts of the world, it is understood that you will go back-and-forth before settling on a price.  This is similar to going to a car dealer, with both the salesman and yourself knowing that you are not going to pay full price.  This is a somewhat common practice at yard sales.  You don’t pay full price for that used toaster.  You offer much lower and then come to an agreement with the seller.  If you are aware of this when dealing with certain cultures, you can adjust your prices accordingly, so when the potential customer argues with the price, you can lower it to a price you are both happy with.  I realize this is not a common practice in the US, but when dealing with certain cultures, you will find that you may be insulting them if you stay firm on your price.  I lost a few jobs early in my business when dealing with customers from other parts of the world, because I was naive and stubborn (and a little insulted) when my prices were being questioned.

Communication

Communication with a potential customer can make the difference between signing up a job or never hearing from them again.  Starting with the first call, make sure you are effectively communicating with the would-be customer.  Make sure you get all necessary contact information, and that you have the correct address.  Set up a clear time to meet for the estimate, if the customer will need to be there.  If you are going to be late, have the courtesy to contact the customer and update them on your status.  Repeat phone numbers, addresses and times back to the customer to confirm the correct information.

After the initial contact, a follow-up is an important step in keeping the communication lines open with the customer.  A follow-up text, phone call, or email can all be appropriate ways to open the door for action from the customer.  Personally, my style is not high-pressure.  I don’t like to look desperate for work.  If you did things right with the other four steps I mentioned, you shouldn’t have to strong-arm a customer into submission.

Be patient.  Not hearing back from someone doesn’t mean an automatic “NO” to your proposal.  I recently had a customer contact me after 2 years (yes, 2 years!) to tell me they were finally ready to have the work done.  I was able to re-write the estimate at a higher amount because of additional work they also now ready to have done.

These five attributes will definitely help you sell more jobs.  Keep in mind, that no matter what sales technique you use, you won’t sell every job.  In fact, if you are signing up just about every job, your prices may be too low.  Pricing will be discussed in another post.

Now, go out and sign up some customers!

Choosing A Business Structure For Your Roofing Company

Choosing A Business Structure For Your Roofing Company

When starting a new roofing business, one of the first steps to take, often before even choosing a name, is selecting a business structure.  The four basics business structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC (Limited Liability Company), and Corporation.  The scope of your business along with your immediate and future goals may help you decide on what structure you will register with.  Below you will find a description of each type of structure and the benefits of each to your new roofing company.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the most basic of business structures.  Most small business owners start out as sole proprietors.  In most regions, you may have to register a DBA (doing business as) name, but you may not have to register as a sole proprietor.  You will still need licenses, permits, and tax registration as required by your government agencies.

A sole proprietor is run solely by the business owner.  The owner is completely attached to the business.  A sole proprietor gets all the profits from the business, but is also responsible for any losses, debts, or legal action taken against the company.

As a new roofing company with one owner, you can start your business immediately (after proper government registration) as a sole proprietor.  Keep in mind that because of the risky nature of roofing, you will be responsible for any losses incurred because of your business.   Liability insurance can help protect the loss of business assets, but not your personal assets.

Partnership

A partnership is a business where the ownership is shared by two or more people.  While the profits are shared, the losses, debt, and responsibility for any legal action taken against the business are also shared.

Business partners will need to decide together how the business will be run, and how the profits will be shared.  It may be wise to create a legal partnership agreement to provide clarity when arguments and misunderstandings regarding the business arise.  You may want to include in the partnership agreement terms for the process of one or more partners leaving the business.

There are three types of partnerships in the United States: General, Limited, and Joint Ventures.

General Partnership

A general partnership has each partner sharing responsibilities, profits, and losses for the business equally, unless specified otherwise in the partnership agreement.

Limited Partnership

A limited partnership allows partners to have limited liability in the business, and limited input on business decisions based on the partners investment in the company.

Joint Venture

A joint venture is similar to a general partnership, but on a short-term basis.  If the parties involved decide to continue long-term, they can then file as a general partnership.

As a roofer in a partnership, be aware that all profits will be shared with the other partners, and any losses caused by the other partners will be shared with you.  Disagreements between partners can cause friction in the company, possibly causing the business to dissolve.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

While an LLC is a mixture of a Corporation and a Partnership, it can still be registered by one owner.  An LLC can consist of many owners or “members”, and provide limited liability protection similar to that of a corporation.

If you choose an LLC, you must have the initials “LLC” in your registered business name.

LLC’s are popular with roofing companies and many other types of businesses as they help protect the owner’s personal assets in the event of a lawsuit or if your roofing business takes on debt.

While there are some registration costs when forming an LLC, the costs are less than when forming a corporation.  There is also easier registration requirements.  Besides sole proprietorship and partnership, LLC’s are very popular with roofers because of the protection they offer.

Corporation

Corporations are more complex business structures.  A Corporation is generally owned by shareholders.  The Corporation is responsible for legal issues and/or debt the company incurs, not the shareholders.  There are two types of Corporations: a C Corp and an S Corp.   A C Corp is referred to generally as a Corporation, while an S Corp is structured slightly differently.

Corporations cost more money and take more paperwork to start and maintain.  They are generally a better choice for larger companies.  Corporations also have the opportunity to offer stock.

The taxes for a Corporation  (C Corp) are paid out of the Corporation.

An S Corp is similar to a corporation, except the taxes are paid through a personal tax return.

As a new roofing company, you probably don’t need to consider choosing a corporation as your business structure at this point.

 

Roofing Liability Insurance

Roofing Liability Insurance

Roofing can be a dangerous job, but the risks aren’t always just with the roofer getting hurt.  Mistakes or accidents on the job can cause injuries to homeowners and bystanders.  Misunderstandings, poor communication, or neglect can possibly lead to a lawsuit.

Whether you dropped a hammer and smashed a priceless lawn ornament, or failed to properly flash a chimney, causing thousands of dollars of damage, you need to protect yourself and your business.

Liability insurance helps protect you and your business from potential catastrophes that could possibly put you out of business.  Not only is it important to have, it is actually required by many states in the United States in order for you to be a legal contractor.

Be sure to research the contractor laws in your state to see what your requirements are.

Here are some areas in which a liability insurance policy can protect you.

  1. Personal injury: This involves slander, libel, and other types of damage to a person’s or business’s reputation.
  2. Bodily injury: This deals with protection in case of any job-related injury to a non-employee.
  3. Medical payments: This can help cover medical expenses incurred because of someone injured at your workplace.
  4. Advertising injury: If your customer claims a loss due to any products or services you have advertised.
  5. Independent contractors liability: Independent contractors you have hired should have their own liability insurance, but this adds another level of protection.

Liability insurance for roofers can vary in options and prices.  Roofers have a much higher risk that painters, landscapers, and other contractors that mainly stay on the ground.  Be sure to meet with multiple insurance agents to find the best policy and price for you.

Make sure you are honest about what type of roofing you will be doing.  You need to make sure you have proper coverage in case of any unforeseen disaster. A minimum $1,000,000.00 umbrella policy should be considered.  Most major lawsuits will not be cheap.

If you plan to have employees, you should also discuss your options for Worker’s Compensation, to help protect yourself in the event of injury or death of an employee.

Most states require you to purchase a bond and General Liability Insurance to obtain your license. We work with ContractorsLiability.com because they’re the one-stop-shop for General Liability insurance and are able to get online quotes in all 50 states. Plus, their expertise means they’re fast when it comes to getting the right bond and liability coverage.  Roofers need to win the job and stay protected at an affordable price. Learn more >

How To Register A Roofing Company

After deciding to start a roofing business, you will need to go through all the proper government institutions to make your business legal.  There are different rules and procedures depending on where you plan to operate your business.  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.

Here are links to register a new roofing business in your area:

Start a New Roofing Business in The United States

Start a New Roofing Business in Canada

Start a New Roofing Business in The United Kingdom

More on starting a new roofing business here: How To Start a Roofing Business

Roofing Equipment

Roofing Tools and Equipment

Good, reliable roofing tools and equipment are critical for any roofing contractor.  Some tools end up collecting dust or costing more time or money than they are worth.  It is important to research the equipment and tools you want to purchase to make sure they are safe, reliable, and worth the investment.  Here is a list of various articles, reviews, and links to roofing-related tools and equipment:

Tools

Tools Needed For Roof Repairstools needed for roofing

Roofer’s Helper Recommended Tools

Equipment & Accessories

Drones

Safety Equipment

Vehicles

Choosing a Roofing Vehicle

Ladder Racks

 

How To Start A Seamless Gutter Business

Table of Contents

Starting A Gutter Business

A seamless gutter company can be relatively easy to start, and turn into a good source of continual income.  The most important part of starting any business is the initial planning.  After the planning, you’ll need to register your new gutter business to make it legal.  Then, you’ll need to get busy marketing, in order to build your business.

For some gutter business name ideas:  Gutter Company Name Ideas

Planning your Gutter Business

There are a few different angles to look at when considering starting a gutter business.

Installation of gutters only– If you are just starting out, and don’t have cash for a seamless gutter machine, or if you simply would rather not have a gutter machine, you could just run a gutter installation business.  There are numerous gutter companies that will come on-site to produce gutters for you at your specifications.  Simply get their price ahead of time, add your labor and expenses, and then give your quote to the customer.

Fabricate seamless gutters only– You could choose to invest in a seamless gutter machine, and offer your services to roofers and other contractors.  Roofing and construction supply houses could also provide business for you as they often outsource custom gutters.

Fabricate and install seamless gutters– You may wish to purchase a gutter machine, fabricate and install for your own gutter business, AND fabricate seamless gutters for other contractors.  This is most likely the best option if you want to produce a full time income and have a profitable gutter company.  Keep in mind, you may need/desire to purchase multiple gutter machines to accommodate different size gutters.  Gutter machines are expensive, so it may be wise to start with just one.  5 inch gutters are pretty standard, and there may be plenty of residential and commercial gutter projects in your area to justify having just one machine.

Gutters and…???- Maybe your area won’t sustain a full-time gutter installation business, or maybe you want to offer more than just gutters.  Some popular business options are gutter guards/leaf guards, roofing and gutters, siding and gutters, gutters and windows, gutter cleaning, gutter repairs, all of the above, or even some other type of home improvement service.

Startup Costs

Some more obvious startup costs to calculate and consider are:

-Vehicle and or trailer to house the gutter machine

-Gutter machine and all gutter installation tools (this could get expensive, depending on what type of machine you choose)

-Ladder rack

-Ladders

-Scaffolding stage (catwalk) – this is optional- you could just use ladders

-Liability insurance- Required by most states- GET A FREE QUOTE

-Health insurance (if you plan to be self-employed)how to start a gutter business

-Vehicle insurance

-Taxes

-Marketing -brochures, business cards, yard signs, website, etc.

-Employees -don’t forget workman’s comp insurance, and health insurance

Choosing a name

You’ll need to decide what name you’ll have for your gutter business.  If you are definitely planning to offer additional services, you may not want to limit your name to just include the word “gutter”.  You may wish to expand it with terms like “home services”, “and more” or specific words that will define your business.

For some gutter business name ideas:  Gutter Company Name Ideas

Registering your Gutter Business

Below, you will find links to register your new gutter business in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  The links were created for roofing contractors, but will apply to any home improvement contractor.

How to Start a Gutter Business in the United States

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

How to Start a Gutter Business in Canada

How to Start A Gutter Business in the UK

Marketing

There are a number of ways to market a seamless gutter business.  A quality website and social media accounts along with a free Google business listing are a great place to start. You may also want to use yard signs and vehicle/trailer wraps.  Make sure your advertising isn’t too cluttered. Name, phone, and website should be easy to read.  One source of leads that may be worth checking out is with roofing and construction supply warehouses.  Let them know you are available to fulfill any custom gutter orders they may receive.  You could also contact roofers and contractors in the area (without spamming) and offer your services. 

Other great ways to build your business are good communication, good customer service, and offering a good quality product.  If you do these things, you should have no problem building a profitable gutter business.

Bostitch vs. Makita – The Best Roofing Nail Guns

If you have ever hand-nailed a shingle roof, and then used a nail gun, you will know the huge difference this tool will make in production time when used properly.  Roofing nail guns are pretty much essential to any roofing trying to compete in the asphalt shingle market.

Here is a comparison of two of the top roofing nail guns on the market.  Roofing nailers take a lot of abuse, so it pays to invest in a quality roofing nail gun.  Both Bostitch and Makita make durable, high performing roofing nailers that will help you get a shingle roof installed fast!

BOSTITCH RN46-1 3/4-Inch to 1-3/4-Inch Coil Roofing Nailer

The Bostitch RN 46 boasts the ability to drive up to 100 nails a minute.  It is constructed with magnesium for maximum durability.  The Bostitch allows for 2 firing methods, and has drive depth adjustments.  The nailer weighs in at 4.8 lbs and comes with a 7 year warranty.

 

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Hitachi NV45AB2 7/8-Inch to 1-3/4-Inch Coil Roofing Nailer

At 5.5 lbs, the Hitachi is light, but still slightly heaving than the Bostich.  The Hitachi has a nice side-loading feature, and also includes a quick-drive feature, allowing faster installation of roofing nails.  The Hitachi comes with a 5 year limited warranty.

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How To Start A Residential Roof Coating Business

A roof coating business can be a profitable venture for a number of reasons.  If you live in or near a city, you will find thousands upon thousands of flat roofs, many of which need to be coated.  Cold coatings last approximately 5 years, so the opportunities for repeat business are high.  It is also a great part-time business, as you will have low overhead, have minimal equipment to store, and have flexible hours.

There are two basic types of coatings- cold and hot.  Cold coatings such as black asphalt and aluminum can easily be purchased at major home improvement stores.  Hot asphalt materials can be purchased at most roofing supply warehouses.

Cold Coatings

If you choose to apply cold coatings such as fibered or non-fibered aluminum roof coatings, or fibered black asphalt roof coatings, you will have very minimal startup costs.  A truck, ladder, a trowel to apply roof cement for flashing repairs,  and a brush or mop to apply the coating are some of your main tools.   Square footage needs to be calculated properly, so you know how many cans to purchase.  start a roof coating business

Hot Coatings

Hot tar kettles can range from under $1,000.00 for a small kettle to upwards of $10,000.00 for a kettle on a trailer.  Other accessories will drive the costs up more. Dangers of fire, burns, and even death or serious injury are a definite concern.

Since cold coatings are safer, do not require training, and are easily accessible, this article will describe how to start a roof coating business using cold coatings.

1. Roof Coating Business Plan

Before you start any business, you should take time to plan.  Writing even a basic business plan can help organize your thoughts and help you make educated decisions as you move forward.  Some things to consider when starting a roof coating business are:

  • Startup costs- These costs will include a roofing vehicle, ladders, liability insurance, health insurance (if a full-time business)
  • Size of the market- Are there enough flat roofs to sustain a roof coating business?
  • Competition- Who is the competition?  Is there too much competition?  Can your roof coating business stand out against the competition?
  • Marketing- How will you promote your business? Door to door, website, yard signs, mailers, etc.

2.  Register your Roof Coating Business

Even if you are planning to have a part-time roof coating business, you will need to register for tax purposes.  In the United States you may also have to register as a contractor in certain states.  In order to register as a contractor, many states require that you have liability insurance.  Here are some links to help get your business registered: United States; Canada, United Kingdom.

3.  Market Your Roof Coating Business

You will need to have some way to advertise your roof coating business.  Here are a few low cost ideas:

  • Door hangers/flyers- Flyers will be a little less cost than door hangers.  Create a flyer advertising your business, find some neighborhoods that mainly consist of flat roofs (this is not hard at all in most cities), and put a flyer in EVERY door.
  • Offer a “special”- Offer a promotion such as “15% off of your roof coating for the month of May only”
  • Set up a website-  Use key words in your website such as flat roof repair, flat roof coatings, roof coatings, and roof repair, to help attract your specific clientele.

Find some additional marketing tips here and here.

4.  Grow Your Roof Coating Business

After you start to get a few customers, you need to start taking some steps to grow your business.  Make sure you take the opportunity to give your current customers a few business cards to pass out (ask nicely!).  You could even offer a small cash gift for any referrals that turn into jobs.  Use yard signs if possible, as neighbors may also be interested in your services.  As you continue to build a customer base, you will slowly see some jobs come in from referrals.  This is the best type of advertising- it’s free, and it’s coming from real customers.

How to Start a Gutter Business in the United States

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How to Start a Gutter Business in Canada

How to Start A Gutter Business in the UK

 

The Best Roofing Tools

Here is a small list of some of what The Roofer’s Helper’s considers the best roofing tools:

The Stortz Medium Duty Slate Ripper

Slate Ripper

My Stortz slate ripper has lasted over twenty years.  It is a great tool not only for slate repair, but also for shingle repair and tile repair.  I can’t see any roofer effectively removing slate without one of these.  I have also used the heavy duty version, but I prefer the medium duty.

The Stortz Slate Cutter

slate cutter

This Stortz slate cutter is very well built and makes cutting slate a breeze.  It also has a built in punch that works great even for thicker slates.

 

Bostitch Twin Blade Utility Knife

bostitch dual blade knife

I love being able to to have both a straight blade and a hook blade available for instant use in the same knife.  My knife has lasted almost 5 years so far with no issues.

Malco A1 Scratch Awl

malcoscratchawl

This scratch awl by Malco is very sturdy, and perfect for punching holes in slate.  I also use it to pre-punch a hole in roof deck when the wood is so hard, the nails are bending.  The bright orange color is helpful when I drop the awl off of the roof and have to find it in the bushes.

The Shingle Eater

shingleeater

I am not a fan of asphalt shingle roof tear-offs, but when I have to do one, I really prefer The Shingle Eater.  I have tried a number of other shingle removal tools, but I like the strength and leverage I get with The Shingle Eater.

Foam Cushion (any brand)

foamcushion

A foam cushion, either purchased new, or recycled out of an old couch, is a great “tool” for roof repairs.  It is especially helpful on steeper sloped asphalt shingle roofs.  It is amazing how well the foam grips into the shingles.  Foam cushions have allowed me to safely work on slopes I would not normally be able to work on.  A few added benefits are the cushion protecting the roof from scuffing, and providing extra comfort.