It’s one thing to work at a profession you enjoy—it’s a whole different bucket of nails to turn that profession into a profitable business that supports you, your family, and your employees.
This is not a complete checklist of everything you need to start a roofing business, but it will help you define some important tasks you’ll need to move forward. And anyone who’s starting a business needs guidance—experts estimate as many as 8 out of 10 small businesses in the world will fail. If you’ve chosen to jump into the roofing business, that means you’ll need more than nails and a nail gun to create the business you envision.
Write a business plan.
A business plan doesn’t need to be a professionally formatted fancy document with charts and graphs—and you don’t need an MBA to write one. Create a business plan that simply and clearly defines your business goals (Including your roofing service area) as well as your plans for reaching them.
Pick a name.
Giving a name to your new roofing business can feel as challenging as naming a puppy or baby. If you don’t already have a name picked, keep these name tips in mind:
- Avoid names that are very long or tough to spell.
- Don’t involve too many people early in the process—wait until you have a shortlist, and then ask employees, family, or friends for their opinions.
- Search your shortlist choices online to make sure they’re not being used by others.
- Consider how the name will appear on the website URL and social media handles.
Establish Your Costs
Consider equipment and products investments carefully.
Getting the job done right so you can build a profitable business requires the right tools. The cheapest options may not be the safest or the most efficient. We will talk more about this as the class goes on.
It is absolutely essential to determine how much it’s going to cost before you start your roofing business. Direct costs like materials and labour are easy enough to figure out, but soft costs such as administrative and marketing expenses must be considered in order to merely break even.
Work out the cost of everything:
- Operational expenses, including labour wages and salaries.
- Small website.
- Promotional material, including signage and stationery.
- Commercial premises if other than your home.
Open a business bank account for your roofing company. Job deposit checks can be used to cover material costs as you move forward.
Set Your Price
The numbers have to make sense.
With your total costs known, you can now add mark-up for profit. Comparison to local competition might show that some roofing companies are higher priced and some are lower priced than you need to charge. The point is to sell at the price you need to get to ensure turning a profit and here’s where some extra help can make all the difference.
Understand your legal obligations.
From local permits to state contracting licenses, starting a roofing business can be confusing. Get up-to-date on details regarding the legal obligations of running a roofing business. Local business mentors, contracting or roofing colleagues, and networking groups can often point you in the right direction for expert advice.
Set Up Shop
You don’t need a complete office to start.
A desk, a phone and some basic stationery can get your roofing business rolling. Use the planner function in your phone to schedule customer appointments.
- Set up space in your spare room, basement or garage.
- Install a business phone or record a professional message for your personal phone.
- Add an email address dedicated to your roofing company.
- Order or create Estimate and Invoice forms online
Have a solid marketing plan.
Once your new roofing company is up and running, your work has only just begun. Maybe you have a tight budget and you need to start with low-cost marketing for now.
Consider branding your new business and printing business cards, and launching a simple 1-2 page website.
We will provide access to high-quality marketing materials for roofers, like brochures and products materials to use in sales presentations.
Digital marketing, like ads on Facebook and Instagram, is a cost-effective way to get the word out about your new business.
Educate yourself as a salesperson.
While you’re in the first stages of starting a business, it’ll still be pretty small, so it’s most likely that you’re going to be the jack of all trades. From secretary to product manager, you’ll probably be taking on most of the responsibility for a while. You’ll find it worth your while to educate yourself in sales presentation and general customer communication.
Hire and Train Your Crew
Hire carefully, retain the best.
Do it while they earn money for you.
By all means, train your employees on the job where you can watch and correct them. As their skills improve, so does their value to your business while they continue to make money for you in the process. You will also need to place high importance on safety training.
Managing Your Roofing Business
Invest in and maintain a high-quality roofing website.
An excellent website can be a lead generating machine and is a must-have to make you a better roofing company.
Nothing is as frustrating as clicking on the website of a company to find their contact information, and it’s nowhere to be found. Make sure you include and update your contact information to make it easy for customers and prospects to give you a call or shoot over an email.
A website is a great way to reach customers with the latest news about your roofing company and what you offer, too. Including an About Us page as well as a digital portfolio with photos and videos of completed jobs will help prospects gain trust in your company and the work you do.
Offer education to your prospects–whether that’s through a blog or a monthly roofing podcast–to attract visitors to your website and your company. Not only does this benefit your company by increasing your website visitors, but it offers value to your current and future customers. Here are some topic ideas to help turn you into a reliable resource and gain trust with your prospects:
- How to Choose the Right Roof for Your Home
- How to Choose a Roofing Contractor
- How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Roof
Make sure to stay up-to-date with SEO tips and tricks for your website, whether that’s local SEO (a huge strategy for local and regional businesses), on-page SEO, or anything in between. This will give you higher rankings on Google, ensuring your website gets more visibility.
Interested in more tips to better your roofing company through your website?
Increase roofing employee retention.
One of the biggest challenges in the roofing industry that we hear repeatedly from roofers is labour shortage and high turnover rates.
Everyone knows that employees are the backbone of the company–they can make or break your business. Employee retention, then, is a key to becoming a better roofing company and maintaining a professional reputation.
Increase roofing employee retention by creating a positive environment for your company. This includes not simply hire for skill, but also for conduct. One crew member with a bad attitude can offset the entire crew, whereas one positive crew member can make it a great day on the job.
Develop a solid referral program.
Happy customers are the key to survival, and many roofing companies thrive on word-of-mouth referrals alone. You can become an even better roofing company by taking the time to increase your referrals.
A great way to start a referral program is to offer incentives to your customers in return for referrals. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Offer a gift card to a local mart
- Offer a significant discount off a future service
Don’t forget to let customers know what else you offer, and never be afraid to ask them to leave a review!
A better roofing company means a bigger bottom line.
Your business can thrive with a well-developed website, happy roofers, and a strong roofing referral system. In addition, investing in the right equipment reduces the strain on your crew and can help enhance your marketing techniques.
All of this combines to boost your bottom line, giving you time to train new workers and build more crews to land and complete more jobs. The opportunities for growth are endless. Take advantage of them to enable you to become an even better roofing company.
Unnecessary spending needs to be cut at this time. Evaluate your expenses to determine what is critical and what can be dropped. Spending habits are different for everyone so you need to see how this will impact your business. Look for free tools and online resources and cut down on costs where you can.
Grow Your Roofing Business by Managing Your Online Reputation
As a roofer, your online reputation is vital for success, and this implies that your business should have countless positive reviews to market your services to businesses or homeowners effectively
Trust revolves around how people perceive your roofing brand. If they come across a negative review, they will neither have faith in your business nor its services.
Your online review is what determines whether a prospect will give you a call or not. Positive reviews will attract more clients your way; negative reviews will chase them away from your roofing business.
A recent study found out that 88% of clients first read online reviews to determine whether they will contact your business or go to the competition.
That is why online reputation management for roofers is critical.
Choosing the Right Products & Service Rendering
If you are a roofing contractor, there are many important decisions you will need to make about how you run your business. While it is vital to focus on your marketing efforts and getting the right clients, making sure you have the right roofing supplier is equally as important, if not more so.
The trouble is that, if you are new to the business, you may not know what to look for in a great roofing supply company. Get to know some of the factors to consider when choosing a roofing supplier so you can find the right one for your business and provide services to your customers as soon as possible.
They Carry a Wide Variety of Roofing Material Options
First and foremost, the roofing supply company that you work with needs to offer a wide array of roofing materials for you to choose from. The various clients that you work with will have different tastes and preferences when it comes to the aesthetic and functional design of their roofs.
Across much of the country, asphalt shingles are the norm and the most popular roofing material option. They are among the most economical options available as they are relatively low in cost while also tough and durable.
But this is not the only option you want to offer your clients and customers because their tastes may be more lavish or they simply may prefer to have a unique home in a sea of cookie-cutter ones.
As such, choose a single roofing supplier that offers a wide array of materials including composite shingles, tiles, shakes, and more. The more of your materials you can get from one supplier, the better your rates will be and the easier you can get the supplies you need for your customers.
They Offer Rapid Delivery and Pickup Services
As a roofing contractor, you know as well as anyone that you will have some clients and customers that are more demanding and in a hurry to get their job done than others. You will also need to provide emergency roofing services to customers that have been severely impacted by natural disasters or other issues.
Because of this, you want a roofing supplier that will be willing to accommodate those needs. Rapid delivery and pickup services are essential for your business to be successful and there are many roofing supply companies out there that are simply not equipped or not willing to provide these services or who won’t do so without astronomical add-on fees.
Look for a roofing supplier that offers such services as standard in their fees. This will save you money and ensure you can provide your customers with the best services at reasonable prices under any circumstances.
The Value Long-Term Business Relationships and a Family Business Atmosphere
Finally, because your contractor business is a small local business, you want to be sure that you work with a roofing supply company that shares your business motto and values. Building long-term business relationships with a roofing supply company are important as your business grows.
Such a relationship means you can trust your supplier and can get what you need without worrying about supplies being overpriced or of low quality. Additionally, roofing suppliers that have a family business style and atmosphere are better for your business as well.
You may have customers that want to meet with your supplier directly for custom orders or to look at all their options. Be sure your supplier will make your customers feel welcome and respected. A smile and a handshake can go a long way toward building confidence in a supplier.