Ner With The Right Team
Start with a small team that covers the most essential aspects of a successful roofing business:
- Foreman/crew leader
- Administrative/office staff
- Sales representatives
Use resources such as job boards, local trade associations, and recommendations from friends to build a strong team. Youll want to hire people who are committed to the goals of your roofing business, excited about the industry, and willing to work hard.
What Roofing Services Will Be Offered
Choosing to focus on a specialty or niche will make your roofing company stand out from all the other roofing business companies in your region. Focusing on a specialty will bring not only repeat customers, but also lots of referrals from them. Niches in the roofing business include
- Residential or Commercial Roofing- You may choose to specialize in offering residential roofing or commercial roofing services. Most roofing companies prefer specializing in the commercial niche since they wont have to deal with homeowners.
- Roof Replacement, Repair, or Both- Your roofing company can also offer loads of other replacement and repair services. These include replacing broken and missing shingles, roofing tiles, gutters, Patching up holes on the roof, etc.
Avoid Names That Are Too Hard To Spell
The easier your name is to spell, the easier it will be for your roofing business to get found online. And with 74% of people using voice search on their smartphones to find local businesses, an unusual or difficult spelling can easily get misinterpreted by the voice search tool. Stick to simple spellings to make sure homeowners can find you easily.
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Insure Your Roofing Business
Starting a new roofing company represents a major investment of your time and money. Insuring your roofing business will help you protect your investment and prepare for unforeseen circumstances. Here are a few different types of insurance your roofing company might need:
Some states require that businesses carry specific types of insurance. You can verify what insurance you will be required to carry with a local business association.
How To Become A Certified Roofing Contractor
Becoming a certified roofing contractor is a good way to prove to your clients that you are experienced and knowledgeable in your field. Not only will the training and education you gain allow you to be more confident and professional in your work, but having a certification can make you more appealing to potential customers. There are no national certification programs, as each state sets its own guidelines and operates their own certification programs, but many of the requirements are similar from state to state, allowing you to start the process of becoming certified immediately.
Apply for work with a roofing company or contractor. Experience is required for certification no matter where you go. Additionally, if you are unsuited for being a roofing contractor, you’ll find out during your employment period, saving you time and money.
Find the certification requirements in your state. Your employer can direct you to resources, or you can find them through the Contractor’s License reference site, given in the Resources section of this article.
Obtain study guides and study for the contractor’s exam. There are many sources for study guides. Some states offer them on their exam website, or you can refer to the examples on the Contractor’s License website . You can also find study guides at your local bookstore.
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Roof Safety Harnesses And All Other Personal Protective Equipment
There are many regulations pertaining to safety harnesses and personal protective equipment that youll need to familiarize yourself with before you purchase them. For Americans, OSHA requires each roofer to use a personal fall arrest system if they may fall a distance of 6 feet or more. These systems are held to high standards. For example, they must be able to stop a fall of 5,000 pounds per worker. When you find a roof safety harness that meets the requirements, remember to buy at least one for each roofer. Also, if you are not using a permanent anchor, you will need to remove it after the job is done to prevent someone else from using it.
Create Clear Policies And Procedures For Every Aspect Of Your Business
As your business grows, youll have less direct involvement in the day-to-day operations of the company. Too many business owners try to fight fires or manage every aspect of operations, but this is a recipe for burnout and stagnation.
As you open your doors and take on new customers, document your policies and standard operating procedures, says Kyle Shirley. It doesnt have to be pretty, but you need to write it down. Then, over time you can refine your procedures as you learn more about your business. How would you have handled that sale differently? Update the procedure. We have procedures for everything our company does, and those documents are visible to every one of our employees. If someone on my team asks how to get a measurement report for a roof, I point them to the procedure. As your business grows, you wont have your hands in every aspect of operations, but good policies and procedures will make sure your team is consistent.
Instead, you need to optimize your operations by building great processes, writing them down, and trusting your employees. Take all that youve learned about roofing, sales, and moreand add in knowledge from your employees. Use this accumulated experience to standardize how your team handles calls, evaluates customer creditworthiness, and manages repairs and installations.
You need to have clear, written instructions for every company process. A policy serves three purposes:
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Roofing License Requirements By State: How To Get A Roofing License
If you have a roofing business, or if you’re wondering how to become a roofer, it’s a good idea to be in compliance with all laws. With different regulations and license requirements in each state, youll need to know the ins and out before you start your business so that you can take it to the next level.
Weve put together a comprehensive list of roofing license requirements, across all 50 states. In many states you will need to have the proper roofing insurance in order to get a license. You may also need to show proof that you have experience or take an exam.
Reciprocating Saw And Circular Saw
Why use two different saws? Well, youll need a reciprocating saw when youre cutting out roof decking for a skylight or when removing some decking that has suffered water damage. While less precise than circular saws, reciprocating saws are easier to use on rooftops and able to get into tight spots without over-shooting. Experienced roofers may find that by adjusting the circular saw depth and working carefully they can get away without a reciprocating saw.
If you need to repair roof decking, youll need some sort of saw to cut the new decking to size. You wont be doing this on the roof, and getting a straight line will be critical so the best tool for the job is a circular saw. These saws cant cut curves, but they are faster than reciprocating saws. Choose at least a 7 ¼-inch blade if you want your circular saw to be able to cut through 2-inch thick wood. While your roof decking may not be this thick, you may also want to use the circular saw to cut toe boards, which should be much thicker.
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Techniques For Closing Sales
Here are four ways that strong roofing businesses get the sale for both repair work and new installations:
- Evaluate your sales performance and audit your processes to see if there are areas for improvement.
- Review your sales and marketing materials regularly to make sure they speak to the audience youre trying to attract.
- Take a close look at your current branding and your online marketing efforts to find areas for improvement.
Why it matters: Without a strong sales and marketing machine, there are no jobs to bring in revenue for your business. Making sure that your sales staff is well trained is a crucial part of running a successful roofing business.
Invest In The Proper Equipment
Youre going to need to invest in the proper equipment before you render any services. Here are some things that youll need:
- Cutting tools
- Pry bar and shingle removal gear
Please note that these tools will vary depending on what specific type of roofing company youre starting. This list is based on roofers who offer shingle-related services.
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A Shingle Cutter: Either Roofing Blade Or Utility Knife
Roofers need utility knives or roofing hook blades for many jobs, including as shingle cutters. If you install 3-tab shingles, youll need to cut the shingles in sections to form hip and ridge shingles. No matter which shingle you use, youll also need to cut a roof underlayment as well as an ice and water protector. A utility knife is a fine choice that can handle the job, but a roofing knife is a bit more specialized and makes your job easier. Roofing blades have special hooks near the edge to help you control the cut when youre working on thicker material, like shingles.
Develop Your Roofing Company Business Plan
One of the most important steps in starting a new roofing company is to develop your business plan. The process of creating your plan ensures that you fully understand your market and your business strategy. The plan also provides you with a roadmap to follow and if needed, to present to funding sources to raise capital for your business.
Your business plan should include the following sections:
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Keep The Cash Flowing Like Water Down A Valley
Heres a little-known fact about growing a roofing business: It can be incredibly cash-hungry. If you start growing without proper financial management, you will quickly find your company out of cash and in bankruptcy court. Thats not an overstatement: Cash flow is the number one reason why roofing contractors fail.
The construction business has a long cash conversion cycle, notes Kyle Shirley, so you need to go in with eyes wide open, understanding the average days sales outstanding for your market which you can find by reaching out to local or state roofing organizations. From there, you can track your accounts receivable, accounts payable, and overhead expenses to see your current cash flow. Even better, you can project your sales, labor costs, and materials costs further out to make sure that the revenue coming in is going to cover your costs.
In order to grow, a roofing company must proactively manage cash flow or youll end up doing about as well as a roof without flashing. Since youre a seasoned roofer, you know that payments can lag behind job completion sometimes way behind. But your costs keep adding up, and you need cash on hand to continue hiring skilled roofers, buying materials and equipment, and taking on more or bigger roofing jobs.
To grow your roofing business sustainably, its not enough to be a skilled roofer. You need to be a master of your cash flow.
Skills Experience And Education Useful In Running A Roofing Business
Starting a roofing business does not require a business degree, but certain skills and experiences can increase your businesss chances of success.
Roofing Experience. The roofing business requires experience in roofing or a similar construction job. This experience is needed to properly train employees, manage projects, and establish a proper standard of safety for your company to reduce risks.
Money Management. Finance is critical for a successful roofing business. Estimating and covering costs to complete projects and maintain cash flow during off seasons requires proper accounting.
Management Skills. Management skills are needed to hire skilled roofers for your business. A roofing business with a small crew will generally have a hierarchical structure, including a foreman and supervisor. As the business owner, you will likely spend time offsite and need the skills to direct your crew.
Customer Service Skills. Customer service skills will help you build the reputation you need to grow your business in a highly competitive market. The ability to communicate what your business does, how you will service the customer and the desire for referrals can build the trust to convince clients they should choose your company.
Education. There are benefits to learning the trade through an apprenticeship program. Experienced roofers can acquire certifications through the National Roofing Contractors Association.
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Finding Roofers And Subcontractors
Do you know the difference between a W-2 and a 1099 employee? If you dont, stop reading and watch this video: W-2 vs. 1099. Ok, now you know the difference on how to pay. I personally, STRONGLY recommend you finding a roofing subcontracting crew to use for your roofing projects. A Latino crew if possible! Hiring in-house W-2 roofers is a thing of the past and its going to make it nearly impossible for you to compete in price with other roofing contractors.
How to Find Subcontractors Finding subcontractors to do work for you isnt impossible if you dont know any, but there is a method on where to find them. Go to Lowes or Home Depot and look for guys carrying around shingles, go to roofing Facebook groups, and check with your local roofing building supply company. All three of these ways is an easy way to find roofing subcontracting crews. If this doesnt work, just drive around neighborhoods and eventually, youll find some.
How to Pay Your Subs One of the biggest mistakes roofing companies make is not paying their roofing subcontractors on time and to the agreed amount price. Its important to get a signed subcontractor agreement prior to every project detailing exactly how much money is going to be exchanged. This will keep your subcontractors happy, and youll always have labor to do your projects.
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.
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Secure A Location For Your Business
There are a few things to consider when looking for a location for your roofing company. First, youll want to find a spot that is accessible and visible to potential customers. Youll also want to make sure that the location is zoned for commercial use and has enough space to accommodate your business. Finally, youll need to consider the cost of leasing or purchasing property in the area.
Once you have a few potential locations picked out, its time to start doing research. Make phone calls and email inquiries to get the specific information you need from each property owner. Inquire about the number of years left on their leases, restrictions they place on businesses operating within the space, and any additional costs or fees associated with renting or buying their property.
Types Of Roofing Businesses
There are two main types of roofing businesses: Residential and commercial. However, many roofers specialize even further to focus on one main type of roofing.
These specializations vary based on materials used for the service and the style. Which type of roofing people chose comes down to personal preference preferences and functionality.
Here are a few different types of roofing businesses you could start:
- Roof replacement
- Gutter replacement
- Roof inspections
These are simply ideas, so you can certainly combine several of these services for your specific roofing company.
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Purchase Insurance For Your Business
Purchasing insurance is important for two reasons: first, it will help protect you and your employees in case of accidents second, it will help ensure that your customers are satisfied with your work.
Youll need to consider a few different types of insurance, including liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, and property damage insurance. Youll also need to ensure that your policy covers any specialized equipment you use, such as ladder racks or scaffolding.