There’s a lot more to starting a roofing business than simply having the skills to fix leaks and nail down shingles.
If you follow through on your promises, perform high-quality work, and stick to the basic rules of owning and managing a small business, you’ll find that running your own roofing business is a profitable and satisfying enterprise.
When you start any business, you need to make a financial investment.
There are certain costs that are unavoidable.
Make these startup costs part of your roofing company business plan to help you save money in the long run.
Contractor Liability Insurance
Roofers insurance should cover any injuries to you, your employees, or your clients as a result of the work you perform.
It should also cover any accidental damages to property where you are working.
If someone is injured at your work site, the medical payments portion of your insurance policy should protect your financial stability.
Putting insurance in place is one of the first things you should do.
Before you even bid your first job, you’ll want to have this insurance in place.
Consider it part of your overhead expenses and build the cost into the price of your services.
There are three basic types of payments that roofer’s business insurance will make if you need to make a claim:
- General damages: this covers intangible expenses like pain and suffering.
- Compensatory damages: if the person who makes the claim experiences a financial loss as a result of the covered incident, the compensatory damages portion of the policy will pay.
- Punitive damages: this covers penalties against your roofing business if a court finds that you or one of your employees caused harm on purpose.
Also, consider purchasing an insurance policy that covers you for any damages caused by your advertising or accidental damages to another person’s image or business reputation as a result of your project.
The best way to get adequate insurance coverage is to talk to an insurance agent face-to-face.
Choose a local agent that understands your state’s laws about minimum amounts of insurance you must carry as a business owner.
It’s a good idea to talk with someone who can shop insurance rates for you at many companies, as opposed to an agent that works directly for only one company.
It’s not necessary to rent office space if your new roofing business will be a one-man operation.
Of course, you’ll hire help on an as-needed basis, but if you plan to start small, you can probably run your roofing company from your home or even from your truck.
You’ll need a cell phone with reliable service, voicemail, and texting.
Purchase an unlimited plan so you have a consistent monthly bill and you never have to worry about overage charges.
If you can, get a smartphone and find a reliable app that provides GPS.
This will help you plan your travel time between clients as you perform work, write estimates, and consult on projects.
You should set up an email dedicated to your roofing business.
Don’t use your personal email address for business purposes.
You’ll appear more professional with an email address of email@example.com than you will with an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
Decide whether you’ll use a paper planner or a calendar app with reminders to manage your schedule.
You must show up to appointments on time, so make a decision about which method you prefer and stick to it.
After you have a phone number and email address, you can order roofing estimate and billing forms.
Check out some examples online and decide what information you’d like to include.
Roofing Business Cards and Logo
You may also want to have a few business cards.
There’s no need to go through the process of creating a professional logo.
Simply choose an easy to read font and make sure it’s large enough to read easily.
Before you have your materials printed, allow several people to help you proofread for spelling errors.
If possible, have someone at the print shop proofread the document, as well.
For tax purposes, it’s important to use software that tracks income and expenses.
Start with a simple program designed for small business use.
A tax accountant that specializes in working with small business owners can point you in the right direction.
Purchase Roofing Equipment
If you are planning to start a roofing business, you probably have a solid understanding of the necessary equipment you’ll need to work efficiently and safely.
Take an inventory of the equipment you already have, and make a list of the things you need to complete a basic roofing job.
If you don’t have access to enough money to purchase the tools you need, consider renting them for your first few jobs.
Your truck doesn’t have to be brand new or have a fancy wrap-around logo bearing the name of your business.
It should be in decent condition and look well-cared-for, however.
We’ve all seen “work trucks” with dashboards overflowing with paperwork and trash.
Even if your truck isn’t shiny or fancy, it should be clean.
If you want people to trust you to put a roof on their home, you’ll need to appear conscientious and stable.
Starting a Roofing Business Tips
While it’s crucial for you to have the skills to replace and repair roofs, it’s also necessary to pay attention to people skills.
Here are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood that clients will choose you over your competition:
Be Professional on the Phone
Even if your business is very small when you start, it’s important to answer your phone by stating the name you use in your advertisements every time it rings.
For example, when someone calls you for an estimate, they don’t want to hear, “Hello”. They want to hear, “Roger’s Roofing, this is Roger!”
The same rule applies to your voicemail.
Don’t leave the default robot voice, “You have reached the voicemail of 4-1-9-8-5-4-5-4-3-6. Please leave a message at the tone.”
Record a custom message, so your potential customers know they’ve reached a legitimate business.
When they call your number and you can’t answer, they should hear “Hello, you’ve reached Roger’s Roofing, serving the greater Philadelphia area. We’re sorry to miss your call. Please leave a message with your name, phone number, and the reason for your call. We’ll call you back as soon as possible. Have a great day!”
Be Reliable By Keeping Your Appointments
If you are going to be five minutes late, offer your client or potential client a warning.
No one likes to be kept waiting and showing up late doesn’t inspire confidence or make you seem reliable.
Build Your Reputation by Delivering Great Quotes
While it’s true that many potential roofing customers are looking for the lowest price, please remember that the people you work for are willing to trust you with their home or business.
For this reason, it’s important for you to provide an honest quote and back it up with quality work.
When you deliver a written quote for a new roofing job, take a few moments to explain what’s included.
If you only use certain materials and that makes your price a bit higher than the competition, explain why you make that choice.
Practice Good Communication with Your Prospective Customers
Ask your prospective client if they have any questions for you. This is your first opportunity to earn their trust.
Make sure they know about any guarantees you offer.
All your contact information, your promise about customer satisfaction, and the expiration date for your quote should all be presented to the client in writing.
Keep a copy of the quote for your records with the client’s complete contact information, as well.
Before you leave, ask about the customer’s schedule.
Do they expect to make a decision soon?
When would they like work to begin?
Let them know that you appreciate their time and you look forward to hearing from them, soon.
Find a Supplier
Depending on the area of the country where you set up your roofing business and the roofing supply companies located in that region, prices may vary widely.
Before you bid your first job, get quotes for various roofing supplies and tools that you know you’ll reorder frequently.
Take advantage of the best pricing to maximize your potential profit and make you more competitive in your market.
Understanding the cost of materials is crucial to creating accurate estimates and getting new business.
If you plan to use the same supplier consistently, find out if they offer discounts for their regular customers.
Creating a relationship with your supplier could earn you new business, too.
Established roofing companies may be booked months in advance.
This may create an opportunity for you to get referrals for new roofing jobs from your supplier to help you gain experience and build your reputation.
Make Your New Roofing Business Legal
Rules for starting a business and registering it vary from one community to the next, so it’s important to research the laws in your area.
Many towns have local non-profit businesses that specialize in helping small business start-ups remain compliant with local tax codes.
You may be able to access their services at no charge.
To find organizations in your area that assist new businesses, do a quick Google search for your town’s name and “small business development.”
Another way to find help is to contact your local public library and ask about any organizations that may be able to help you create your roofing company business plan.
You’ll need to register your roofing business name and your business entity with your state and get any necessary city permits and licenses so you can remain compliant with local laws.
After your business is properly registered, open a business bank account under the name of your roofing company.
Shop around for a no-fee account and be sure to find out if local credit unions offer special financial support and tools for new businesses.
Marketing Your New Roofing Business
One of the most challenging parts of opening any new business is understanding how to most effectively get the word out and attract the attention of people who need your services.
Here are some things you should do right away to boost your marketing efforts:
Purchase two or three good-quality plastic yard signs with your company name and phone number to display in your customer’s yard while you are working on their home or business.
Make sure the background is a bright color and the lettering is bold and black in an easy-to-read font.
These signs let neighbors know who you are and that you are a professional roofer.
They also provide let others know that the homeowners chose to hire you over your competition.
This kind of testimonial will help you get new business.
When you have your business cards and roofing estimate forms, order some door hangers, as well.
Keep them simple, easy-to-read, and straightforward.
When you notice a home that looks like it could use roofing repair or replacement, simply leave a flier on their door handle.
Whether you opt for permanent lettering or a simple magnetic sign, it’s important to identify your work truck with your business name and phone number.
This is another way to let the other homeowners in the neighborhoods where you work know who you are and what you are doing.
Even if Internet marketing isn’t interesting to you if you have a personal Facebook account, set up a Facebook business page for your roofing company.
This will help you show up in the search when someone Googles your business name.
Include your phone number, a few sentences about the services you provide, and anything that sets you apart from the competition.
There’s no reason to spend a lot of money on marketing when you are just starting in the roofing business.
Don’t hire an agency or marketing company.
Many new roofing companies grow quickly without wasting time and money on expensive advertising.
How to Get All the Information You Need to Make Your New Roofing Business an Instant Success
Are you excited about starting a roofing business?
This is just a brief overview of everything you need to know before you start.
Avoid making mistakes that could set you back thousands of dollars by learning how to start a roofing business from people who have successfully accomplished the task.
For those who are serious about starting a roofing business, we recommend the Roofing Business Blueprint.
With the Roofing Business Blueprint, you will enjoy specific instructions on how to make a roofing company business plan as well as actionable tips on starting a roofing business that will put you ahead of your competition.
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