You’re tired of working for someone else and want to be your own boss. You’ve also got a pretty good head for heights and are quite good with your hands. Starting your own roofing company could be a great way to develop a successful business.
This guide will walk you through the essential steps to starting your own roofing business, from developing your business plan to winning your first clients and everything in between. By the end, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to start building the business you’ve always wanted.
Evaluating the opportunity: is starting a roofing business right for you?
Roofing can be a lucrative field, with replacing the roof on residential homes costing $11,500 on average, and sometimes as much as $80,000. However, it also requires physical labor and the ability to solve complex problems. Here are some things to consider before starting a roofing business.
The pros to starting a roofing business:
- High demand. Roofs always need repairs and replacements, so there’s constant work.
- Low startup costs. You don’t need an office or expensive equipment to get started.
- Flexible schedule. You can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want.
The cons to starting a roofing business:
- Physically demanding. Roofing requires a lot of climbing, lifting, and manual labor, which can take a toll on your body.
- Seasonal work. Although roofing needs attention year-round, the majority of work takes place during the warm summer months. You’ll need to plan for slower periods.
- Liability concerns. As with any contracting work, you’ll risk accidents, injuries or property damage, so you’ll need proper insurance and safety measures.
Obtaining proper licensing and permits: navigating regulations for roofing contractors
Proper licensing and permits are an essential step when starting your own roofing business. Here’s what you’ll need to do to operate legally.
Do your research
Check with your state’s licensing board to determine what licenses or certifications are required to run a roofing business. Many states require a general contractor’s license, like California’s C-39 Roofing Contractor license. Some states now require roofing-specific licenses, like Alabama’s roofer license. Make sure you understand all the requirements before proceeding.
Obtain the necessary licenses
Once you know what’s needed, apply for and earn the required licenses or certifications. This typically involves passing an exam that checks your roofing knowledge and skills. Many states require a certain amount of experience, so you may need to work under a licensed roofing contractor first before applying for your own license.
Apply for permits
For each roofing job, you’ll need to obtain the proper building permits from your city or county clerk’s office. Requirements vary in each location, so check with your local municipality. Permits ensure your work meets building codes and safety standards. Failure to obtain permits can result in legal trouble, so make this a priority for every job.
Renew and remain in good standing
Most licenses and certifications need to be renewed periodically, often every 2-4 years. Stay up to date with renewal requirements to keep your credentials active. It’s also important to maintain a good reputation by providing quality work and service. Unresolved complaints or legal violations can jeopardize your licensing status.
Building a business plan: setting your roofing company up for success
A solid business plan is essential for turning your roofing company idea into a reality. Here’s what you need to build a convincing business plan.
1. Consider your market
Start by evaluating your target market and ideal customers. Will you serve residential or commercial clients? What is your competitive advantage? Low cost? Premium service? Niche expertise?
2. Estimate your finances
Develop financial projections, including income statements, cash flow, balance sheets, and key metrics to track growth. Estimate costs to get started like vehicles, tools, marketing, and insurance. Seek funding through small business loans, crowdfunding, or investors.
3. Create a marketing plan
Next, plan how you’ll promote your business and reach new clients. Include a professional website, social media profiles, and targeted online ads, as well as traditional methods like direct mailers, home show booths, and networking. Think about your sales strategies, like offering free inspections or financing options.
4. Set clear goals
Laying out concrete goals and actionable steps will set your new roofing business up for success. Set both short and long term goals, like gaining 5 new clients per month or expanding into new areas within 5 years. Break down goals into actionable steps, and review/revise as needed.
Managing operations: key areas to focus on when starting a roofing business
Once you have your business plan in place, it’s time to work out how to manage the day-to-day operations of your new roofing company. Successful roofing businesses establish effective systems and processes to keep things running smoothly, so here are some tips to bear in mind.
Find a space to set up your office and store equipment and materials. Look for an affordable option to start, like renting office space or a warehouse, but make sure it provides easy access for your work trucks and crews. You can always expand into your own building as the business grows.
Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to equipment. Instead, invest in high-quality equipment, tools, work vehicles, and safety gear that enables you to do the job safely and accurately. Regular maintenance and replacement schedules will keep your crews working efficiently.
Policies and procedures
Develop clear policies and document key procedures for all areas of your operations. This helps ensure consistency and high quality work, while also increasing trust among your customers. Provide thorough training for all employees so that they all know about your business’ ethos and principles.
An efficient scheduling system is essential for completing jobs on time and keeping customers happy. Most roofing companies use online scheduling software to plan estimates, book work orders, schedule crews, and track material deliveries. As your business expands, robust scheduling tools become even more critical to your success.
Set up a solid accounting system to properly manage your finances, including invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, payroll, taxes, and more. Many roofing business owners rely on software like QuickBooks to simplify their accounting and save them time on balancing the books.
Provide outstanding customer service at every touchpoint. From your first contact and estimate, through the actual work and any follow-up needed, make sure your customers feel valued and respected. Build genuine, long-term relationships and your business will thrive through word-of-mouth and repeat customers.
Focusing on these key operational areas will set your new roofing company up for success. Keep tweaking and improving systems over time based on feedback and experience.
Attracting customers: marketing and sales strategies for new roofing companies
Once your roofing business is up and running, it’s time to start attracting customers. Here are several effective strategies to gain new clients and keep the jobs rolling in.
Run a referral program
Offering referral bonuses or discounts is one of the best ways for new roofing companies to get new customers. Provide incentives for your happy clients to spread the word about your business, like a discount for every customer they refer. This way they get benefits, and you gain high-quality leads from trusted referrals.
Build your brand
Craft a unique brand for your roofing company with a recognizable logo and color scheme, and showcase it on all your marketing materials, including your social media profiles, website, business cards, company vehicles, and more. When you maintain a consistent image and message across all channels, it helps potential customers remember your business, and builds familiarity and trust.
Social media marketing
Every business needs an active social media presence nowadays. Set up profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to engage with your local community. Post photos of your work, share tips for roof care and maintenance, and promote current job openings to build your online reputation. It’s also important to respond to comments and messages promptly, to provide good customer service.
Search engine optimization
Optimize your company’s website to rank higher in search engines like Google, because higher rankings mean more visibility and traffic to your site. Focus on including keywords like “roofing company” with your city name in page titles, content, image alt text, and metadata. Update your blog regularly with helpful posts related to roofing, to give search engines more content to index.
Don’t forget tried-and-true advertising methods like lawn signs, billboards, and radio and print ads. You can place signs at your work sites to raise brand awareness, and sponsor community events to reach potential clients. While technology has changed marketing, traditional advertising still has its place, especially for local service businesses.
With a combination of new and traditional strategies, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful roofing company and attracting a steady flow of new customers.
Start a successful roofing business
Starting any company is challenging, but it can also be rewarding. Lay the groundwork by researching the licenses you need and creating a business plan, then develop marketing strategies and operational policies. With plenty of hard work and motivation, you’ll be able to start a successful roofing business and enjoy a steady income.