How to Start Your Own Roofing Business while avoiding the mistakes made by so many So many roofing companies close their doors before they even get going. Yet, starting a roofing business is not hard to do when you can spot and avoid the pitfalls. In summary, here’s how to start your roofing business successfully: Plan Not to Fail. With all the lists of what to do, what to get and where to get it, how come more new roofing businesses fail than succeed? Avoid error #1.Hire an accountant.Know Before You Go. It’s vital to see how much it’s going to cost before you start your roofing business. Only then will you know how much you’ll need to stay afloat and turn a profit.Establish costs and pricing.Protect Yourself. Select sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or LLC (limited liability company). Consult your accountant and your insurance agent.Register, license and insure your roofing business.Don’t Overspend. A desk in your spare room, basement or garage and a phone in your pocket will get you rolling. Buy tools only as roofing jobs require them.Ignore new equipment when used will do.Recruit Wisely. You want roofers who know at least as much about roofing as you do. You’ll most easily find them in and around roofing supply stores.Hire the best and fire the rest.Sell Well. Your future depends on how well you sell. Honing your sales skills at every opportunity is time well spent. The better you are, the bigger you’ll be.Create a great looking sales kit. Promote Without Advertising. There are lots of things you can do before spending on advertising. Entire businesses have been built on truck and lawn signs.Invest in your signage.Don’t Bite Off More than You Can Chew. Learn from those who’ve been there, done that. Pursue only low-liability jobs you know you can do profitably.Decline high-risk work. Plan Not to Fail With all the available online advice, all the lists of what to do, what to get and where to get it, how come more new roofing businesses fail than succeed? The answer, like all truths, is simple. Because nobody points out the pitfalls. Once you’ve decided to go into the roofing business, the first thing you need to do is avoid the biggest pitfall of all and … Get an Accountant It’s the secret ingredient you need from day one. Meet with a good accountant, perhaps one referred by a trusted friend, and involve that person right from the start. Then — before you spend a cent on equipment — create a plan that clearly states your business goals and how you intend to achieve them. You could also contact a business consultant or check in with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB); but the first thing they’ll likely tell you is, “Get an accountant.” Establish Your Costs You have to know before you go. It is absolutely essential to determine how much it’s going to cost before you start your roofing business. Direct costs like materials and labor are easy enough to figure out, but soft costs such as administrative and marketing expenses must be considered in order to merely break even. With your accountant, work out the cost of everything: Vehicle.Equipment.Registration.Insurance.Operational expenses, including labor wages and salaries.Small website.Promotional material, including signage and stationery.Administration.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. In addition to your accountant, look for a mentor who has been there before you and succeeded. Roofing manufacturers like IKO will be only too pleased to help and they are not in competition with you. On the contrary, it is in their best interest to see you succeed and they have the experience to do precisely that. Register Your Business Set things up well with the government. When registering your roofing business, it’s also a good idea to register a “doing business as” (DBA) name. A catchy trade roofing business name can carry far more commercial value than a family name when it comes time to sell in the future. Decide whether you want to be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company (LLC). Consult with a lawyer in your area to see which entity is best for you. Register in the U.S Register in Canada Licensing Get the authorization you need to operate. Contracting licenses for roofing businesses differ for each jurisdiction. To determine requirements in your area, check with state/provincial authorities. Local business permits may be required for each municipality you work in. Contact city hall to find out and obtain such permits when needed. Local government bodies might also demand approvals on zoning, planning and safety inspections. Insure Your Future Protect your investment. Roofing is a rugged business in which accidents and injuries can and do occur. Insurance provides the means to financially protect your company, your employees, your customers and yourself against damage to life and limb, destruction of property and lawsuits. While you will always need general liability insurance, each state and province have different insurance requirements for roofing contractors. To ensure the protection you need for your roofing company’s security, these are the types of insurance you should examine with your insurance agent: General Liability Insurance – Covers damage and injury to parties other than your employees.Workers’ Compensation – Covers work-related injuries to employees. Requirements vary from state to state, dependent on number of employees. This is required in all provinces.Professional Liability Insurance – Protects your business against lawsuits.Personal Liability Insurance – Protects you in case of injury.Vehicle Insurance – Protects your work vehicles.Equipment Insurance – Protects your investment in tools and equipment. 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. Round Up Your Equipment Never mind new when used will do. Equipment and tools to start a roofing company will depend on the type of roofing you provide. Residential roofing is cheaper and the easiest way to start. Commercial requires more capital. Equipment will probably account for the largest portion of your startup costs. So, buy tools as jobs require them and never spend more than you have to during startup. Don’t buy a new truck when an old one will do. You may be able to get a good used one for under $10k. Here are some basic items you may need: Truck.Roof rack.Ladder.Safety harness.Nail gun.Hand tools such as a shingle hatchet.Power ladder (optional). Choose Your Suppliers Meet all those nearest you and take your pick. Decide the type of roofing material you want to work with. Asphalt shingles are recommended to begin with; they are the most common and most in demand. You can purchase builder-grade shingles for quality installation or premium laminated shingles, which typically cost more, but look better, usually offer a longer limited warranty term, and may allow you to sell jobs for more money. Now talk to the roofing suppliers in your area. Check to see if they’ve got what you need, if there’s a delivery or rooftop charge, that you can buy on credit, and look for special rebates or promotions from manufacturers. Go with the supplier that best fits your needs. Hire Your Crew Hire carefully, retain the best. One of the best ways to hire new roofer employees is to talk to the people who come in and out of supplier stores. You preferably want people who know at least as much about roofing as you do, and this is exactly where you’ll find them. Ads on Craigslist can also pay off. Hire carefully, checking credentials, then keep the best and release the rest. When hiring employees, you can apply for payroll accounts through the Internal Revenue Service or Canada Revenue Agency website. Train Your New Hires 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. You’ll find roofer safety issues in the U.S. thoroughly addressed at www.osha.gov. In Canada, the “Working at Heights” Training Course is required for all roofers in Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, with regulations for the entire country posted at www.fallpro.com. Sharpen Your Sales Skills Your future depends on how well you sell. You’ll be wearing every hat from director to driver when you first start your roofing business. But your most important role is going to be sales. Honing your sales skills at every opportunity will be time well spent. The better you are, the bigger you’ll be. Create a Good-Looking Sales Kit Show what you’ve done in the past. For sales presentation purposes, keep a record of your customers, the jobs you’ve done, where you did them and ask for reviews with permission to publish. Make an attractive presentation folder containing photos and references that you can show with pride – “before and after” pictures of some roofs you’ve installed can be a great visual sales tool. Create a gallery of best work on your phone or iPad as you go. Select Your Method of Payment Start with cash. With everything in place, you now need to decide how you want to be paid. Cash and perhaps checks are definitely a smart way to start. As your business grows, you can appeal to more customers by accepting credit and debit cards. This is easily done by contacting your bank and opening a merchant account. In the US, you might also consider the latest trend of working with a finance company like GreenSky to offer preapproved loans for your customers. Promote Your Business Don’t pay for advertising till you’ve maxed everything else. To get those roofing jobs coming in, there’s so much you can do before spending money on advertising. Some of the cheapest strategies would involve: Well-signed vehicle – big name, big phone number and web address.Small mobile phones website, which you can create by filling in online templates.Lawn signs — same as your truck signage — for every roofing site.Free business listing on Google and other online directories.Registering with HomeAdvisor/HomeStars. The more reviews you get, the more customers you attract. Tell prospects “Look us up on HomeStars.”Free Craigslist ads. Your next step up the sales ladder would be to create, print and distribute door-to-door flyers throughout every area in which you work. Words to the Wise Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make your roofing equipment pay for itself before you buy more.Pursue only those jobs you can profitably complete.Focus on low liability sloped roofs and less on flat roofs, which may require open-flame torches. Don’t ignore the off-season. If you’re going to do business in a four-season climate, figure out how you’ll stay solvent during the downtime. Options to consider include: Set aside money to pay off-season expenses and bills.Create related work to fill in the gap — e.g., attic insulation.Toughen up for four-season roofing, to the extent feasible in your area. Don’t get caught short for sales tax money. It’s so easy to use sales tax money as it comes in. But remember, it’s not your money. Wherever you’re required to collect sales tax, you’re going to be required to account for same to the government. If you haven’t got it, you’re in a jam: Set up a proper business account for your roofing company.Discuss the merits of a set-aside account with your accountant.
In need of roof maintenance and wondering what it costs? You may also be wondering what exactly roof maintenance includes. Maintenance of your roof includes a few different things that we will cover in this article. In general roof maintenance includes: inspections, general roof repairs, debris removal, gutter cleaning and mold removal (among other things). To determine whether your roof is due for maintenance, it’s best to contact a professional roofing company. They can come out and do an inspection and provide an estimate. Then they’ll schedule a time to come out and do the maintenance or repairs. Safety is the top priority when doing roof repairs or roof replacements. It’s important not to take on this job if you do not have experience in roofing. While it may seem easy to just brush away debris, climbing on top of your roof is a safety risk in and of itself. It’s important that you take all safety precautions and leave it to the professionals. Importance of Roof Maintenance It’s important to maintain your roof so that you can keep its integrity and not have to pay for costly repairs or potentially a replacement. Performing routine maintenance can save you money in the long run. Some of the maintenance is something that you can do yourself at home. But if you don’t feel comfortable, or if you don’t have the right equipment, you can always call a professional roofing company to perform your maintenance for you. The overall benefits of roof maintenance are: Preventing further damageKeeping the integrity of your roof in checkRegular monitoring of any damage to your roof These benefits are important in keeping the structure of your house in good health. If your roof is compromised, then your whole home could be compromised. It’s important that you keep your roof well maintained regularly. What is Roof Maintenance? There are several things that roof maintenance includes. Your roof needs regular maintenance because it helps to keep your roof in good shape. If you skip out on your routine roof maintenance, you’ll be paying for it eventually in the form of repair costs and/or a roof replacement. Roof maintenance general includes the following things: General roof repairRoof inspectionGutter cleaningDebris removalMold removal These are just a few things that maintenance generally includes. Let’s take a more in depth look at some of the things that are included in roof maintenance. Keep reading to learn more. Debris Removal This is something that most homeowners CAN actually do themselves (as long as it doesn’t require getting up on the roof yourself). If you have a tool that can reach your roof, you can easily remove debris pile ups on top of your roof. Debris gets on your roof from wind or rain and if you don’t remove it it can become a bigger problem. Mold Removal You should also be sure to regularly remove any mold from your roof. Mold can quickly spread to other areas of the roof and your home, causing more damage. You can use your hose to gently spray away any mold or moss build up. If the mold is too widespread, you may need a professional roofer to come get rid of the mold for you. Gutter Cleaning Gutter cleaning is an important part of roof maintenance that many people don’t think of. However, if your gutters are left unclean and unattended to, it can cause harm and potential damage to your roof. You can clean your gutters using a hose and gently remove debris from your gutter. Or you can use a ladder to remove all the gutter debris by hand. Be sure to use safety measures if you use your ladder. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, contact a professional roofer. They can take care of your gutters for you. General Inspection and Repair Roof maintenance also includes general inspection and repair. You should get your roof inspected at least once a year. In Florida, we recommend getting a roof inspection annually and after any severe hurricane or natural disaster. In a roof inspection, a roofer will look for any loose shingles, loose nails or bolts, loose flashing or anything out of place. If they notice anything amiss, they can often repair it on the spot if it’s just a matter of something loosening that needs repaired. How Do You Know if Maintenance is Enough? Now that we’ve covered what routine maintenance on your roof includes, it’s time to talk about how we know if maintenance is enough. In some cases, maintenance is not sufficient enough to repair the damage and a full roof replacement is needed. The best way to determine whether you need to invest in a new roof is through a roof inspection. Your local Lakeland, FL roofing company, Residential Roofing Depot, can provide you with a free roof inspection and estimate. Just give us a call and we’ll get you on the schedule. In the meantime, there are a few factors that can help you figure out if a roof replacement is imminent or not. Keep reading to learn what these factors are. Roof Repair vs. Roof Replacement Getting your roof replaced is typically a much bigger undertaking than simply getting it repaired. However, it may be necessary if the damage to your roof is found irreparable upon inspection. A roofing company can come to your house and do an inspection to determine the scope of the project and what type of roofing services are needed. When you call Residential Roofing Depot, we won’t sugarcoat anything or exaggerate the damage – we give it to you straight so you know exactly what to expect. We’ll explore all repairing options before we determine it needs to be replaced, if it comes to that. We want to make the process as easy as possible for you. We know that re roofing cost is much higher than roof repair cost, so we work to provide you with the easiest solution available to you. Is it Time to Invest in a New Roof? Now it’s time to decide whether a roof replacement is necessary for your home. Your roof is a critical component of your home. If your roof was installed properly initially and it is still young, you probably won’t need to replace it. But if your roof is damaged and cannot be repaired, a roof replacement may be necessary. Replacing your roof in a timely fashion is important to the safety of you, your family and your home. You don’t want to leave any damage unrepaired because it can cause more damage or eventually cause the roof to collapse. To determine whether you need a roof replacement, look for these signs: Shingles cracking or curling: This is an easy one to notice. If you see damage to your shingles, give us a call.Granules are missing (bald spots): Bald spots in your shingles mean that they are not as durable as they once were.Attic has leaks or openings: If you notice that your attic has leaks or openings, it’s important to address this issue as soon as possible.Questionable workmanship: Your roof could be weak due to poor workmanship of your previous roofing company. If you suspect this to be the case, it’s important that you file a complaint as soon as possible. If you’ve seen these signs around your home or think it’s time for a roof replacement, call our professionals for a free roof inspection. We’ll assess the damage and let you know if it’s repairable or needs replacing. Work With a Roofing Company You Can Trust Residential Roofing Depot has a lot of years of experience in repairing roofs, roof maintenance and installing new roofs in and around Lakeland and Central Florida. If you think you are in need of roof replacement, call Residential Roofing Depot to get the best value for your hard-earned money. We will provide you with the best quality of service from start to finish. After you get your inspection with us, and choose us as your roofing company, we’ll be with you until well after your roof replacement is complete. If you ever have any questions during the process, we’re here to answer them for you. Whether it is about the quality of the roofing material or the quality of the installation, we provide you with the best of the best. You can feel confident that our roofing technicians will carry out the entire project with utmost competence, skills and professionalism. Residential Roofing Depot of Lakeland is here to help you with all of your roofing needs. Call us today for a free inspection and estimate for your roof repair or roof replacement costs. When you work with us, you can count on superior customer service and absolute attention to detail. Let us help you with your roofing needs. Work with a roofer you can trust!
Big-Name Retailers vs. Local Roofing Contractors When compared to big-box supply stores, local contractors and companies provide a better deal, a more professional relationship, and a higher-quality job. Here’s why you should think twice before going big-box. Hiring a local contractor allows you to find the best roofing expert possible. Local contractors compete to win your service through a combination of recommendations, reviews, local prices and local knowledge. Major retailers can drown negative reviews of their contract services behind generally positive reviews of their retail operations (two very different businesses), but local contractors have only their name and their portfolio of past jobs. By the laws of supply-and-demand, if a local contractor has a successful and growing business in your community, it’s worth getting a quote and checking out their testimonials. Beyond the quality of a local contractor’s craft is their expertise in the local area and the special needs of the community. For example, when a tornado struck the Dayton region in March 2019, hundreds of Daytonians were devastated by storm damage, including the Colonial Village, a large two-story brick apartment complex. Less than 36 hours after the storm, Enterprise Roofing reroofed and made water-tight the entire complex, which was only possible due to its dedicated team and demonstrated expertise. Hiring a local contractor puts you in control. When you go with a big name retailer for your roofing job, they hold the cards, set the prices and determine the contract. Because they have many roofing employees, you have no control over who actually ends up on your roof. In fact, the folks on the job can change from day to day, as can their consistency in expertise and experience. If something on the project goes awry, you have to go through a middleman, often calling an 800 number, to get it fixed. It’s not uncommon to spend hours on the phone with customer service representatives if a project doesn’t go as planned. On the flip-side, hiring a local contractor gives you complete control over your roofing job from start to finish. From the moment you shake hands and make a deal with your local roofing contractor to the final touches on your roof, you “manage” the project and have only one point-of-contact throughout the business relationship. After finding a local roofing contractor, he or she is accountable for work that meets your standards based on a mutually-agreed-upon contract. Hiring a local contractor makes for honest work. Your relationship with your contractor is just like a relationship with your barber or your babysitter. It should be based on mutual respect, trust, honesty and quality work. You should be able to call them whenever you need them. It may take some extra time to find the right roofer, but it’s worth it for an honest job that meets your expectations, and local contractors are your best bet. Typically, local contractors don’t have national brands or fancy TV ads. They are beholden only to the authentic reviews and recommendations of a community. It doesn’t get more honest than that. Own a business? Creating a relationship with a local roofing contractor is like having a reputable partner as a member of your team. They can work closely with you as an expert and consultant on commercial renovations in the local area, while tailoring their services to meet the unique needs of your business – a level of personalization and honest work you just won’t find at a big box store Hiring a local contractor gets you a competitive price. Big-name supply stores can set the price of their roofing services far above market value without fear of losing customers. To make matters worse, even if their prices are lower than local contractors, you’re actually still getting a worse deal. Why? Retailers pay their contractors only a portion of the commission, meaning the contractors are working at a rate so low, only new or inexperienced contractors are willing to take the job. For the highest quality, and most affordable roofing job from experienced experts you can trust, research the local contractors in your area.
Your building’s roof is an important component in the protection of the people, investments and things you care about most. Building a relationship with your roofing contractor is vital to avoiding miscommunications and keeping your roof in the best condition with the least amount of setbacks. By developing a long-term relationship with a roofing contractor, you have the reassurance that your roofing needs will be met and your business can continue operating with little or no interruption. Partnering closely with your commercial roofing contractor provides the following advantages: Communication – This is the most important tool when working with your contractor. Be upfront about any concerns you may have before, during, and after the project is finished. Let your contractor know what the best way to contact you is and be sure to answer as quickly as possible. Familiarity – When you build a long-lasting relationship with a trustworthy and reliable roofing contractor, the contractor comes to know your roof better than anyone else. Familiarity with your building’s roofing system saves time and money. Also, the crew installing your roof will record important details that will expedite any maintenance and repair work versus hiring a brand new contractor who won’t have access to those records. Prevention – A contractor who only gets on your roof when it leaks won’t be able to detect problems in advance. However, a contractor who maintains your roof regularly will develop a more intimate understanding of your building and will be able to detect issues much sooner, which will prevent them from becoming major problems. Trust – Having trust in your roofing contractor is especially important when allowing them full access to your building. Choose your contractor wisely and be sure to check their references and reputation when doing so. Once you have decided, spend face time working with and getting to know them. Reliable Service – Depending on your roofing contractor to protect your business is fundamental in building a successful partnership, especially in the event of an emergency. The better relationship you develop, the more you can expect timely, cost-effective, honest service.