Foundations of How to Start a Roofing Company.
If you want to know how to start a roofing company, I think I can help you out.
I’ve been a business owner in construction for years. I’m president of Jurin Roofing Services, founder and CEO of Construct-Ed, and a business and leadership coach.
Before we get into it…
This article is specifically designed to help you think through starting a commercial roofing company, right out the gate. There are slower, more conservative ways to start which we wrote about here – teaching how to become a contractor by starting a side hustle, gaining experience slowly, and growing bit by bit overtime into a bigger company.
That article covers how to become a contractor in a lean, low-cost way. So be sure to read it in addition to this one, in order to get a fuller picture.
Ready to jump in?
Let me start by asking you a question:
Are you a roofer? Maybe you are a foreman, superintendent or project manager? You may be wrestling with the idea of starting your own company instead of working for someone else. Being an employee of a roofing company takes a different set of skills than owning and leading a successful roofing company.
Deciding to start a roofing company is a big decision. There are multiple factors that must be considered before you leave your current job and begin contracting work. Knowing how to start a roofing company is just as critical knowing the trade and products that the company will deliver to your future customers.
Roofing companies fail for many different reasons. One of the biggest reasons why roofing startups fail is because the owner of the business did not know how to start a roofing company. As skilled as they may have been as a roofer, they lacked the knowledge required to get the business started correctly.
Roofing is a specialty construction trade. While roofing is very different from other specialty trades including masonry, electricians, and carpenters successful businesses behind each of these trades has 9 key zones that need to be covered in order to operate a successful roofing company.
Let’s take a look at the 9 Key Zones that owners and leaders need to be able to cover in order to get their roofing company started off right.
“How to Start and Manage a Successful Construction Company.” WATCH PREVIEW
Covering 9 Key Zones
There are 9 Key Zones that construction entrepreneurs need to cover in order to start a successful roofing company. Let’s look at these 9 Zones.
1- Business Management and Leadership
Knowing how to start a roofing company can be a challenge for most roofers. Roofers are skilled craftsmen. They are skilled at solving leak issues and installing new roofing systems for their customers. Bringing together the components of a successful roofing company takes equal skills. In order to be successful, roofing company owners must be able to continue to learn and grow in order to build their businesses.
2- Insurance and Risk Management
The roofing industry has an element of risk that cannot be eliminated. Roofing company owners must be skilled at being able to control the risk associated with operating their businesses. There are four ways to be able to handle risk. Successful roofing contractors understand the risk associated with their businesses and handle the risk accordingly. They involve knowledgeable and skilled safety and insurance professionals in their business to help control the risk.
3- Marketing and Business Promotion
Starting a roofing company requires bid and sales opportunities. Without opportunities there are no projects to be able to contract. Even with referrals from family and friends, getting a successful start for your roofing company will require you to be able to generate opportunities. This will require a focus on marketing and promoting the roofing company to the community and prospective customers.
4- Project Cost Estimating
A key element of contracting work is knowing how much to charge customers for your services. Starting a roofing company is dependent on you being able to determine estimates and pricing that will be competitive with other contractors. In addition to providing the basis for pricing your services to your customers, estimates also give you the ability to know how much the project will cost the company to complete.
5- Selling for Your Roofing Company
J.C. Penney is quoted having said “Salesmanship is limitless. Our very living is selling. We are all salespeople.” When you choose to start a roofing company, you move into a full-time sales position. Every action that you undertake is part of the sales process. Learn to exceed customer expectations, not just meet them. Communicate effectively through the sales process.
Learn how to start a construction company more in-depth. WATCH PREVIEW
6- Managing Operations
Selling construction work is similar to fishing. There is an excitement in the bid and sales process. You work hard to bring the project in. But once you land the big project you have to know what you are going to do with it. Many companies fail because they over promise during the sales process but under deliver when they transition to delivering the scope of work that was sold. Successful roofing companies understand how to execute the work that they have sold.
7- Leading Your People
There are some that attempt to start a roofing company without employees. While there may be certain circumstances where this could be possible, chances are very good that in order to be successful you are going to have to bring employees onboard. And when you have employees you are responsible to lead and guide them effectively. There are certain compliance requirements including OSHA and state specific requirements for your employees. If your company is to grow, you must build the skills of your core team.
8- Financing Your Company
Operating a successful roofing company requires working capital. Cash will be necessary when you decide to start a roofing company. The amount of cash that you have available may be a limiting factor on the size projects that you can contract. This can also impact the credit terms you receive from your suppliers and your bank. It is best to work with a bank and your accountant to help establish your financing for your business.
Many roofing companies fail because they are not skilled at reading financial statements. They fail to track their expenses and keep an eye on the profit of the business. In order to start a roofing company and be successful, the business owner needs to select an accounting system that can track their expenses and provide timely reports. Waiting until the end of the year to find out if there was any money made makes it impossible to adjust course.
Knowing how to start a roofing company requires a completely different set of skills when compared to the skills required to be a quality roofing contractor. There are many skilled roofers who may not have the skills to lead a successful business.
If you believe that you are someone who possesses the necessary skills to start a roofing company and be successful Construct-Ed offers two courses on getting started.
The limited course provides an oversight for the start-up process.
The full course takes a more in depth look at the start-up process as well as explores the 9 Key Zones more extensively.
“How to Start and Manage a Successful Construction Company.” WATCH PREVIEW
I really like that you talked about accounting for financial statements. This is a useful skill to make sure that your roofer has. My sister would love knowing this since she just moved into a new home and is thinking about getting roofing services.
Thanks for these insightful advice! I agree, to own and run a roofing company take a different set of skills. I completely concur with this statement, “Many roofing companies fail because they are not skilled at reading financial statements.” If you are a long time roofer and planning to build your own company, I suggest to partner with someone who knows how to build and run a company.
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Hey CHRIS! great post, I think to you define a very initial level to start a roofing company and an end. The third point is very crucial for advertising.
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