Starting a new business in any industry is both exciting and stressful. Starting a roofing company definitely falls into that category: exciting and scary.
In roofing, many installers start in the industry, work for a few years, work their way up in a business, and then leave to start their business. Sadly 96% of new roofing businesses fail after 5 years, for a few different reasons.
Having a good plan, thinking ahead, and setting up processes early on can prevent you from failing in the roofing business.
In this blog, we're diving into starting a roofing business, including:
- Steps you need to take to legitimize your business
- How to build a roofing business plan (and why they're so important)
- Tools you need to start a roofing business — including roofing software
Make your roofing business legal
Before you do anything and start advertising your business, you need to make sure you're running it legitimately. That includes things like...
Registering your business:
Becoming an official business entity not only keeps you and your employees safe, but also safeguards your customers. Hopefully, this task was item number one on your to-do list.
You’ll need to decide what type of business entity (limited liability company, S Corp, Inc., etc.) is best for your business in the state you’re registering in. See what each has to offer, as everyone’s tax and liability protection needs are different. Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll be able to follow the next steps to become a registered business with an official Employer Identification Number.
Being a formally registered business makes your relationship with the IRS or CRA much easier — remember to stick to ethical operations, and you’ll be fine! Becoming an official entity has other advantages too, like if you require funding or merely need a line of credit for tools and supplies.
You may want to expand down the road and need help from investors or banks. Many businesses also opt to finance materials and tools early on — just remember to be responsible when borrowing!
Acquire licenses and insurance:
Though not all states have licensing laws, it’s best to have as many credentials as possible. This includes local business permits to all types of insurance. General liability insurance and bonding are critical as these keep your business and customers safe in case something goes awry.
This may be more on a job-by-job basis, but it still rings true. Make sure you continue to legitimize your work long after you're new and fresh. Each state and area has its own permit rules, so familiarize yourself with yours.
Train your staff:
Working from heights training, fall protection courses, first aid training, WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), and any required training are needed to keep your team safe. These aren't a one-and-done task either. Some of these need to be repeated every year or every few years. Again, keep up with it to stay legitimate.
Building a roofing business plan
A well-crafted roofing business plan is essential for a successful roofing business.
The purpose of a business plan is to help you outline your goals, strategies, and financial projections on paper. It ensures you think about everything you need to kick off your business and can act as a road map for the first 1-3 years. Successful roofing companies don't just happen. They take planning.
Your business plan should be well thought out, and not slapped together over a day or two.
Here's what to include in your business plan:
1. Executive summary:
The executive summary is a snapshot of your entire business plan, providing an overview of your company, its goals, and how you plan to achieve them. It should act as a brief summary and outline your business. You can write this last.
2. Company description:
The second part should be a description of who your roofing business is. Include:
- Your mission statement
- Company vision
- Your values
These points can help to guide the rest of your business plan and keep you grounded in WHY you're doing what you're doing, and the type of legacy you want to build.
Include in here the type of roofing you do, or any other services you provide.
3. Market analysis:
Next, you'll want to look at where you're going to be selling. The more you know about your selling market, the better prepared you'll be to sell in it.
Do this ahead of time to inform your marketing strategy and help you have a strong kick-off. It can even impact the branding you use!
You'll want to look at:
- Homeowner demographics like age, income, household size
- Average age of homes
- Homes sold in your area
- Competitors in your area, as well as their strengths and weaknesses (who is the big guy in your area?)
US census data is a great resource for this, but you can use local data as well.
4. Organization and management:
Are you hiring admin staff? Do you need any workers? Maybe you want to contract out installers for now. Whatever you decide, include it here.
5. Services and products:
This is where you want to specify what services you're offering and what products you'll use. call out everything you want to do, like:
- Roof installation
If you want to offer any additional services like gutters, siding, attic insulation, etc. include that too.
For products, will you use GAF, Owens Corning, TAMKO, Atlas, or another shingle manufacturer? Lay all that info out here, including warranties.
6. Marketing and sales strategy:
You should lay out your initial marketing plans, and then 1+ year plans. You won't want to jump into all marketing channels at once. That'll be too much.
When planning your marketing strategies, think about where your target market is. For example, newer homeowners in a younger demographic are on Instagram while older homeowners would be using Facebook groups more.
Other things to include here is your plan for:
- Branding, colors, name, and logo
- Business cards
- Referral programs
- Email marketing
- Social media strategy
- Local SEO and Google Business accounts
Outline your sales process and strategies for generating leads, converting them into customers, and fostering long-term relationships.
7. Financial Projections:
Be realistic in this. Including startup costs, revenue forecasts, and projected expenses in this. This will help you work backwards on what you want to earn down to how many jobs you need to book.
If you're going to look for investors and lenders, they'll want to see that you've thought through your financial plan and have a plan to profit.
If you have any additional supporting documents, include them at the end. This could be market research data, resumes of key team members, legal documents, and supplier agreements.
Hiring tips for a new roofing business
Your team can make or break your roofing business — especially one that is just getting started.
Bad workers can damage your new business by doing poor installations and treating homeowners badly. Because roofing relies heavily on referrals and word-of-mouth, low-quality employees can potentially destroy your company before it gets started.
Here are some of our top tips for hiring for your roofing business:
Prioritize teaching and educating beginners:
Training people to be great means you're teaching them the way you want them to work, and earning that loyalty long term. Then, those new employees become experts and help you build a strong business.
Lean into your network:
You don't want to poach people, but your network of roofers may know contacts who are looking for a new gig.
Provide a great work environment:
If you want to hire high-quality roofers or admin staff, then you need great workers to WANT to work with you. Yes, that means pay, but also work-life balance, vacation, benefits, good co-workers, etc.
You need people, yes, but don't rush too much to hire. Again, your employees help you build your company. It's okay to be picky.
Look for hard and soft skills:
high-qualityHard skills are things like installing experience, computer knowledge, etc. Soft skills refers to social skills, emotional intelligence, and work ethic. Be sure to look at both. For both admins and laborers, those who possess solid soft skills will be the best equipped to collaborate and grow with the company.
Make sure you have the right equipment
Having the right equipment at your disposal is key to delivering high-quality work. You'll want to look at the tools you'll need — big and small — as well as software.
By tools, we mean...
- Nail guns
- Ladders, including a ladder hoist or something similar for moving shingles
- Safety equipment
- Generators and air compressors
- Pry bars
- Hammer tacker stapler
- Blades and/or utility knifes
Do your research on power tools, such as roofing nailers, to make sure you get the best one for the job. If you're starting off with experience in the industry, you probably have a preferred brand already.
Invest in roofing software
We live in a digital world. To build an efficient roofing business with proper processes in place, great customer experience, and an organized admin office, you'll want software.
At a minimum, you'll want a tool to track your leads and monitor job progress. You'll want to be able to see who has signed their contracts and who has paid for their roof. You may also want an email marketing or customer communication tool.
You can physically go to a home to measure a roof, or you may want to look at a satellite measurement tool. Satellite roof measurements help you work more efficiently and save time and gas money when quoting a customer.
You can build out quotes and proposals in a document, or you may want to look for a more high-end software that helps you build beautiful digital proposals.
Roofr is a roofing software tool built for roofers. This software does everything: Satellite roofing measurements, digital proposals, jobs tracking, material ordering, customer invoices and payments, and customer communication.
If you're a new business and you want to hit the ground running with the only software you'll ever need, then you should check out Roofr.
Starting a Roofing Business
Starting a roofing business takes a lot of work, but with dedication and a solid business plan, you can be successful. Be sure to think proactively, be realistic in your goals, hire good people, and choose the right software. Before you know it, you will be a growing roofing company, ready to expand.
For more business tips and tricks, check out these blogs:
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