Starting a Roofing Company (Checklist)

 

Starting a roofing company
 
 

Thinking of starting a roofing company?

There are a lot of factors to consider before starting a roofing company. Talented roofers too often make the mistake of launching a roofing business with a great understanding of the mechanics but little knowledge about actually starting a business.  At Repsly, we developed a checklist for starting your roofing business to ensure that you are considering all facets of creating a sustainable business before you dive in.

 

Our Checklist

  • The Right Expertise
  • Entrepreneurial Qualities
  • Capital for the Basics (Equipment)
  • Insurance
  • Permits & Licenses

 

The Right Expertise

  • Experience in Roofing
  • Knowledge in Business

First things first, don’t make the mistake of going into business without having both of these qualifications. Getting into the roofing business requires a significant amount of expertise in the product and services. Experts suggest that you have at least three years of experience under your belt. If you are a roofer who lacks in business knowledge, find a partner to fill in the gaps.

Entrepreneurial Qualities

  • Persistent
  • Networker
  • Risk Taker
  • Delegator

This might require some introspection on your part. There are hundreds of articles on ‘Top 5 Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs,’ but here are some of the most important traits of a successful leader of a roofing business. 

Persistence is incredibly important in the roofing business. Depending on the geography of your market, seasonality can make it unpredictable. Demand is also heavily dependent on the economic climate. Be prepared to withstand volatility.

Next is being a continuous networker. The biggest source of customers comes from referrals and word of mouth in the roofing industry. Building a name in your local network will be crucial to the growth of your business. Find networking opportunities around you and build relationships whenever you can.

Once you start to expand your business, the costs and liability will increase exponentially. In fact, roofing is one of the most dangerous professions – it has the fifth highest work related death rate among construction workers. By being in this business, you are accepting all the risks associated with it.

Delegation is also crucial to expanding your business. Do not build a business that revolves around one person unless you plan to keep it a one-person business. If you’re doing all the jobs yourself, you will not have the bandwidth to focus on the business. Your business should be able to operate without you in the equation.

Capital for the Basic Equipment

  • Starter kit: Truck, Ladder, Safety Belt & Suits, Nail Gun/Handheld Tools, Computer, Phones, Business Cards, Website

The amount of capital you will need depends on the business model – whether you are using subcontractors or employees. Nonetheless, it is completely possible to start with a very low overheard. As a matter of fact, many roofing business owners suggest slow initial growth. Allow your equipment to pay for itself before going off to buy more. Same goes with hiring processes. Hire slowly and fire quickly. Don’t just try to fill seats. Ensure that each of your new hires are trained properly.

It is also a common mistake to splurge on marketing and advertising your business. Advertising is going to be one of the most expensive expenditure in your business until you begin to get more referrals. Experts suggest to start small and local. Do your research, and test out the water before you emerge yourself in it.

Insurance

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Sub Contractor Liability Insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Vehicle Insurance

 

As discussed, liability is a huge issue for construction businesses. And each state has different insurance requirements for roofing businesses. To guarantee the protection of your business in case of an unexpected accident or lawsuit, there are several types of insurance you need to look at.

 

One is General Liability Insurance, which covers damage and injury to third parties who are not your employees. For general contractors, you need an Injuries to Sub Contractor Liability Insurance. Another important type of insurance is the Workers Compensation insurance, which covers work-related injuries to employees. You can also look at Professional Liability Insurance to protect your business from legal claims from your customers on your services and recommendations. Lastly, you also have the option to protect your work vehicles with a Vehicle Insurance.

Permits & Licenses

  • Local Business Permit
  • Zoning, Planning, Safety Inspection Approvals
  • State Contracting License

Like insurance, permits and licenses requirements depend on the city and state. The purpose of these licenses and permits is to enable to you to run and operate a legal business. Obtain local business permits from your town or city hall. You may find that you might also need zoning, planning, and safety inspection approvals in certain areas. 

For State Contracting License, you may need to apply for more than one depending on the type of work. Requirements and regulations varies regionally. For certain states you business may or may not need a license depending on the costs of the job. For instance, you can repair and replace roofs up to $30,000 per job without a license in North Carolina. 

Obtaining a license also may mean that you need specialized training, certificate, or proof of knowledge. Check with your state for more information.