Hello, all. First time poster, been reading for a long time though. I’m an experienced commercial and residential roofer, been a foreman and run service vans for years now. My wife and I are preparing to start a small scale residential company and we have all the licensing, insurance, equipment, financial and logistical matters taken care of at this point. My plan was to have myself act as the project manager, sales person, and owner. For a small company with only a few crews is it feasible for one person to generate enough sales to keep us working or should I investigate the need for adding a sales person? I know my advantage right now is low overhead and I know a salesperson would take out alot of my profit. But I’m wondering if you more experienced owners and salespersons think one person can keep a few crews working. Thanks in advance for any advice!
I don’t see how 1 person could consistently keep multiple crews working and do all the other things you spoke of. I don’t see how you could consistently keep one crew working. I guess it depends on what you consider “crews working”. So I’ll say it differently. I think it would be tough, under most circumstances, for one full time Sales Rep to sell 150 SQ of Residential Work per week, every week, week in, week out.
I do think one very hardworking person can generate a very comfortable income doing all their own selling. Here’s the problem. As you sell more, you become busier with the other aspects of your business. So you have less time to sell. You end up with a roller coaster situation then. Sell, then build, sell more, build again. That is a very tough way to sustain a business and crews.
Over time, assuming you develop a reputation for great quality and customer service, it becomes more possible to sustain a one person operation. Even then, I think, it will be difficult.
How much one person can sell depends on the market you’re in and how many leads your company is generating for the Sales Person(s). Lots of variables. I would say to start the company with you as the primary Sales Person but keep your eye out for a good Sales Rep. In my humble opinion, finding good Sales Reps is the most difficult aspect of this business.
My strongest recommendation is to save your money and invest in a good third party to handle SEO, Google Ad Words and Social Media. Put money into this area to generate quality leads instead of hiring a volume of dead beat Sales Reps that will milk you dry. Get a top notch Sales Rep and they’ll be able to close a high percentage of these leads. Between 2 top notch Sales Reps and yourself, you could manage to do $1.5M to $2M a year and have a rather profitable company.
Gotcha, thanks for the reply. It was incredibly helpful. The plan is the have my wife who is the finance manager of the operation work from home on the things like invoicing and material orders while I would be in the field actively selling. Do you think then that if I put the money into the ad leads etc that this would be sustainable for one crew until I add more sales and crews to production?
Mark, again, it will depend on your market and your crew. I think you’re under rating the challenge of selling that much. Also, understand the SEO and Google ad words are expensive to be done correctly. And if it isn’t done correctly, it isn’t worth spending a penny on. We use Aaron Oder’s company. When we started using Aaron 2 years ago, we rarely got a lead from our web page. I didn’t even know what Google Ad Words was really. YTD, over 40% of our business is coming from the work Aaron has done.
There’s a lot of guys out there that promise you first page, tons of leads, etc. and take $300 to $500 per month for a year and delivery nothing. Finding a really top person is difficult, we’re fortunate to have found Aaron.
I consider myself to be a very good salesman with a closing ratio of well over 85%. In a storm I can sell enough to keep 3-4 crews busy, but I couldn’t do that without my brother (who is my partner) running production and an office aid taking care of insurance ppwk and keeping track of my to do list and answering the phones, returning emails, managing social media etc. On top of all that, I work 16-18 hrs a day to be able to pull that off. I now have sales guys and the extra I have to pay them is worth the trade off.
My point is, keeping that many crews busy comes with a lot of extra work other than just selling enough squares.
Hey, this was an A1 response. You seem like an intelligent business owner, would you mind getting into more detail on how you find salespeople, handle your online marketing, etc? I’m sure this community would appreciate would appreciate it, I know I would !
AD was eluding to earlier I believe. He has been posting for years and has covered these topics alot. Try reading his post history if you can find it.
Thanks RooferOhio! Nuno, as RooferOhio recommended, scroll through the history. I’ve posted a lot on topics such as selling, estimating and supplementing.
To briefly answer your questions, we have been paying a headhunter to sift through all the coal to find a diamond Sales Rep the past 9 months. There are a lot of strategies and variables, I think it depends on what kind of company you have, what market you’re in, what your target Customer base is, etc…
We use a third party I found 2 years ago for our online marketing. He has done an incredible job for us. We have 3 offices in different states so it is even a bigger challenge than it would be for most. We obtain leads from our main web page (not so much), city/landing pages, blog posts, SEO, Google Ad Words and targeted Facebook Ads.
Our guys have worked hard to take lots of good photos (many drone pics, highly recommended for marketing) and Customer testimonials. I’ve written most of the content. Aaron, our SEO expert, takes that, adds all the SEO stuff (keywords, backlinks, etc.) and makes sure it meets Google requirements. Most of the so called SEO experts out there are scam artists and will 100% waste your money. Aaron has transformed our business in a two year period of time. If you’d like his contact info, feel free to PM me.
I’m also in the process of creating a web app which will be tools for Roofing Contractors, especially those doing insurance work. You can get an idea of what it is about at the Facebook page Restoration AI Waste Calculator I created a simple Excel based waste calculation tool over 8 years ago that is used by hundreds of Contractors across the country to be paid correctly on Insurance Claims. That tool evolved to where I decided to turn it into a Web App as there got to be limitations in Excel for what I could do with it.