Serious Advice


I have spent several hours over the last few days reading on this web site. I have found it both informative and funny. I have decided to ask for your advice about my current situation.

A relative is a roofer and good at it. He knew he could open his own business and make more money. My husband and I decided to invest in his business by buying him a truck to do the job and one hell of a dump trailer. Over the last few weeks I have decided he is not a people person, doesn’t know how to run a business or 0et business.

My husband and I are already self employed so we know how to run a business and hussle to get the business. We know NOTHING about roofing. I have talked to several insurance agents and Lowes about getting work and finding out what I would need to know if I created a roofing business. The response I received was positive but now I have learned that the insurance is obscene. Another factor is there is very little new construction in our area and have had no serious weather that would demand alot of tearoffs.

My question is do I continue to try to get him work (which would require me of investing more money for insurance)? This way I could make some extra money plus get my investment back OR

Do I work out an arangement with another local contractor to get paid a commission for my leads but inturn would guarantee this relative some work?

I have already got around 15,000 tied up the downpayment for the policy is 1200.00 and around 400 each month. I assume that the comission would not be as much if I just created my own business. OR

Do I resposes it all and sell it

Any advice or suggestion I would really appreciate.



Where are you from?

What kind of business are you in now?

This trade does not make you into a people person. We spend most of our lives in extreme tempertures. 150 degrees and 100% humidity. 20 degrees and 30 mile and hour winds. You might have 30 days a year that are perfect working weather.

This trade lets us be alone. We work along side a few others, yet we are loners for the most part.

You come off a roof and you need space and time to unwind. No matter what how good you take care of yourself, you will be dehiadrated most of the time.

So it takes a lot to work on a roof and run a business. Most can not or will not do it. The lore of money makes people try it. Ego keeps them from getting out before they lose everything they have.

This will either make them bitter or make them a very good employee.

I have been able to be both a roofer and a businessman. I came off the roof at the age of 51. Not because of health. I have no back problems. I still can out work anyone who works for me. It has only been a year. I came off the roof because my business needs me running it.

I can tell you this. I am a roofer. Roofing comes natural to me. I am a businessman. This takes effort and disipline. I have employees that need me to be a businessman. This will insure that they have a good paycheck, health insurance, vaction, IRA…

My employees appreciate what I do for them. I do know that they also think they have the hardest job. This is just the way it is. Until you run a successful business you can not imagine how hard it is.

He may be a natural roofer. You may make him bitter by pushing him into this.

We do wholesale repairs for the jewelry industry.
We are in Tennessee
I am not pushing him. Him is pushing me to help him more. He realizes that he does not have the self confidence to walk through these insurance places and introduce himself and ask for the work. So he is not working. Which in turn is not helping me pay the bank back for the money I have borrowed for him.

I am just unsure if I want to become more involved in something that I thought I was a silent partner in. Involved more in time and money.


So he is looking to reap the rewards of seeds he is not willing to sow.

This is why I would never go into a partnership. He has nothing invested. If it was his money, he would do what needs done. Just like you are willing to do what needs done to save your money.

The more you invest, the more he will reap. His hand will always be open.

Sell the truck and trailer. Cut your losses.

IMO, if you REALLY want to make a go of this & you do want to try out the business end of roofing, you have GOT to know the practical (onsite / physical labor) end of the job.

Get out on @ least 2 or 3 roofs & lend a hand here 'n there. You don’t have to shoot nails, but you should @ least understand the process.

Hand out some shingles, truck tools & accessories up & down a ladder all day… hold up some new fascia for nailing while someone else has done the measure, cut, oops! measure a new piee & cut again… etc.

Then you can get an idea of whether or not you want to try & manage a roofing business in addition to your other endeavors.

Unless you live in a 5 county region with a population of less than 40,000 & there are already 10 established roofers in the area, there IS a demand for a roofer who does quality work. The trick is to find that niche & exploit it properly.

Here are my questions…

WHo is going to sell if he can not ask for the job?

How far are you willing to go in debt to get his dream off the ground?

How much time do you want to put out until you get your money back?

Personally if he does not want to get the work, put up any money and hustle to make it all come together you may be looking at a dead horse. So far you have 15k into to this without insurance you MUST have. If this guy is as good as you say he is and you can get the work and you dont mind the time you have to put forth then by all means do it. But without work you are just spending moeny you do not need to spend.

You will have to advertise to get into the big time and not sub work. This will make more profit than just doing work for lowes and places like that. Concider you will lose money for the first year or two. IF you can handle that then keep it going but it sounds to me that this guy wants all the work done for him so he can just shingle. I agree with Lefty, sell the truck and anything else you have purchased.

I worked my butt off to get my business started, in an area where I knew only a handful of people.
All my friends and family are 130 mi away.

If you really want to give this a shot you will probably need to hire a salesman that knows about roofing.
This is usually something the owner of the business does at the start, the salesman usually comes after the business is already established.

If your relative is unable/unwilling to go out and get the work, this business is not likely to go anywhere.
After your initial investment for truck, tools, and insurances, it is up to him to find and
sell the work ( you are a rather generous relative IMO ).
Then to do the work in a professional and timely fashion.
In my area this is a bad time for such an endeavor, your area may be doing better.

If your relative has people on the payroll and is not actively looking for work, you are going to go through a lot of money quickly.
With no return…
It is hard enough already for established experienced roofers to get a decent wage, this requires people skills, sales skills, and a good reputation helps tremendously.
I doesn’t sound like you have any of that going for you…

Your relative may want to try being a sole proprietor.
This requires much less overhead, and a smaller volume of work.
Here he can focus upon high quality, high detail work.
There is good money here also, once he finds the right clients.
If you just put an ad in the newspaper and phone book, then wait for the work to start rolling in, he will starve.

If the homeowner senses that he has no self confidence, they won’t have any confidence in him either.

Both post were great.
The first one particularly. :smiley:
My parents never told me I had a twin brother in PA.

That is the conclusion I am trying to lead you to also.

Hi Axiom,

I don’t need no freakin’ signature, I Am Roofer.

That says it all with attitude. LOL I knew we were the first time I read that.

You made me spill my coffee Lefty. :stuck_out_tongue:

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I know that my questions have nothing to do with this site but I also realized that I needed a roofers opinion.

I wish all of you success.