Starting Up! Need advice from some of theSeasoned Vet's

This posting board has been a God-Send! Just found the site couple nights ago and find myself up til 3am everynight reading.

Thanks to Ranch Hand, Axiom, and RooferJ, I’ve been able to soak in a lot of new material. Thanks so much for sharing guys. It still blows my mind that you guys are so open to share from experiences and tricks of the trade.

Starting out. Plan to build up the foundation in the Residential Re-roof market. Safest. I do have some knowledge. Worked for a local roofer for 4-5yrs running the install crews, making sales, measuring. Learned a lot, got away from the business and find myself wanting to get back in, this time for myself.

Having trouble generating business. Only 2 roofs in the first month of business, from past referrals. All insurances, paperwork in place. Doing this right from the start. Subcontracting with a crew I’ve known for 8yrs. Marketing the heck out of subdivisions with business card magnets and flyers after storms on houses w missing shingles. I figure I’ll get lost in the phonebook amogst 50 other contractors.

Any tips on generating leads are very much appreciated.

Should I get into the Insurance business work? Profitable? Storms hit 3 wks ago. I got to some neighborhoods first, some guy (StormChaser) came in 2 wks after and landed 20+ roofs in the subdivision in a week. He knows something I don’t about landing the Insurance deals. Any tips on what SILVER WORDS to use with the adjusters? Are these customers I want, or should I stick to old roofs needing replacement?

Million questions. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks for all your posts, reading as much as possible. I want to get this off the ground!!!

hello G8rB8
just wanted to say 2 roofs a month aint bad theese
good luck in your business.
answer the phone, and youll be allrite.


Lead generation is tough when you are starting out. Make sure you take good care of the customers you get. Referrals from satisfied customers will be the best leads you can get (and usually easiest to close - even with solid profit built in).

Where are you in Tennessee?

GatorBait (yeah, I noticed that),

It’s possible that the other company flooded the neighborhood with flyers a day or a week before you did.

If you are serious about hitting the storm business, It’s not enough to just leave flyers. You already walked up to the door, why not knock & see if someone is home? Yes, the odds aren’t as high that someone will be available during the day, however nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Me, I’d save $$ on the magnets & only give them to customers I already sold a job to.

Yard signs for the two you signed up; use these two houses as an example (especially if they are in the same area). Yard signs are good so when you talk to someone, tell 'em “We’re doing the Brown’s house over on 1st Street & the Smith’s house on 2nd Avenue”… the yard sign helps in this association. When it comes to spending $$ on big ticket items where name brand recognition isn’t high, people want to know that someone else jumped in the water before them & the water was fine.

I used to offer a $ 50.00 bonus to people if they gave me a referral, but found that my good work sold just as much. When you’re first starting out, you may want to try this.

For doing insurance quotes, I also offer free DL drip edge & up to 30 ft. of Cobra III ridge vent - provided they are paying the full deductible. For insurance, your BIG money comes when you get the customer to completely pay the deductible.

Which brings up another possibility on this other co. They may be giving steep deductible discounts or upgrades from a 20 year to a 30 year shingle.

On the 2 jobs that you’ve already sold, AFTER YOU COMPLETE THE JOB & COLLECT, ask the customers if they got other estimates & if so, could you please see them or even have them? Compare your estimate to these other co’s to see how you are in price, in detail, in language, in professionalism, in specifications…

I’ve seen some estimates that looked like the sales guy used crayons on toilet paper… it was that useless.

“Remove bad roof, put on new roofing. 4,000.00 total, 2k up front, $ 2k when done.”

That kind of nonsense looks bad, but that’s often the kind of guy who is low balling.

If you want, I can send you my estimate - it’s an Excel document that I edit as needed. One thing, though, is don’t get caught up in having to re-do a doc when you can possibly get the sale right when you’re in front of the customer. A lot (lot) of good contractors lose sales because they miss out on buying signals from the customer. I went out on a repair estimate yesterday (7.33 squares, porch on a 1870’s Victorian) & signed him up right then 'n there.

If you’re a one man band like I am (I also use a sub crew; had them with me for 5 + years now), you have to be 1/3 contractor (quality control, occasionally swinging a hammer), 1/3 sales & 1/3 office manager. Organization is the key.

What end of Tennessee are you in? If you’re not in a large(er) town like Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville or Bristol, how far are you from there? Larger urban areas will give you more houses vs. sparse countryside where they can’t probably handle another roofing co based on population.

Also, you mentioned 2 houses. 2 Since when? Don’t limit yourself to total re-roofing. Go after repairs. There can actually be more money in repairs that whole roofing (exception: insurance, because in my area, they pay more than ‘retail’ competing quotes).

If you are close enough to an urban area, advertise on CraigsList. Look @ other CL ads & try to set yourself apart. Look up “basic HTML” on the interwebtoobs & dress up your ad a bit, but not TOO much so it looks gaudy.

That should give you a start. There have been a LOT of questions posted here that are almost identical to yours. Try to look them up with the search function & see if you can get some more info from those.

Good luck.