Hello roofing talk, names Theo. I am a salesman in Houston Tx currently working for my neighbor he’s the owner of the buisness. He’s a good guy but I’m getting tired of hearing him nag at me. He’s a good boss but I don’t like being bossed around and I want freedom from him and start my own. I’m a experienced salesman and know my numbers like the back of my hands and already know the sub contractor I’m going to be using we have a good relationship so that’s checked off. I under supplements and pretty much everything business wise and close all my own deals. I really want to start my own business I think about it everyday and have a good amount of money saved. I just want to make more profits I’m currently at 50% and 50% supplements. The pay is good but I want to walk away with more and get away from my boss, he has a good boss mentality but he got lazy and fat and now has a big head and I’m the one who started everything with him and he hasn’t sold a roof in forever I’m the one keeping the business rolling. I understand I need insurance and other few things to start I want some tips on what I should do to start in the right path to start my own. Right now the business is great but I don’t want to make my boss rich I want to make my self rich. Please any professionals that went thru the same thing please help a young guy out. Any help is much appreciated.
Learning the proper use of the English language comes in handy when running your own business, especially the insurance side of things. Doesn’t take much to start in the roofing business if you’re going to sub everything out. Perhaps $10,000 or even less is enough to get going. Being able to stay in business is another matter altogether.
To be blunt, you sound like it is all about the money. And without question, nobody does this stuff for free. You also sound a bit like a legend in your own mind. When I see someone posting like you post about your boss/company owner, I can’t help but wonder what the real story is. Rather than spend half your post wasting the Reader’s time telling us how bad your boss is, why don’t you get over it and ask some real specific questions. Any help is much appreciated is a bit ambiguous, don’t you think? If you’ve thought this through to where that’s your only question, my recommendation is to keep working for the Boss you apparently despise.
Sounds like you have it figured out, “getting tired of being nagged, he’s a good boss but I don’t like getting bossed around, he’s a good guy, he has a good boss mentality, etc.” Sounds like a good time to go out on your own. I’m guessing your boss would have an opinion on you as an employee also.
I think we wrote those posts simultaneously and we definitely “know that guy”.
I see that. Great minds …
I thought this was a business forum not somebody that’s going to judge me from where I’m coming from as a employee. You don’t know my story about what’s been argued between me and him so yeah I just want to start my own that’s it. I’m 23 yrs old and of course I got confidence to start my own business, how do you think people sell roofs with no confidence? so why are you judging my confidence? Hmmmm sounds like I should take my questions to another page then telling me I should stay where I’m at… Thanks
You asked for our opinions, not any specific questions. So you have it. You think selling is about confidence? And you think running your own business is about confidence? Great pal, strut you confident ass out there and have at it. Then you may acquire some experience, real knowledge and hopefully, humility. Confidence has bankrupted more businesses than it has made.
But have at it. You’re in a good market but with tons of competition. I’m sure you can pay deductibles and confidently give free upgrades with the best of them.
Once again someone asked for advice and didn’t like the answers given. IF you ever run your own successful business you may see things from a different perspective. It was humorous when you said your boss had the “big head”. I do get it though because we were all 23 once and I cringe to think about how I handled myself then.
Since I’m on vacation and in a good mood, I’ll provide you with some advice despite your attitude.
Write out a business plan. In detail. Most importantly, plan your cash flow. Consider all the things you absolutely have to have and calculate the cost. Also include your own cost of living expenses. Double the time you think it’s going to take to start bringing in cash. Double the amount of money you think it’s going to take. This gives you some chance of surviving the first 6 months. Even though writing out a business plan is tedious and painful, force yourself to do it. In excruciating detail.
Form an LLC in the State of Texas before you do anything. Open a company bank account. Get an Accountant. Run your business legitimately. DO NOT mix business and personal money or the shield offered by the LLC will be meaningless if you are sued.
Purchase a General Liability policy. I don’t believe Workman’s Comp is required in Texas as absurd as that may be. Protect your Customers.
How and where are you going to get your first 5 jobs? From what you’ve posted, I’d suspect you’ll figure out how to pilfer them from your existing company. Don’t. Do it the right way.
Make a commitment to always operate your business with 100% perfect integrity. May sound silly but I believe it is the key to real, long term success. No compromises. You’ll sleep better and over time, develop real, earned confidence.
Cash is king. Build your cash reserves. Don’t grow too fast and spread yourself too thin. Most businesses go out of business due to cash flow, not lack of profits. Be conservative, be patient. Instead of immediately spending your new found money on fancy trucks and other frivolous crap, put it in the bank. Reinvest in the business. If you build a solid financially sound reputable business, the money for personal luxuries will come in time. Just remember, the business comes first, your personal needs come second.
There’s tons of other stuff to do but those are basic fundamentals. Do those and the other stuff will likely fall into place. Recognize that most homeowners are going to be very leery of trusting their house to a 23 year old with a start up business. If you show the same attitude to them that you did in your posts here, you’ll be done before you ever get started. That’s where the humility comes in. Show maturity and respect. Be positive. If you were trying to sell to me, I asked about your previous company and you told me the crap about your boss, I would tell you to hit the road. Act like a mature adult not a know it all punk.
Excellent post AD. How come you are not in Belize?
My Son is relocating to this area in Florida. With our Granddaughter. We are looking ahead to retirement and will likely purchase a second home in the general area, hopefully in the next month. We have another child and Granddaughter in Indiana. So we’re looking to split time between the two places moving forward. My wife and I are both sick of the cold weather.
I hope to be partially retired from the Construction business in 2 years and totally in 3 to 4 years. We’re working out a buy/sell agreement with a couple of key employees. I hope my little software venture grows to where I can focus on that for awhile to have something interesting to do. I don’t want to get out of the business as I want more time to spend with family and enjoy life. Travel a bit and see some places we’ve never seen before.
Look guys I just want some help. I’m not trying to act like a know it all punk I’m a down to earth guy and I love roofing and helping customers, if I didn’t this wouldn’t be the right business for me, that’s why I want to start my own because I know I can do this and I know I can get buisness I’m in the perfect area and I’ve sold a good amount to tell my self I need to keep doing this. You guys are probably thinking I’m some kid who wants to get rich and ride around in a 80k truck and blow all my money. No. I want to live a decent simple life and keep doing what I love but for my self.
- I should have that down I don’t spend a lot on stuff just gas of course, already have my ladder and cougar paws and a good running truck
- And 3. I can handle just need to get that stuff together and do it.
- I’m already in a great area for roofing and know all the honey holes.
- Of course you have to be a humble person and understand the home owners and make a connection so they can trust you, that’s what I’m good at and always have happy customers. But of course you learn more and more along the way.
- Like I said i want a simple and secure life, the way I am now I like to save my money and spend it on what I need for work. Currently saving for a house so I drive around in a 2000 Ford that runs great. You could say I’m not going to spend all my money on materialistic junk. Maybe once I know I can live a little yeah but right now I’m trying to get my life together and do what I love. Thanks for the info I will definitely start writing down a good structure plan of everything that needs to be done
Hello young Theo!
I am a middle-aged successful roofing contractor, with over 25 years experience and a business degree. I am a second generation roofer, whose father was an old-school union roofer, with no business skills to be had; his idea of management was to scream at you and call you an idiot until you did it his way. I started on my own company just a few years older than you…in a car with a fold-up ladder in the trunk, after my father died unexpectedly. I now do multi-millions of dollars in sales, travel, have top-notch men, and a great reputation in our local industry. Here’s what I would tell you:
Firstly, you are likely underestimating what this venture will take; it’s impossible that you’re not because of all of the unknowns. This is a tough, expensive business!
You will need excellent credit to get started, as you will not be able to bootstrap all that is in need.
Read everything roof related you can get your hands on: every mfg. has detailed instructions…you probably think you know all the requirements for your product (read the literature to find out what you thought you knew). Youtube has plenty of good info available too…get in touch with the material reps…they are a great source.
Learn how to jobcost. Search that term online and master that craft. You ever wonder why and/or how the big guys get away and/or charge what appears to be such high prices? They do it because they know their numbers, their growth needs, their risk, their training costs, the costs of retaining good men, possess legit insurance costs, keep things legal, and they’re aware of the discount rate on their investments…and they know their opportunity cost by doing jobs too cheap versus being elsewhere.
Use that confidence you mention to get the right price from your customer. Do not assume that price is king…IT IS NOT. Our customers buy US more than anything. What’s the ideal US? A company that operates legit, provides the best service they can via training and knowledge, and operates with integrity and honesty. Truth be told, I am probably the most expensive roofing contractor in my area, yet probably the busiest too. Why? People want piece of mind and someone they can trust! How do you get trust? Integrity (what you do when no one is looking), being genuine in your desire to help people, taking good care of your employees, delivering a professional image (more on that next), and keeping it all legal.
Image is entirely important! You need to have a legit work truck…not some old beat up truck that serves to be cost effective and/or save you a truck payment. If you can’t afford a truck payment, you’re not in the right line of work. Buy yourselves some uniforms, work on your online reviews, build a cheap website to start that looks professional, get nice business cards, do everything the customer can see especially well (we get a lot of props from our customers by just going the extra mile to clean up after ourselves and by not leaving materials or debris in the customer’s sight), make friends with your customer at every moment possible; referrals will come as people want to promote and help their friends. Educate your employees as to what’s expected, and to always be extra courteous to the homeowner. Smiles go a long way, especially when us roofers are usually a rough bunch. Your estimates need to be presented in a professional manner, with detailed line items of what’s proposed, and your warranty limitations should be clear to be transparent and to protect yourself.
Call a local Human resource firm, and have them do your payroll, hiring compliance issues and whatever else is in need for your jurisdiction. This service will typically run a couple percentage points on top of your payroll costs, but it will keep it honest and safe.
Get yourself operating with limited liability, such as an LLC or S corp. You do not want to be self proprietor. Next, get a business bank account.
Market yourself: Create every free online profile that you can: BBB, Angie’s List, Google, Yelp, Linkedin, run a constant ad on Craigslist (my worst customer, but you gotta start somewhere), Yellow pages online, flyer neighborhoods in need, etc. One old roofer taught me the 6 pack rule years ago: you knock on each door next to the house you are working on and the 3 across the street, introduce yourself, give them a card, mention any roof trouble visible from the ground, and offer your assistance should any debris fly into their yard or if any trucks need to be moved. If they’re in the market, they will ask your customer about you…so make sure to always impress.
Educate yourself! Get your smart on! Read Dale Carnegie’s “How to win Friends and Influence People,” Michael Gerber’s “E-Myth Revisited,” do an online search for the greatest business books ever written and read them all! I am partly successful just because most other roofers are so dumb! Haha! It’s true my friend! Too much sun and no sombrero!
Go ahead Theo! Kick some A$$ !!!
You have just been given the perfect blueprint for success and if you adhere to it you will make a good life for yourself and your family, regardless of bumps along the way. It is a long range plan and WILL pay off. People spend thousands of dollars to attend seminars on this and you just received it for free. I don’t know Roofer Dan but he sounds very knowledgeable. I do know AD, (from this site and years of reading his posts). Read some of his history; anyone with a good sized business in this trade who is 100% debt free?? That is a huge accomplishment and not many contractors of any size can make the same claim, (me included). It motivates me to achieve the same success.
this site is holy grail for aspiring roofers like me,so many actual sharks of industry share knowledge on all levels for free,for years,i still have to dig 7-8years worth of posts to learn ropes.
I have been roofing for 35 years, in business for 24 and I feel the same. I also know that there are things to learn from people like you that care about the trade even though you haven’t been involved as long. Plus you have a good sense of humor and say crazy shit sometimes.
Thanks for the awesome and inspiring reply roofer dan! I know this will not be a easy journey and I still have a lot to learn but that will come along the way and I know I need to start learning how to do invoices and handle the supplements and the leg work behind the company, not going to lie I am nervous of starting this company but I know everything is about taking that next step. I don’t plan on starting out hiring a lot of people I want to sell for my self and start slow pace, what do you think about that? Last night I ready your reply and started planing out my business plan and calculated everything to start up is around $1300ish? That’s cheap. I can handle the expenses forsure. But like I said start out small and do what I can handle, I can do inspections, sell, handle the claims, and do the paper work and invoices is the only thing I need to learn which should be easy and doing the supplements… I’m very professional and keep my imagine clean cut and always treat people with respect so I think I can keep the business flowing but for my self not for my boss who keeps treating my percentage and saying he will fire me if I don’t sell enough and I don’t like that because I’m the only one selling… I’m the one who’s making him money at the moment and he acts like it’s not enough and he doesn’t do a thing except the paper work and bank stuff. I know I can do that I’m motivated to learn. He’s already lied about a few things and I brought it up to him and he denied it and ever since he’s been treating me differently and threatening me about my position and I’m the only salesman other then another guy who I brought in. I know I will stick with him for a few more roofs but eventually I want to get away and do my own. What do you think?
You should be nervous. You will most likely go into the roofing dustbin based on your replies. It’s all on you at this point and your future is not bright. Sorry to not be a cheerleader but have witnessed a lot of flameouts and you, as of now, seem to be a candidate.
How long have you been working in the industry, and how long for your current employer?
Welcome to the forum! I started a company 2 years ago and I’ll share a it of my story of truly starting a company. Not every company starts like this, but this is what can potentially happen…
I lived in an RV in a trailer park until recently to ensure I minimized my living expenses. Why was this necessary? Because I couldn’t pay myself for the first 9 months. Insurance work means you won’t get paid for a while, the ACV may be $1,300 and you may have an 8K material order & 6K in labor. That math down add up. Can you afford to float that on 10 roofs?
I also roofed the houses myself for the first 6 months; with a small crew and remember no pay for me. This was during the summer (storm season) in the desert. Also NO subcrews would work for me because I didn’t have 24 roofs ready and they were already working for other contractors. After the crew went home I knocked doors to sign new business until dark. Then I did office work for about an hour every night after the commute home.
The supply house had a bunch of drivers quit on them in the beginning of storm season. So I had to pick up the materials myself when they opened. Had to arrive @ 3:30am (1hour before opening) because several other crews were doing the same thing since deliveries were 4 weeks out.
So every day I loaded my 1 ton truck with 16 SQ and then loaded the roof with the crew and then roofed until 4 pm and knock doors until dark. For 6 months… But I had no option. I needed the depreciation payments quick to float the new projects since the ACV payments didn’t usually cover the full cost of roofing the structure.
The point of this brief story is that you need to consider that you need a lot of f*cking money or an understanding that you need to consider what you are willing to do to ensure your company survives. That means: your crew gets paid, tour suppliers get paid, your customers pay your, you pay your taxes, you keep your license in good standing, and your life doesn’t fall apart until the process. That means you may work your ass of and not get paid a dime until your reach a point of critical mass. You could go bust before then too. If you aren’t willing to face the music don’t buy a ticket to the show. But if you are, good luck to you! I worked every day for a year and didn’t get paid for most of it. That is why these guys are warning you about being all about the money. My life is amazing in my opinion today. I don’t swing a hammer. I smile, negotiate, shake hands and sign paychecks; but that took a bit of time. I am not to the point some of the veterans of this forum are, but the joy is in creating. Good luck, the forum is here to help if you need it!