Any suggestions?

Hello to all! My partner and I have decided to start our own roofing company after a few years of working for other companies. My partner has more experience then I do, but I have the money to get us started. We recently purchased a building in our town for an office. We want to do some advertising, maybe a commercial. We feel that we should let people know that we do not sub-contract and that you can trust the local guys that are working on their home. I am 27 and he is 25 and we have high expectations for our first year in business. We are both going to quit our current jobs in the spring to start this venture. We live in the Lafayette/West Lafayette Indiana. One thing we are trying to figure out is what to charge the home owner per SQ for tear off and replacement. If there are any Indiana or Midwest guys out there that could give us some insight on this that would be great! Any suggestions in general would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Walt

Set an appointment immediately with a shrink.

Well first off, things WILL NOT go the first year how you want them to. All I can suggest is start small and dont expect to much right away. It will take time to build your name. I started with one guy who worked with me at another company who I trusted entirely to be on a job. While he was working I was making sure we had more work after that job was done and when we did have more work, I was up there on the job with him and his helper. Do not be afraid to put on a tool belt and do the work yourself if you have to. Do not expect to be off the roof at 25. One thing that may be hard for you guys to do is to sell. It is hard being young and walking into an older mans home and convince him that you are the best company in order for his needs to be fulfilled. I am not saying you aren’t good at it but from looking at your website you guys both look as young as you are and some people have a hard time accepting that someone so young knows what they are doing. The first year I only did about 150,000 in sales and by the 3rd year I was up to 500,000.

If you guys do good quality work, give a good impression, look and act professional your name will get around. Youll be alright.

This is going to sound saracastic. It’s not meant that way. I’m posting this in an attempt to help you:

This appears to be the most prevalent set of keywords for your site " background=“” " and similar.

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Do you suppose anybody googling for a roofer will actually type that query into google’s search box?

You fella should join google webmaster and learn some seo. I’m not good, but I get targetted traffic.

This is a bit saracastic.
Where is your truck? Can you really carry a 40’ ladder on the car/wanta be a truck?

The market is tight right now find a good nitch and work it good luck i received good advice from a roofer once 1st get a good accountant pay him well and a tax planner as well. Cash flow is not profit keep you fingers off,the tax man comes every year, And family is most important especially when starting out they tell some one and so on.And there are there for you remember and when it seem like theres only darkness at the end of the tunnel by a flashlight and sellsell!!

actually tax man comes 4 times a year!!!

Yeah i know how many times he has his hand out as they should just giveing info.

The biggest favor my bank loan department did for me in my first year of business in 1985, was to turn me down for a $ 28,000.00 loan that I felt that I needed to buy a newer truck and some other equipment, like my first hot tar kettle.

I had to build up my own equity and work out of my house and garage.

Your first mistake, besides not already knowing the market conditions and the pricing needed, was to lay out funds for an office/shop building without any feasible income in sight.

Don’t even bother asking what someone else charges.

My fees include overhead that you don’t have. Very few contractors have the same business structure.

Speak with an accountant and understand the tax liabilities.

This one is important. Contact your local S.C.O.R.E. chapter and get a free business mentor.

Do the labor yourselves at first and then when you build up a reserve fund, start off hiring one or two guys to help with the work burden.

Do you know who your targeted market will be?

Will it be New Construction projects?

Will it be commercial flat roofs?

Will it be residential re-roofs and/or tear-offs?

Why should someone hire you, instead of the next guy?

Why are you better? Do you have more experience or will you just be the cheaper option?

What references for previous customers do you have? What about when you worked for someone else?

You need to let us know more information about both of your backgrounds, but pricing help from me will not help you in any way.


Well so far thanks for all of the advice! A little more about us. We both worked for one of the most well known roofing company’s in our area, they have been in business since 1910. Jason my partner worked with them and ran a crew for a total of about 5yrs. I worked there for a year, then I worked with a small roofing contractor for a summer. Honestly I was just a tear off man, lay the felt and haul the shingles across the roof. My partner knows the job inside and out. I have been away from roofing for about five years now, I’ve been in cellular phone sales since, but do side job with friends throughout the year. I’m good with people and have been selling our roof cleaning service for most of last summer. I am ready to get out of the office and outside, I don’t mind busting my a** to make a living. As for our target projects we would like to focus on residentail re-roofs. Another thing we are going to have training for is a cool roof application system for flat roofs. But we don’t want to turn away any business as long as we can complete the job with quality workmanship. We wont have any references from any customers for actual roofing jobs, just the cleaning’s. I guess that is a reference tho. Let me rephrase something I said previously, we will quit our currents jobs when we have a few jobs in place. We have a couple of small contracts signed already. Nothing to get really excited about tho. As for the prices to charge for a job I was just reaching for an idea, I completely understand that no roofer is the same or has the same overhead.

I think we would be estatic to pull $150-$200k in sales our first year! Thanks again! Walt

I think there’s alot of us that hope that no matter how much we pull in…there’s something left.

My suggestion is to stay as small as you can and sell as much as you can…one good reference is all it takes to get one more…

If you do start “making money” dont buy things like a motorcycle or a boat with it. Reinvest in your company for the first few years.

First step is hire a good accountant that will care about you…not just type numbers.

So i assume you will be the saleman and your partner will do most of the installs?

You dont have to be a good roofer to be a good roofing salesman. As long as you understand the process and can explain what your company will do (in great detail). You must be able to build trust and act confident with the homeowners to win jobs. Not always about price.

When I said that our first year was around 150,000 I meant that for the whole company. Most of my money goes towards other things than my pocket. Like Marshall said, the only way to get where you most likely want to be is to put that money into your company. Put it towards more marketing, towards learning new things, stuff like that. When I figured it out what I made for that first year or so an hour was something like 4.86 an hour. Thats including ALL the time I spend towards the job such as driving to customers homes and hours on the jobsites myself, that stuff. I hope it works but do not quit your regular job until you are sure you can make it work. It might be to hard for you to get your job back if you do

No no! I didn’t misunderstand the $150k figure. We want to grow our business, so if that means putting the money back into it then thats what we’ll do! I want to be able to eat to! I will be the one who sells most of the jobs. I will be on the roof too at least for a little while. I am confident that I can educate the home owner as I attempt to close a sale. I feel the more the home owner understands the more they believe in you and your company. I had success this past summer using this technique with the roof cleaning. I’m not really the kind of guy that blows my money on crap either, I like nice things but that comes with growth. Thanks! Walt

How much, giving a good range and figuring a walkable pitch roof, do you get for roof cleanings per square foot?

Your truthful answer may show if you have the nads to sell a bigger ticket item.


We start pricing @ .50 cents a Sq Ft. And have Charged upwards of $1.00 per Sq Ft. A low pitch roof would be on the lower end of the pricing. Thanks Walt.

we average in the $3-$7 sq foot range for residential asphault depending on details.

Wow that seems like a great profit for your roof cleaning. Maybe its the difference In the markets, but that would be completely ripping off the home owner
in this market. The average roof cleaning for us takes just a couple of hours to complete. I really enjoy explaning the issues with the roof stains and why the home owner should have them removed… I believe that I will feel the same way when I start bidding jobs, I hope anyways. We’ll see. Thanks again, Walt.

thats not for cleaning…haha…thats for roof replacement.