Im starting a residential business and looking for advice

Hey guys, Thanks in advance to those who take the time to read the post.

The services I will be offering:

  1. Shingle tear-offs
  2. Shingle (3tab / archtitecture)
  3. Shingle layovers (even though I would advise against it)
  4. Re-sheeting
  5. flashing/counterflashing (chimneys ect.)
  6. Rubber roofing
  7. Rubber roofing repair/maintnence
  8. Soffit / Fascia

After working for a residential contractor for about 6 years I finally called it quits due to wanting more money. I now work in a factory and it has truly made me realize how much I belong on the roof. I plan to start my own residential roofing business within the next 2 years. The reason behind the long wait time is I have a family to feed and I am the sole provider for income at the moment. The fiance will be a nurse in 1 1/2 years making a fail safe to not lose everything if the start up is SLOW.
I have a pretty good idea on how to get things started I geuss im looking for advice to see if I am missing anything important, ways to get insurance work “im not a storm chaser”. What nifty programs could be used to make life easier “estimating, book keeping ect” Also any information on having employees like how much would it cost to employ 3 people legit without dishing out the dreaded 1099 form. The business will be located in “Illinois”

**Things to do:

  1. Register my business name.
  2. Get Insured + Bonded
  3. Get a residential license (Illinois law)
  4. Get tools / enclosed trailer.
  5. Start marketing. (website / business cards / newspaper ads / radio / door to door flyers / Anything to get my name out)**

Thanks,
Zach Newberry

[quote=“ZachNewberry”]Hey guys, Thanks in advance to those who take the time to read the post.

The services I will be offering:

  1. Shingle tear-offs
  2. Shingle (3tab / archtitecture)
  3. Shingle layovers (even though I would advise against it)
  4. Re-sheeting
  5. flashing/counterflashing (chimneys ect.)
  6. Rubber roofing
  7. Rubber roofing repair/maintnence
  8. Soffit / Fascia

After working for a residential contractor for about 6 years I finally called it quits due to wanting more money. I now work in a factory and it has truly made me realize how much I belong on the roof. I plan to start my own residential roofing business within the next 2 years. The reason behind the long wait time is I have a family to feed and I am the sole provider for income at the moment. The fiance will be a nurse in 1 1/2 years making a fail safe to not lose everything if the start up is SLOW.
I have a pretty good idea on how to get things started I geuss im looking for advice to see if I am missing anything important, ways to get insurance work “im not a storm chaser”. What nifty programs could be used to make life easier “estimating, book keeping ect” Also any information on having employees like how much would it cost to employ 3 people legit without dishing out the dreaded 1099 form. The business will be located in “Illinois”

**Things to do:

  1. Register my business name.
  2. Get Insured + Bonded
  3. Get a residential license (Illinois law)
  4. Get tools / enclosed trailer.
  5. Start marketing. (website / business cards / newspaper ads / radio / door to door flyers / Anything to get my name out)**

Thanks,
Zach Newberry[/quote]

Okay, I will answer. If you don’t plan on starting full time for another two years, you should have plenty of time to get your ducks in a row. I was thrown into the fire so to speak and got burnt early on, although I had experience managing another company.

The start will be slow. Trust me. You won’t have much a customer base if any and you will be competing against guys who have been around for awhile. Employees are expensive, especially in Illinois. I believe around 42% workmans comp. My employees cost me an extra 30k last year on TOP of their wages. Be prepared for that and be prepared to spend time on the roof as well as estimating and having very long days.

Take the time to get certifications through manufacturers. Although most roofers know they are BS, especially GAFs, customers appreciate it.

It seems you have everything else in the right order. Take time, create a website and all the marketing, and start to sell jobs. It only gets easier with time.

Oh yeah, have PLENTY of money. My first year I lost 50k but that is not even that substantial and can be made up rather quickly in this business.

ZachNewberry: Wish you the best of luck man. We are in a very similar situation to you. Still getting our start-up costs in order so we can write up a business plan. We are aiming for 2014.

I am interested in what some of the others have to say on this as I posted a similar topic.

What sort of capital are you trying to work towards? We too have a backup income from the ‘better half’ as a safety net. Its still nerve racking knowing our income on day # 1 will be cut in less than half.

Do you plan to immediately hire help to do the work or start off doing things yourself?

[quote=“roofer1018”]ZachNewberry: Wish you the best of luck man. We are in a very similar situation to you. Still getting our start-up costs in order so we can write up a business plan. We are aiming for 2014.

I am interested in what some of the others have to say on this as I posted a similar topic.

What sort of capital are you trying to work towards? We too have a backup income from the ‘better half’ as a safety net. Its still nerve racking knowing our income on day # 1 will be cut in less than half.

Do you plan to immediately hire help to do the work or start off doing things yourself?[/quote]

Personally I plan to make no more than 40k-50k per year. More will come with quality and time. Most likely will be less than the expected for the 1st full season untill people start saying “hey who did ur roof its nice, whats thier number” from my experience word of mouth is by far the best advertisment out thier but on the downside that takes time to establish. Luckily im known as a good shingler around here so I kind of have a head start. In the long run 2 crews. Ide like to have a shingle crew and a tearoff crew to run multiple jobs at a time to increase productivity. ex: crew1 tears off roof, felts roof, crew2 goes and shingles roof and so on.

Starting off I will be only having 1 laborer/shingler. I will try to stay on smaller jobs being sure not to bite off more than I can chew. Ide rather have the time to give quality work then have to just burn. Dont get me wrong I could handle 100+ square tearoff / shingle jobs but no homeowner wants u camping out thier for a long period of time. Average houses around here are 20-50 square those are what ill be bidding for. I know personally with a feeder I can shingle back 8-15 square a day all dependent on how big of runs I get, pitch of the roof, number of penatrations ect… From personal experience I know running 2 guys both tearing off and shingling 30 square houses are 2-5 day projects.

I feel your panic on taking the risk in cutting the income in half, but thats what business is about “risk”.

On another note I estimate to have around $10,000 in the bank after all my equipment is bought ect. Do you guys from experience think this is enough for a small operation like im planning?

Focus on what your do best…say compostion…you investment will be low, camparitively, and if your return sales are low, it will not hurt as bad.

If your focus is metal and/or specialty type roofs, then your investment will be higher and if your return sales are low, it will hurt alot.

Had a former supervisor start his own business in 2002. Focused on shingles only + repairs. He tears off and shingle most roofs. back then he would hire help from a selection of individuals (who were not hung over that day) to tear off. Then He would hire part-time shinglers to finish the job who would come in after their full days of work to shingle the roof off.

Of your course, when times got a little harder at times, he had to compromise some of his integrity and pay out under the table. one tactic when roofing companies go into survival mode.

Do as much of the work yourself as much as possible.

Zach,

I think you are on the right path. One question - will you be solo or with a partner?

Two things I suggest:

  1. Get a website and concentrate on LOCAL (Local SEO) marketing for it. while there is no “word of mouth”, a good website can get you steady work, almost for free. It works for us!

Here is a great source of info: getlisted.org - You should also go to their local university seminar next time it runs in your area - its a wealth of information from best guys in the industry for only $89. I actually drove form Boston to Syracuse to attend one, even thou I’ve been doing SEO / web marketing for years (with great success too). Still, it was worth every minute of my 11 hrs drive!

Two years will give you plenty of time for your site to start ranking and bringing in clients.

  1. During next two year you can start doing small jobs on weekends. You can start slowly getting required equipment - it will not be that much money for 2-3 guys. Biggest expense will be the truck/trailer (trailer not necessary in the beginning) and then hoist, which you can rent or put on credit.

This part-time roofing will also build you some reputation, for when you go all out.

If you have a partner, you won’t need WC insurance - only liability which will be about 400-600 / month, depending on your local rates (at least that is what we have here in MA).

Also, i wrote a post on how to start a roofing business - it may be biased, but you might pick up some useful tips there: roofingcalculator.org/how-to … siness.php

Good luck

1 Like

Thanks everyone for the fast responses and great advice I will take every bit of knowledge I can get from people within the business! I very much appreciate it.

LAMetalRoofs,
Thanks for the links and the advice I will definatley look into it all.
I do plan to keep my current job while working on the side “after im licensed” shooting to start that next season being this one is almost over + I hear that test is pretty brain wracking, better study :slight_smile: as far as the website goes I have started to create one myself bits and peices at a time. I have a temp free host ive been using to test some visuals / compatibility issues. Its got alot of work needed to get it complete but if u want to check out the theme and give ur opinions all are welcome. No hard feelings on feedback ide like honest opinions if it looks “business-ish / professional”. Im a new user and it wont let me post the url its ----> ((( ZachNewberry-me-pn ))) Replace ( - ) with (.)

[quote=“ZachNewberry”]

Business is not about risk. While there is risk involved in everything you do. I’d say business is about planning, preparation and minimizing risk.

If you’re planning on starting a cash bid type business, I’d say $10,000 of operating capital is woefully low. You’re one bad job away from being bankrupt. You may get by but you’ll be limiting yourself on the size and type of jobs you’ll be able to take on and until you build this up, you’ll only be able to take on one … wait to get paid … wait for check to clear bank. Most companies that never make it do so because of poor cash flow.

[quote=“Authentic_Dad”]

Good statement . /likes

as far as being able to only take one job on with 10k capital. I know alot of contractors get material money up front and square up on labor in the end. If thats the case on smaller 30-50sq jobs im looking at only waiting on labor costs.

Being brand new with no established jobs under your belt, you may find it very difficult to get a Customer to trust you with a 50% deposit. That’s what I meant by limiting your options. If you’re relying on deposits, you may have to walk away from some jobs that won’t make a deposit in the event you don’t have enough operating capital to handle the cash flow.

[quote=“LAMetalRoofs”]Zach,
I think you are on the right path. One question - will you be solo or with a partner?

Two things I suggest:

  1. Get a website and concentrate on LOCAL (Local SEO) marketing for it. while there is no “word of mouth”, a good website can get you steady work, almost for free. It works for us!

Here is a great source of info: Getlisted - You should also go to their local university seminar next time it runs in your area - its a wealth of information from best guys in the industry for only $89. I actually drove form Boston to Syracuse to attend one, even thou I’ve been doing SEO / web marketing for years (with great success too). Still, it was worth every minute of my 11 hrs drive!

Two years will give you plenty of time for your site to start ranking and bringing in clients.

  1. During next two year you can start doing small jobs on weekends. You can start slowly getting required equipment - it will not be that much money for 2-3 guys. Biggest expense will be the truck/trailer (trailer not necessary in the beginning) and then hoist, which you can rent or put on credit.

This part-time roofing will also build you some reputation, for when you go all out.

If you have a partner, you won’t need WC insurance - only liability which will be about 400-600 / month, depending on your local rates (at least that is what we have here in MA).

Also, i wrote a post on how to start a roofing business - it may be biased, but you might pick up some useful tips there:

Good luck[/quote]

I’ve recently had the pleasure of conversing with LAMetalRoofs and he is a very sharp guy and the advice he gives you can count on. As a business owner for the past 24 years, I’ve always found Marketing as one of the BIGGEST Factors that determines the success of a business. Marketing can come in many forms from Word or Mouth, Knocking on Door, Printed Media, Online and such. If you are just starting out you will want to focus on the lower cost options like Door Knocking if you have a limited budget, but once you get an advertising budget you can branch out and try other things that will free up your time.

I’m probably a little biased since we provide Online Solutions for Roofing Leads, but ONLINE is a great EFFICIENT way to get people calling you for the least amount of effort and expense. The ROI (Return On Investment) and CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) can be the least of any form of advertising.

As LAMetalRoofs mentions above you can certainly try to tackle a website on your own, but it can be a very daunting task for those who don’t know much about the internet. GetListed is an OK place to get started just remember that alot of how you design your website is how well it will do in Google. We are experts in Internet Marketing so I deal with these things ALL DAY, EVERYDAY! I can always point you to resources if you are interested in setting up your own website. Blogs and Web2.0 sites are a great place to start as well, like FaceBook or HubPages.

You can also joining forums where you can answer peoples questions and provide help and in return people call for your expertise, just as I do here. Obviously this forums is not a good place to find customers, but you might try something like Bob Vila’s Forums or some other Home Maintenance sites. The point is you want to be where your customers are. After being in business for 24 years with the same company, I’ve learned that you want to be a BIG FISH in a SMALL POND not the other way around; A SMALL FISH, in a BIG POND!!

If you decide you can’t tackle the website stuff yourself there are always many options, I just wrote a post yesterday to help give people some information to chew so you might visit that post for some ideas and advice.

help-you-get-new-business-internet-options-t12537.html

As well, we actually provide a great solution for Roofers Online and produce roofing leads in your area by casting a net of multiple website in your local area that produce calls for you and only you. If your interested just give me a call at 281-394-0833. Or if you just need some advice how to get you website started, just ask.

Have a great day,

Glenn

YourRoofingLeads
281-394-0833

“just remember that alot of how you design your website is how well it will do in Google.”

     With that being said would you or anyone willing take a couple minutes view my incomplete site I have started and tell me if it looks to homemade? Ignore broken links please this is just barebones. I uploaded it to a free host for now [zachnewberry.me.pn](http://www.zachnewberry.me.pn)

Sure I’m just sitting around getting a little done.

I’ll take a look.

Glenn

YourRoofingLeads
281-394-0833

Ok, I took a look and it does look homemade but still workable. You want need to get more text or content that Google can chew up and use to rank your website. You need to choose the keywords you want to target and use the keywords 2 or 3 times every hundred words.

I would also recommend getting a new domain name that has your keywords in it. Also you want a com or net as they get more love from Google. Also, you can get a domain with your company name, but the bottom line is nobody is going to be looking for you on the internet by your company name so what I recommend is getting your companyname domain and redirect it to your domain with good keywords in it. For example TaylorvilleRoofing would be a good domain for you.

I would recommend changing the top font as it is a little hard to read so poeple will be able to see you number clear. Also, I recommend putting you company name and such in the left top and the phone number by itself on the Right. Make the number a very VIVID and bright color so it stands out.

Just a few things I noticed.

Glenn

YourRoofingLeads
281-394-0833

[quote=“ZachNewberry”]“just remember that alot of how you design your website is how well it will do in Google.”

     With that being said would you or anyone willing take a couple minutes view my incomplete site I have started and tell me if it looks to homemade? Ignore broken links please this is just barebones. I uploaded it to a free host for now [zachnewberry.me.pn](http://www.zachnewberry.me.pn)[/quote]

$750 is what we did this site for. They are now hiring content writers for backlinks.

exteriorsplusmn.com/

Nice website, I don’t think I will be paying for one though. I have been watching some tutorials on div tags and css styles ill be attempting another layout.

Also, Is that roof being shingled without felt paper in the homepage video!? Where is the ice paper in the valley!? ;p j/w

[quote=“Tryin2Learn”]

     With that being said would you or anyone willing take a couple minutes view my incomplete site I have started and tell me if it looks to homemade? Ignore broken links please this is just barebones. I uploaded it to a free host for now [zachnewberry.me.pn](http://www.zachnewberry.me.pn)

$750 is what we did this site for. They are now hiring content writers for backlinks.

exteriorsplusmn.com/[/quote]

nice site…but be careful with all those pics and no ropes… :wink:

In 2008 I posted a similar post on here about starting a roofing business, 3 years later we were voted best roofing services by the people (newspaper) In my case there was so many contractor installing shingles incorrect that I Marketed on I would install per manufacture instruction and It is paying off finally. If you just do a top quality job it pay off later down the road and Be at appointments when you say your gonna be there.

[quote=“ZachNewberry”]“just remember that alot of how you design your website is how well it will do in Google.”

     With that being said would you or anyone willing take a couple minutes view my incomplete site I have started and tell me if it looks to homemade? Ignore broken links please this is just barebones. I uploaded it to a free host for now [zachnewberry.me.pn](http://www.zachnewberry.me.pn)[/quote]

Yes. It looks homemade. Where is the phone number? It took me a few minutes to find it. The phone number should be the size of your roofing lettering. I can tell you this, your have a basic web presence. The website will most likely not make anyone call you that already wasn’t planning on it.

I suggest you get an actual web designer if your goal is to have your website generate revenue.

[quote=“Tryin2Learn”]

     With that being said would you or anyone willing take a couple minutes view my incomplete site I have started and tell me if it looks to homemade? Ignore broken links please this is just barebones. I uploaded it to a free host for now [zachnewberry.me.pn](http://www.zachnewberry.me.pn)

$750 is what we did this site for. They are now hiring content writers for backlinks.

exteriorsplusmn.com/[/quote]

Yikes. You got ripped off. Once again, where is your phone number? What is the purpose of the video (majority of people click off a page if a video starts right away) when the text below it says the same thing. Why the weather box?

Backlinks won’t help as much as you may want them to. You need to find quality SEO guys and pay them to do the work. I had my site built for $1100. I also pay monthly for SEO services and rank number one for 65 different roofing terms. My website alone has brought in over 450k since January of 2011. These are all people who didn’t know who to call or where to start so they called the first person they found on Google.