According to Allied Market Research, the roofing industry is expected to hit $156 billion by 2030 in the U.S. alone. Despite being a competitive landscape, it also offers sustainable income and great satisfaction in meeting customer needs. However, if you want to have success in the industry, you must use the right steps. Discover nine tips on how to start a commercial roofing company in 2023.
1. Plan and Research the Roofing Market
The first tip on how to start a commercial roofing company is researching the roofing market. Market research lets you gather information about your target market, industry trends, and competition. For example, what is the most preferred roofing material in the U.S.? Take note of your local market, too. What are existing companies doing, and can you do it differently?
Research can give a small business insight into customers’ needs and wants. For instance, local roofing companies may be offering the services in areas you intend to serve but without maintenance services. You can identify such gaps through market research and tailor your services to satisfy customer needs. Moreover, data and information will help you minimize risks while maximizing profits. Business owners who do research can spot trends early and capitalize on these emerging demands.
You can utilize small business-friendly market research strategies such as surveys and social listening. Once you research, plan services, pricing, and target audience. You can now craft your services with gaps to align them with local demand. Without market research, you may not know which prices to set and which areas have higher demand and less competition.
2. Choose a Suitable Legal Structure for Your Business
Another thing to consider when learning how to start a commercial roofing company is the legal structure. Some business structures have many benefits, such as liability protection. Did you know that people who suffer injuries on your property are liable for compensation? Liability protection shields your business from claims emanating from property damage and injuries. The type of business structure that you take also has tax implications, so it’s good to work with a professional so that you can know the most suitable structure for your business.
There are four main options you can pick from as a roofing company. The first is a sole proprietorship, whereby an individual owns a company. The setup is easy, but you’ll have personal liability. In partnerships, you’ll have shared responsibilities and profits, too. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) offer personal liability protection and flexible management. The most complex structure is a corporation, but it comes with limited liability.
So, how do you choose when so many options exist? You can consider your long-term goals. For instance, if you intend on doing commercial construction development in the future, having partners with different expertise will make your company look more trustworthy. However, if you want more control over operations and services, it’s best to have a sole proprietorship or partnership setup.
3. Insure Your Roofing Business
If you are pondering how to start a commercial roofing company, here is a nugget of wisdom. Get insurance for your firm. Legal claims can come up even at the inception stage, whether you’re starting a corporation or sole proprietorship.
Insurance protects your costly equipment, tools, and office space against damage and theft. Besides, you also want to protect your local commercial roofers from worker injuries. Insurance is one of the things that’ll give clients confidence that you’re prepared for the job.
There are many insurance options available depending on your needs. General liability insurance protects your company against third-party bodily injury and property damage claims. Workers compensation insurance, on the other hand, covers medical expenses and lost wages due to injuries. While you can take strong preventive measures, insurance will protect your company in case of an accident. According to Hoffman Work, 52 100,000 roofing workers get non-fatal injuries yearly.
Several factors affect how you choose insurance coverage. The best tip is to start by doing a risk assessment to identify potential risks in your roofing operations. Other insurance types are mandatory, so you should research which ones are mandatory in your jurisdiction. An insurance specialist with experience in the roofing industry can help you research and craft a report to make decision-making easier.
4. Get Funding for Your Roofing Business
According to the Government Document Filling website, you can expect to spend between $15,000 and $20,000 for a commercial roofing company startup. Of course, this number will be higher depending on the type of company you want to set up. That’s why funding is one of the most critical steps for learning how to start a commercial roofing company. With funding, you can access the necessary resources for growth, such as purchasing equipment and hiring the right people.
The first source of funding you should consider is your savings to bootstrap your business. Your family and friends may also have personal savings they’re willing to invest. The second option is business loaning funds, which you can get from credit unions, banks, and online lenders. Working with a financial consultant to take a loan matching your earning potential is best. If you want to start a medium to large company, you can consider angel investing, where you get funding from investors in exchange for ownership equity.
Prepare a detailed business plan showing your financial needs and projected expenditure before seeking funding. Many investors will not grant you funding without a stipulated business plan. If you’re looking for a loan, research various lenders for the best terms and rates. Investors need to do regular networking to present a compelling case.
5. Build a Skilled and Reliable Team
According to the Commerce Institute, 23% of small business startups fail because they don’t have the right team. So, if you want to learn how to start a commercial roofing company, ensure you have the right team beside you. A skilled team will deliver high-quality client services, whether installation or replacement, essential for reputation building. Besides, they’ll deliver projects more efficiently and on time, increasing customer satisfaction.
The first option for building a skilled and reliable team is hiring experienced roofers. For instance, you can hire based on expertise in gutter installation, roof removal, or customer services. You may have to offer strong incentives such as salary perks and benefits if you want highly qualified personnel. Once you have hired your team, invest in in-house training programs to enhance skills and awareness.
The training should be rigorous and effective to get a return on investment. Instead of the training being spontaneous, make it ongoing to keep up with industry best practices. An often underestimated part of training is focusing on safety. The roofing industry reports some of the highest injury and mortality rates for workers, which can detract from your profits because of legal claims.
6. Partner With Reliable Partners
A saying goes, ‘He who travels alone travels faster, but he who travels with a companion travels furthest.’ If you want to learn how to start a commercial roofing company and get sustainable results, you have to partner with like-minded partners. Associating with reputable partners will enhance your image. Besides, reliable supply partners ensure your delivery gets to you on time hence satisfying your customers. Partners are also a good source of qualified leads.
You can work with a local business broker to identify other businesses open to a partnership. The first type of partners you need is material suppliers. These businesses provide roofing materials and other necessary supplies to get the job done. The next category you need is equipment providers, ensuring you have all the necessary equipment for the job. Also, consider joining industry associations because you can meet people of similar minds.
Before entering into any long-term relationship with another partner, do thorough research by checking references and reviews. Some partners can put you at a crossroads with law enforcement because of their uncouth business methods; thus, you want to avoid such partnerships. As for supplies of materials and equipment, do a quality assessment to evaluate the consistency of quality in their products.
7. Market Your Roofing Brand
Many roofing companies skip marketing when considering how to start a commercial roofing company. Some assume that customers will come right to them once they launch. According to Roofers Guild, there were more than 100,000 roofing companies in the U.S. as of 2021. That means your potential customer has multiple options to choose from when they’re looking for a roofing company. You want to be the company they think about first, which can only happen through marketing.
Marketing helps increase your brand’s visibility among clients. Whenever customers think about a roofing problem, they’ll consider the brands they know. Even if they have never worked with a company, recognizing it from far away increases the chance they’ll hire the company. Marketing is also the surest way to generate leads. Leads are the prospective clients who ultimately become customers and lead you to growth.
As a startup business, you may not have a high marketing budget for all strategies. You should invest in cost-friendly but high-impact marketing such as social media. Shoot videos when you’re out working and share them on TikTok and Facebook. You can also consider doing ads because they can bring in leads immediately. You should have a call center phone system for customer support when leads take action to inquire about services.
8. Develop Project Estimates and Contract Templates
After learning how to start a commercial roofing company, you must have some templates ready for when a customer comes. Without such templates, you’d have to improvise, which could make you look unprofessional. You need two templates – a roof estimate and a contract document.
These templates ensure that project scope, costs, and terms are communicated clearly. Contracts outline responsibilities, which reduces disputes and legal issues. Besides, you’ll save time because you don’t have to start from scratch.
If you have experience in the roofing industry and grasp what clients need, you can design your templates. You can use online resources to develop a project estimate template communicating the most essential things. Alternatively, you can use industry standards. For instance, you can have a project estimate document for roof maintenance service. The best approach, though not without costs, is seeking professional help.
If you have a website, you can install project estimation software to empower the clients to make informed decisions. An estimation software can also act as a lead generation magnet because you can email the results to the client directly. A professional contract review will ensure you meet requirements and protect your interests. These templates help you discuss and finalize terms with clients before work begins.
9. Plan for Safety and Compliance
Insurance may protect you after legal injury claims, but the best approach is to avoid these claims altogether by planning for safety and compliance. Safety measures will protect your employees and third parties from roofing-related hazards. Planning for safety is part of adhering to legal requirements and preventing future legal issues. Besides, worker safety may be the difference between a satisfied local roofer and a disgruntled one.
A good tip when learning how to start a commercial roofing company while keeping everyone safe is hiring a safety officer to oversee protocols and training. The safety officer can perform safety audits regularly to identify issues before they arise. After the audit, they should bring you a well-maintained record of safety training and compliance plans. You can also ensure safety by creating a safety culture through clear communication.
To bring it all together, learning how to start a commercial roofing company is an ongoing learning process. However, this guide has the most basic steps you should consider. While you can do some projects alone, working with a qualified consultant is best. Also, learn to listen to customers because they are the biggest stakeholders. That way, you’ll be making informed and intelligent decisions. Please explore our website to learn more about starting a successful small business.