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How to Start a Roofing Company

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Roofing Company

Fast Facts

Investment range

$6,550 - $13,100

Revenue potential

$192,000 - $770,000 p.a.

Time to build

3-6 months

Profit potential

$57,000 - $115,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Growing

Commitment

Flexible

Strong roofs will be needed as long as people are living and working in structures — so, probably forever. If you start a roofing company, you’ll be providing a service that will always be in demand. What’s more, the US roofing industry is worth more than $50 billion and set for strong growth, so there’s real opportunity in this market. Getting started requires some investment, but you could save money by running your business from home in the early days. 

First, you need to understand the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur and starting a business. Lucky for you, this step-by-step guide provides all the information and insight you need to develop your idea and start building the roofing company of your dreams.

Step by Step Business values firsthand experiences from business owners. In our Entrepreneur Spotlight Series, we bring you Evan Oxenhorn’s story behind starting Reiter Roofing in Philadelphia. Dive into this insightful interview to uncover the journey, challenges, and triumphs of establishing a legacy roofing company.

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Starting a roofing company has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you. 

Pros

  • Good Money – A new roof costs $8,000 and up
  • Flexibility – Run your business from home
  • Provide Value – Roofs keep people warm and safe from the elements

Cons

  • Seasonality – In many places, colder weather limits work
  • Hard Labor – Roofing is difficult work and can be dangerous

Roofing industry trends

Industry size and growth

roofing industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

roofing industry Trends and Challenges

Trends in the roofing industry include:

  • Metal roofing, such as aluminum or stainless steel, is becoming much more popular. They require more of an investment to install, but they can last up to 50 years. A roofing business can take advantage of this by offering metal roofing as an option.
  • Silicone roof coatings have been used in commercial roofing for some time, but they are starting to be used more in residential roofing. They can be applied to new or existing roofs to make them last longer.

Challenges in the roofing industry include:

  • Skilled labor shortages are making it difficult for roofing companies to recruit employees. 
  • Competition is massive in the roofing industry, which can pose a challenge for roofing businesses just entering the market. 

Demand hotspots

roofing industry demand hotspots
  • Most popular states -The most popular states for roofers are North Dakota, Connecticut, and Vermont. ((https://www.zippia.com/roofer-jobs/best-states/)) 
  • Least popular states The least popular states for roofers are Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma. 

What kind of people work in Roofing?

roofing industry demographics
  • Gender 6.2% of roofers are female, while 90.6% are male.((https://www.zippia.com/roofer-jobs/demographics/))
  • Average level of education – The average roofer is high school educated.
  • Average age – The average owner roofer in the US is 37.4 years old.

How much does it cost to start a roofing business?

Startup costs for a roofing company range from $6,500 to $13,000. You’ll need a truck to transport materials, ladders, and tools. You’ll also need a roofing contractor’s license from your state. Requirements vary, but often you have to show a certain number of years of experience and education, and also pass an exam. 

To learn to roof you can do an apprenticeship or attend a trade school in your area. You could start your education with an online course, such as from The Roofing Academy, and decide if it’s for you. 

You might get roofing certification from the National Roofing Contractors Association. A certain amount of experience is required for certification, and exams must be passed.

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your roofing business, including: 

  • Roofing nail guns
  • Hammer tacker stapler
  • Roofing hammer
  • Air compressor
  • Roofing blade and shovel
  • Pry bar
  • Tarps
  • Ladders
  • Caulking gun
  • Saws
  • Drills
  • Safety equipment such as harnesses and hardhats
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$150 - $200$175
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100-$300$200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300$250
Website setup$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Truck - down payment$3,000 - $5,000$4,000
Tools and ladders$2,000 - $4,000$3,000
Total$6,550 - $13,100$9,825

How much can you earn from a roofing business?

roofing business earnings forecast

The average price of a new roof is about $8,000, including materials. After costs and labor your profit margin should be about 30%. 

In your first year or two, you could do two roofs a month, bringing in $192,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $57,000 in profit, assuming that 30% margin. As your brand gains recognition and you get referrals, sales could climb to 8 roofs per month. At this stage, you’d rent a commercial space and hire more staff, reducing your profit margin to around 15%. With annual revenue of $770,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $115,000.

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a roofing company. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • The required skills and licensing 
  • Startup costs
  • Stiff competition

Related Business Ideas

If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a roofing company, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research roofing companies in your area to examine their products and services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a roofing business that installs metal roofs or slate roofs. 

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as slate roof repairs or asphalt roofing.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your roofing services

Your services will depend on your skills. You can offer a variety of roofing choices or specialize in one, such as metal roofing or asphalt roofing. You could also specialize in either residential roofing or commercial roofing. 

How much should you charge for roofing services?

Your prices will depend on the size of the roof and the materials used. You should estimate your total costs of materials and labor and aim for a profit margin of about 30% when you’re running your business from home. 

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market is most likely to be homeowners who you can find on Instagram and Facebook. You can also partner with realtors to get referrals. You can network with them on LinkedIn. 

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out a warehouse facility for roofing materials storage. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
roofing business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Roofing Company Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “roofing” or “roofing contractor”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Skyline Roofing & Construction” over “Commercial Roofing Pros”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Roofing Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive Summary: Summarize your roofing company’s vision, detailing the types of roofing services provided and your strategy to deliver high-quality and durable roofing solutions.
  • Business Overview: Describe the scope of your roofing services, from residential re-roofing to commercial installations and repairs.
  • Product and Services: List the specific roofing services you offer, including new roof installations, repairs, inspections, and maintenance programs.
  • Market Analysis: Analyze the local demand for roofing services, taking into account factors like regional weather patterns and housing market trends.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify your competition and highlight your roofing business’s differentiators, such as superior materials, craftsmanship, or warranty offerings.
  • Sales and Marketing: Explain your approach to generating new business, which might include digital marketing, partnerships with builders, or direct mail campaigns.
  • Management Team: Present the experience and qualifications of your management team, emphasizing industry knowledge and operational expertise.
  • Operations Plan: Outline the logistics of your service delivery, including scheduling, supply chain management, and safety protocols.
  • Financial Plan: Provide a financial overview that includes startup costs, pricing strategy, and revenue forecasts.
  • Appendix: Include additional documents such as contractor licenses, insurance policies, or detailed case studies of past roofing projects that support your business plan.

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to roofing companies.

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your roofing company will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business financing
  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a roofing business. 

Step 8: Apply for Roofing Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a roofing business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

You’ll need a roofing contractor’s license from your state. Requirements for each state vary, so check with your state government.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your roofing business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance
  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks. 

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as MarketSharp, JomNimbus, or iRoofing, to manage your bids, projects, invoicing, and payments.

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial. 

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 

Marketing

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Local SEO Optimization: Ensure your business is listed on Google My Business, and optimize your profile with accurate information and customer reviews to improve local search visibility.
  • Social Proof Through Before-and-After Visuals: Showcase your expertise by sharing high-quality before-and-after photos on social media platforms, creating a compelling visual narrative that demonstrates the quality of your work.
  • Referral Programs: Implement a referral program that rewards existing customers for referring new clients, leveraging word-of-mouth marketing and building a network of satisfied customers.
  • Educational Content: Develop informative content, such as blog posts or videos, addressing common roofing issues, maintenance tips, and industry trends to position your company as an authority in the field.
  • Community Involvement: Sponsor local events, sports teams, or community projects to enhance brand visibility, build trust, and demonstrate your commitment to the local community.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Collaborate with other home service businesses like contractors, painters, or real estate agents for cross-promotions, expanding your reach within a related network.
  • Emergency Response Service: Highlight your ability to provide quick response times for emergency repairs, emphasizing reliability and readiness during urgent situations.
  • Loyalty Programs: Implement a loyalty program that offers discounts or special perks to repeat customers, encouraging customer retention and building long-term relationships.
  • Online Reviews Management: Actively manage and encourage customer reviews on platforms like Yelp and Angie’s List, responding promptly to both positive and negative feedback to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Targeted Direct Mail Campaigns: Develop targeted direct mail campaigns to specific neighborhoods or areas where your services are in high demand, showcasing your expertise and offering exclusive promotions.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your roofing business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your roofing business could be:

  • The best metal roofing, guaranteed for 30 years
  • We’ll restore your slate roof to turn-of-the-century perfection 
  • Silicone coating to extend the life of your asphalt roof

Networking

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a roofing business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in roofing for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in roofing. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a roofing business include:

  • Roofing Workers – help repair and install roofs
  • General Manager – staff management, ordering, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Roofing Business – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

If you’ve done roofing before, why work for someone else? Starting a roofing business is a fairly straightforward process, and an easy way to enter a growing $52 billion market. You can start your business from home before you expand and grow. 

Now that you know what’s involved, you’re ready to skip the corporate ladder and become the proud owner of your own successful roofing company!

Roofing Business FAQs

Is a roofing business profitable?

Yes, roofing companies can be quite profitable. Just make sure you do the best quality work possible, and your business will grow as you get referrals.

How can I assess a roof's condition and provide accurate estimates for repairs or replacements?

Start by visually examining the roof for signs of damage, such as missing or damaged shingles, leaks, or sagging areas. Check the attic for any signs of water damage or moisture. Utilize appropriate tools, such as a moisture meter or drone, to assess hard-to-reach areas. Consider factors like the roof’s age, material, and overall condition. Use industry-standard pricing guides or software to calculate accurate estimates based on the required materials, labor, and other factors.

How can I attract clients and market my roofing services?

Create a professional website that showcases your expertise, past projects, and testimonials from satisfied clients. Optimize your website for search engines to improve online visibility. Utilize social media platforms to share before and after photos, client success stories, and educational content about roofing. Network with local contractors, real estate agents, or property managers who can refer clients to your services.

Where do roofers make the most money?

The earning potential for roofers can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, specialization, and the size of the roofing company. In general, areas with high demand for roofing services, such as urban or densely populated regions, may offer more opportunities and higher earnings for roofers.

How do I make my roofing business successful?

To make your roofing business successful, focus on providing high-quality workmanship and excellent customer service to build a strong reputation and generate positive referrals. Establish relationships with suppliers to ensure access to quality materials at competitive prices. Continuously invest in training and stay updated on industry best practices to offer cutting-edge solutions and expertise. Develop a strong online presence through a professional website, social media, and online directories.

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How to Start a Roofing Company