How to Start a Roofing Company

The roofing contractor industry grew to over $58 billion in 2022. If you are thinking about how to start a roofing company, you will need a solid plan and insurance coverage to back you up. This article will examine what you need to know about starting a roofing company and what roofing insurance you need to avoid potential pitfalls.

How Much Does a Roofing Business Make?

What may start your journey to learn how to start a roofing business is discovering how much roofing can pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roofers make a median average annual wage of $47,290. Below are a few national estimates for the wages of roofing contractors:

Estimated roofers 131,980
Mean hourly wage $24.96
Mean annual wage $51,910
10th percentile for annual wage $31,470
25th percentile for annual wage $38,470
50th percentile for annual wage $47,920
75th percentile for annual wage $60,430
90th percentile for annual wage $75,930

How to Start a Roofing Company With No Money

You may be discouraged from starting a roofing company if you don’t have any capital to invest in your business. However, you can still get your business started in a few ways. 

Taking Out Business Loans 

If you have a business bank account, you can use loans to fund the initial investment for equipment and other expenses. A few business loans to consider include:

  • Standard SBA 7(a) loan: A standard SBA (7a) loan is backed by the government and has a loan maturity of 25 years for real estate and ten years for equipment. The government will pay up to 85% of default for a loan of 150,000 or less. They guarantee up to 75 percent of loans above $150,000. You submit applications to your bank, and the process is lengthy. Often it can take three months or longer to get approved for the loan.

  • Microloans: As their name suggests, these are smaller loans. They can give you $50,000 or less. This makes them ideal for a start business that may not have a lot of on-hand capital. You can get microloans through the government or a nonprofit, but you need to qualify by putting up loan collateral.

  • Equipment loans: You can use these loans to purchase equipment for your roofing business. For example, you can use an equipment loan to buy a vehicle. An equipment loan might have a 7% interest rate. If you borrowed $4,000 for a vehicle, you would eventually pay an interest of 446 over a loan period of 36 months.

Show Your Business Plan to Investors

You can find people who might be willing to invest in your business if you ask friends, family or ask in your local community on social media. You will want to develop a pitch, a short presentation of your business goals and the advantages of investing in your business. Your presentation should focus on the hard data that you have researched. You should also outline your business weaknesses and how to mitigate them.

An angel investor can provide seed money to start your business in exchange for ownership equity in your roofing company. With an angel investor, you will not have to worry about repaying the capital they are investing in your business. What makes them angel investors is that they are willing to take financial risks that other investors might not otherwise consider.

Crowdfund the Business

With sites like GoFundMe, you can open your business funding to the public. If people believe in your vision, you might raise enough money to cover your investment costs. Some crowdfunding options include:

  • GoFundMe: On GoFundMe, you set a fundraising goal by creating a page that delivers your pitch. People have to option to give donations to help you reach the goal. With GoFundMe, you keep the money even if you don’t hit the goal.

  • Kickstarter: You can use Kickstarter to fundraise for your business. You set a goal and a time limit. If you reach the funding goal within the time limit, your project is considered successful, and you get the donations. If the project funding goal isn’t hit, there is no payment.

  • Patreon: Patreon lets you monetize your business through a monthly subscription fee. You can offer rewards for customers who pledge more. One example of content you can provide is roofing installation videos. People would pay to watch the process being completed through Patreon.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Roofing Company

You are probably wondering how much it costs to start a roofing company. At a minimum, you will need a few hundred dollars to register your business. However, if you have to invest in new vehicles, equipment, and licenses, starting a roofing company costs between $15,000 and $20,000. Below are a few expenses you need to plan for and how much they might cost:

Transport vehicle $2,000-$4,000
Equipment and tools $4,000
Contractors license $200-$400
Insurance coverage $3,500 annually
Website and marketing $1000-$2000
Insurance costs $300-$4000 annually

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Steps to Start a Roofing Company

You must follow several steps when researching how to start your own roofing company. Below is a list of steps that are essential to business success:

  • Create a plan for your business.

  • Research your target market

  • Figure out what services to offer

  • Invest in equipment

  • Register your business

  • Get an employer identification number

  • Get necessary licenses

  • Create a website

  • Market your business

  • Hire professionals

  • Get insurance coverage

Create a Plan for Your Business

What is the first step to follow when learning how to run a successful roofing business? You need a solid plan for your business, or you are bound to make costly mistakes. You will want to create a business plan that defines your goals like:

  • Marketing strategy

  • Pricing structure

  • Your target market

  • How to handle the competition

Research Your Target Market

Another crucial consideration when figuring out how to start a commercial roofing company is researching your target market. This involves determining the demographics, income level, and location to which you want to target your services. You must decide whether to target homeowners, businesses, or both:

  • Focus groups: These interviews are small groups of people where the goal is feedback and for your customers to express themselves. These can help you find out which services your customers like, how they feel about the pricing, and more.

  • Surveys: By using surveys, you can determine customer satisfaction and how your employees are perceived. Surveys are best done anonymously so the customer can speak their mind.

  • Competition research: This research helps you discover the differences between the services that you and your competitors offer. You can use competition research to gauge how well your business stands against industry standards. It can also help you identify weaknesses with a competitor’s services. For example, if a competitor is not offering adequate gutter cleaning services, you can take advantage of this.

  • Demographics: You can use the demographics of your customers to inform the approach you take with your marketing and advertising. Demographics are social statistics like age, gender, income, and education level.

Figure Out What Services to Offer

Your roofing company can offer a variety of services to customers that may include:

  • Storm response services: You offer expedited services to customers after their roof suffers heavy damage from a storm.

  • Roof installation: Installing a roof on a building without one requires a roof framing job, followed by applying roofing materials.

  • Roof Inspection: You provide a “roof checkup” by examining every roof detail from the outside and inside. A roof inspection is also required to get a roof certified. A roof certification is used for insurance coverage and if the client wants to sell their house.

  • Roof replacement: Removing the old roofing and installing a new roof

  • Gutter cleaning services: Over time, gutters get clogged and will need to be flushed or, in the worst cases, replaced.

  • Roof maintenance: You will perform services to protect your client’s roof periodically, like removing tree branches, repairing leaks, and scraping away mold. Getting your roof maintenanced after a major storm is a good idea.

  • Roof painting: You can offer a service to paint a client’s roof with a curing process made from silicone or acrylic. It acts as an extra layer of protection from damage.

Invest in Equipment

A roofing business will need specialized equipment to help you and your employees install and protect your client’s roofing. Some examples include are outlined below:

Equipment Description Cost
Roofing nail guns Helps attach and apply shingles to roofs $100-$400
Roofing hammer Useful for installing felt underlayment $30-$80
Air compressor Maintains the proper pressure in your pneumatic nail guns $100-$400
Shingle cutter Cuts roof underlayment and water protectors. Cut shingles to form hip and ridge shingles. $200 or more
Scoop shovel Helps you move loose shingles to a dumpster $40-$70
Transport vehicle Allows you to move tools and equipment to worksites $2,000-$4,000
Safety equipment Harnesses, helmets, safety glasses earplugs  $100-$200
Ladder Lets you get onto a client’s roof and surrounding tree branches $100-$400
Shingle pry bar Aids you when removing old shingles $20-$70

Register Your Business

To operate as a business, you must first decide on a business structure and register with a state. A sole proprietorship is a business structure where your personal assets and business liabilities are not separated.

A limited liability company (LLC) is a standard structure for roofing companies. This protects your business assets from losses to the business while avoiding the double-taxing of a corporate structure. A corporation structure makes your business an entirely separate entity. This means you can get funding from stockholders and shareholders but may be taxed twice by the IRS.

Get an Employer Identification Number

An employee identification number (EIN) makes paying taxes with the IRS easier. You need an EIN to hire employees, open a business bank account, apply for business permits, and pay federal taxes. Getting an EIN includes:

  1. Go to the IRS website and find the IRS assistance tool

  2. Enter your personal and business information on the application

  3. Your session will expire after 15 minutes of inactivity

  4. Once verified, you will receive your nine-digit federal tax ID

  5. You will receive a confirmation letter delivered online

Get Necessary Licenses

Many states have roofing license requirements to provide roofing services to your customers. This table shows the license requirement in each specific state:

State Roofing Contractor License Requirement
Alabama Roofing and sheet metal contractor license
Alaska Specialty contractor license
Arizona Specialty classification state license
Arkansas Home improvement contractor license for work $2,000 or more
California Class C specialty contractor license
Colorado None
Connecticut None
Delaware None unless working with asbestos
Florida Certified or registered contractor license
Georgia None
Hawaii C-42 roofing contractor license
Idaho None
Illinois State roofing license
Indiana None
Iowa None unless working with asbestos
Kansas Roofing contractor registration certificate but no license requirement
Kentucky None
Louisiana State roofing contractor license
Maine None unless working with asbestos
Maryland None unless the work falls under the home improvement category. Then you need a state home improvement license
Massachusetts State roofing contractor license
Michigan State roofing contractor license
Minnesota Roofing contractor license if your annual work exceeds $15,000
Mississippi Residential roofing license if you perform over $10,000 in services
Missouri None
Montana None
Nebraska None
Nevada C-15a roofing contractor license
New Hampshire None
New Jersey None
New Mexico State contractor license
New York None
North Carolina State contractor license
North Dakota State contractor license for jobs you charge $4,000 or more for
Ohio None
Oklahoma None, but you do need a roofing contractor registration
Oregon State contractor license
Pennsylvania None
Rhode Island State roofing license
South Carolina None
South Dakota None
Tennessee State roofing license for jobs over $25,000
Texas None
Utah State license required for all contractors
Vermont None
Virginia Class A, B, or C contractor license
Washington None
West Virginia State contractor license
Wisconsin None, unless you work in asbestos abatement
Wyoming None

Create a Website

A website can get your business’s name out there. Customers can find your services by searching online. You will want to include relevant keywords for your business in your website’s name and ensure that the name is easy to spell.

You can create a website by choosing a hosting provider and a domain name. You will want to choose a name that people will recognize and that aligns with your roofing brand. Next, you can use a website builder with a template to make adding things like text, videos, links, and photos easier.

You will want to fill your website with useful pages and content your target customers will search for. Through content, you can grow a reliable community around your roofing business. You will want to include frequently asked questions and testimonials to boost credibility with potential customers.

A website functions as a customer portal. You can list customer feedback and answer questions that potential customers might have. You will want to advertise the costs and descriptions of your services. Many customers will look up a business online before proceeding with a business arrangement.

Website advertising will make it easier for people searching for you to find your business online. Television and radio ads typically cost more but have a wider reach than many other methods. Search engines like Google offer pay-per-click ads that help your business appear at the top of a search results page.

Market Your Business

In addition to setting up your company’s website, you will want to invest in marketing strategies to attract customers. You can set up email campaigns that are targeted toward your ideal customer. Social media can potentially promote your business to a wider audience than you would usually be exposed to. You can create a Facebook page or Tiktok account to promote your business to a broader audience.

Hire Professional Talent

You must find talented people to help you with roofing services. Without talented professionals on your team, your business might not get far. You will want to know other roofers and roofing suppliers and ask them for recommendations on who to hire. Look into local apprenticeship programs so you can find new potential hires. Post job openings on websites like Indeed or Linkedin so you can review resumes to find out which workers are a good fit.

You should look for candidates that have a safety-first mentality. Roofing jobs can be risky because of how high your employees can be above the ground. A positive attitude is another excellent quality for a roofing company employee. Roofing is challenging work, and you need someone you can count on to show up and do the job. A positive attitude goes a long way to overcoming the challenges of the job.

You will want to hire experienced roofers that can add value to your services. You can also hire amateur roofers who you can teach on the job. There are no education requirements to be a roofer, although employees you hire must be at least 18 years old. Hiring roofing employees with at least a high school level education is preferred. Some types of workers to hire for your business include:

  • Roofing contractors: Responsible for providing your main services to customers like repairing and installing roofs.

  • Personal assistants: Handles administrative tasks for your roofing business. This can involve scheduling clients, filing paperwork, and responding to customer phone calls

  • Accountants: Responsible for overseeing the business’s finances, filing taxes, and making business payments

  • Marketing managers: Does research into brand and service performance. They will be responsible for implementing a marketing strategy for your business. They will try to increase general interest with customers in your target demographic.

Insurance Requirements for Boosting Income

Proper insurance coverage is one of the most critical steps to ensuring your roofing company’s success. Insurance is there to protect you from unexpected costs that many businesses would be unable to afford otherwise. See the typical insurance policies you need for a roofing business below.

Business Owner’s Policy

Your business owner’s policy combines general liability protection and commercial property insurance. It is one of the most comprehensive forms of insurance because you can customize it to incorporate many forms of protection.

NEXT is our recommended choice for a business owner’s policy. You can get quotes online and a live certificate for instant proof of your insurance protection. The company has no hidden fees and uses a transparent pricing structure, so you always know what you are paying for. NEXT serves 420,000 customers and has an A- with AM Best.

General Liability Insurance

A general liability policy protects you from third-party lawsuits for bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage your services and products cause. This policy will cover you if someone falls and hurts themselves on your business premises.

For general liability insurance, we recommend Thimble. They offer the ability to get short-term general liability coverage down to the month, day, or hour. This makes it an excellent option for getting coverage just to cover a client’s project. Thimble makes it easy to get your policy up and running. 75% of their customers are first-time buyers. Thimble received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Professional Liability Insurance

You use professional liability insurance to protect your business against the consequences of business mistakes. Customers may sue you for failing to complete a contract, negligence, or copyright infringement.

Hiscox is an excellent provider of professional liability insurance. You get coverage from a company with a platinum trusted service award from Feefo. They offer discounts when bundling multiple policies and a 14-day refund policy. Hiscox has an A from financial rater AM Best.

Commercial Property Insurance

A commercial property policy protects your business building and equipment from physical damage. Events covered include:

  • Vandalism

  • Water damage

  • Fire

  • Lightning

  • Theft

  • Explosions

For a commercial property insurance policy, we recommend CoverWallet. With CoverWallet, you can access over ten top insurance providers like Hiscox, Markel, and Progressive. You can manage multiple policies from one place with their convenient mobile app. CoverWallet has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Personal auto insurance coverage is not enough for your business. It does not typically cover business activities, and the limits are insufficient. This means you need to purchase commercial auto insurance. This policy protects you from accident liabilities and damage to your vehicles.

Tivly offers a competitive platform to shop for commercial auto insurance. You can select from over 200 insurance partners. Tivly helps match you with the right insurer and policy for your business. The company has 20 years of insurance experience and an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Workers Compensation Insurance

A workers comp policy pays injured and ill employees that work for you. The policy helps employees pay for medical costs for injuries and supplement lost income.

The Hartford is an excellent choice for your workers’ compensation insurance. They give your employees access to over 1 million medical providers.  You can manage your policies easily through their mobile app. The company is geared toward small businesses. They have over one million customers. The Hartford has an A- from AM Best and an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.

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