As a serial entrepreneur, owning a roofing company like Aspen Leaf Roofing wasn’t high on my initial list of desired businesses. My perception was that trade businesses were traditionally low margin and better suited for labor-minded entrepreneurs. You know, the guy who wants to get his hands dirty. However, as all business owners eventually learn, looks can be deceiving. The trades hold fantastic opportunities for seasoned entrepreneurs, it just takes focusing on a few core competencies.
As is true with most industries, cash flow is paramount for running a profitable roofing operation. In Colorado our business is cyclical, peaking during the summertime hail season. The demand for our trade can quadruple overnight, so it’s important to make sure your bank accounts are in line and properly funded at all times. In roofing, the crews need to be paid right away, and suppliers don’t offer very favorable net terms. Additionally, most hail-related roof repairs will involve working with the insurance carriers, who are notoriously slow to pay. To make it to the top in roofing, one needs to remember rule #1: cash is king.
Once your funding is in line, the next focus should be on marketing. Marketing is the one area that separates the men from the boys in the roofing industry. You can have the greatest company in the world, but if people don’t know about you, you won’t generate the volume you need to survive. In Colorado, the roofing trade is very competitive which causes marketing to be very expensive. There are a million different ways to skin a cat, so it’s important to test various marketing techniques and see what works best for your business. In our area, some of the roofers use billboards, many pay for online marketing, others use print and some dabble in telemarketing. The point is, you have to advertise to remain competitive and the key is to properly track your campaigns to find what works best.
It’s an old cliche in business that at the end of the day, the people are what matters most. This couldn’t ring more true for a roofing company. Hiring honest and competent employees is essential. Representatives’ ability to form relationships with customers is a huge part of your initial and continued success, as consumers require a high level of trust when contracting work to be performed on their home.
A competent roofing company owner will also need to possess superior communication skills. This will prove essential for working directly with the customer and also when acting as a liaison between the client and their insurance carrier. Supplementing insurance claims with the insurance carriers is necessary for making proper profit margins. To be a great supplementer, you must possess great negotiating skills.
If all of this seems a little difficult, that’s because it is. If it were easy, everyone would do it. However, the experienced entrepreneur will appreciate the simplicity of a roofer’s core KPI’s. If you are able to answer your phone when it rings, hire competent, skilled individuals, and keep enough money in the bank to pay your bills on time, you will be successful. You don’t have to be a genius or invent a new technology to prosper in the roofing industry. If you simply work hard and work smart, you’ll find that you’re able to provide quite a nice lifestyle for yourself and your family.