I have 7 tips on how to start a company with no money.
1. Get a side gig, not a job.
Someone once said: You are not an entrepreneur if you have a full-time job. I agree with it: you can’t sit on two toilets at the same time (Russian Proverb). The sooner you quit your full-time job the better.
Meanwhile, since you don’t have money, get the highest paying gig possible. Something part-time, something odd, something to survive. Like cutting grass on weekends or craigslists gigs, you get the idea. I was installing floors on Friday and Saturdays making $1000 in two days to free Mon-Thursday to focus on building my roofing business.
2. Be disciplined.
Set yourself a salary and make sure it is your minimum wage. You should not get fancy with first monies you see. I paid myself $60k first year. Everything else went back into the business.
3. Focus on small tickets.
Big established companies don’t like small tickets. Maybe one day, you will hate them too, but for now, it is your gold: high margins, easy to find, easy to sell, not hard to please clients to get good reviews.
4. Get your first office fast.
You should not stay at your home waiting for your phone to ring. I want you to wake up and go to work every day just like you would when working for someone else. When you have an office, people want to do business with you.
Vendors and employees take you seriously because they see the risk you took. You jumped in and you are all in this.
It helps you build your work ethics. Bills including workers compensation might be hard to pay in the beginning but it becomes a great drive to keep moving forward.
5. Stay away from subcontracting.
Subbing out roofing jobs is a different business model. You cannot build both models. You can either deal with owners or builders/contractors but you can’t do both.
Contractors will not do business with you if you have a growing brand, and you can’t grow your brand working for contractors. This creates a huge conflict of interest. Not to mention the opportunity cost: Every job you take from other contractors is one more job you could be taking from homeowners directly.
6. Start putting 5% back in business to market and brand your business.
Most roofing business owners know that it is hard to grow small businesses without advertising. Online marketing should be part of your business plan as it works like “Word of Mouth” these days. If you want to grow, you have to spend back on it.
7. Wrap your work vehicle fast.
Not only it is the cheapest branding option, but also it is the biggest statement about your intentions in business and to yourself that you are here for a long run, not for a season or two.
There is no substitute for hard work and dedication to business. Don’t be fooled, it is a grind to start a company with no money. Create a plan and stick to it. Good luck!