Many people want to become roofing contractors, but the path to success in an industry as competitive as roofing is not easy.
For Roofing Insights CEO Dmitry Lipinskiy, becoming a successful roofing contractor took years of overcoming obstacles, managing finances and employees, and creative marketing.
Lipinskiy has since sold his roofing business, and while he now educates other roofing contractors via his Roofing Business School, he is quick to emphasize just how challenging the roofing business can be.
“The contracting business is tough. That’s why 80% of contractors fail within the first two years, and 95% of people fail after five years,” he says.
To find out if you have what it takes to become a successful roofing contractor, keep reading to learn about…
The ten questions every new roofing contractor must ask before going into business!
1. Can you manage money?
As a roofing contractor, you have to manage homeowners’ money throughout the course of a roofing job, and if you don’t have a good system in place to manage the influx of checks coming in, your roofing business will likely crumble.
“I’ve seen a lot of contractors go and collect a bunch of checks, but because they could not manage money, they failed. Now they don’t have money to pay for materials, labor, or suppliers, and they go out of business,” explains Lipinskiy.
2. Are you organized?
Unorganized roofing contractors are not able to manage subcontractors, payroll, and a litany of other components to a roofing business.
If this level of responsibility sounds cumbersome, chances are you’re not ready to become a roofing contractor.
“If you want to be a good contractor, you have to be organized,” Lipinskiy emphasizes.
3. Can you delegate?
Some roofing companies are one-man operations where an individual handles all the responsibilities themselves because they fear other people disrupting how they do things.
This way of doing business is a recipe for disaster.
“Years ago, I was that kind of guy,” admits Lipinskiy. “If you worked for me, you could only open boxes or sweep the floors.”
But Lipinskiy knew that in order to grow his roofing business, he needed to invest in building a team so that he could focus on other aspects of the business.
“You have to learn how to delegate. I learned not because I wanted to, but because I had to in order to be successful. You have to learn how to give lesser-paying jobs to other people in your company because if you need to be doing $100 per hour work, but you’re held up doing $15 per hour tasks, then there is no one to do the $100 per hour work,” he explains.
4. How good are you with communication?
Being a successful roofing contractor requires strong communication skills, as business owners have to be able to communicate with everyone inside and outside of the company.
“There are so many people you have to talk to as a roofing business owner. You have to communicate with homeowners, order materials, pull permits, and talk to employees,” says Lipinskiy.
“It’s not just about selling the job. It’s about setting proper expectations for everyone around you. You are a middleman, and you have to communicate to all parties what it is that you’re trying to do.”
5. Can you work under stress?
Subcontractors not showing up to job sites.
Production managers making key mistakes.
All of these things will happen when you’re a roofing business owner.
“You’re going to accumulate a lot of mistakes and it will create enormous amounts of stress,” Lipinskiy warns.
He adds that if you are someone who does not like working under pressure or having to be available around the clock, then becoming a roofing contractor is not the right career choice for you.
6. Are you a good marketer?
Many roofing contractors can properly install shingles, but not every roofing contractor can market their company.
In 2021, merely doing good work is not enough to become successful because word-of-mouth is no longer a reliable business strategy.
“You want to market and advertise your roofing company in a way that will make you stand out,” Lipinskiy says.
“If you want to be a successful contractor, you have to do excellent work on the job site and then you have to advertise your work for other people to see. That will allow you to generate future business.”
7. Do you have thick skin?
LC Nussbeck says that the roofing industry isn’t designed for snowflakes.
Life as a roofing business owner comes with a seemingly never-ending set of challenges.
Whether it’s dealing with greedy subcontractors or unruly in-house employees, there are myriad obstacles within the roofing industry.
“In this business, you will deal with a lot of stupid people. It’s your job to babysit, teach, train, and hopefully get something out of your employees in return,” says Lipinskiy.
8. How is your customer service?
As a roofing contractor, your first loyalty should be to the homeowners who need new roofs.
If you refuse to work hard to make them happy, then good luck generating business in the future.
“The contracting business is a customer service business. You can’t be a dick about homeowner complaints. You have to be respectful and nice to people. You have to deal with their problems,” says Lipinskiy.
“You will have people literally watching you install their roofs. Sometimes homeowners will not be nice to you. Some of them will not pay their bills, but you always have to stay professional and deliver outstanding customer service.”
9. Can you stay humble?
Many roofing contractors fail because they frivolously spend money instead of investing resources into the company.
In the roofing industry, surprise bills and unexpected challenges always are lurking around the corner.
Therefore, it is crucial to have a safety net for when an unplanned occurrence shows up.
That means splurging on luxurious items could spell trouble whenever your roofing business is dealt an unexpected blow.
“As a contractor, you will have money in your account that you could touch, but you will always have to be mindful of the future and the liability that comes with that,” Lipinskiy remarks.
“Too often I see contractors start buying very expensive stuff like big trucks, boats, buildings, and other fancy stuff. Instead, I recommend staying as humble as possible.”
10. Are you good with numbers?
Balancing your bank account is an integral part of running a roofing business and ensuring that the company is always in good financial standing.
Sadly, too many roofing contractors are unaware of their financial status, which leads to overspending and eventually the demise of the business.
“If you don’t budget or understand numbers, you should rethink going into the roofing business,” says Lipinskiy.
“Good contractors have to know closing rates, sales numbers, net profit margins, and be able to break down jobs of any size. If you can’t understand these concepts, you aren’t going to be a good roofing contractor.”
Want to learn more about the roofing business?
Check out the Roofing Business School today to learn how you can start on the path toward achieving success as a roofing contractor!
Plans start as low as $197 per month!