6 Practical Tips for Small Business Roofers

Build Your Business
Author: Dan Stout | February 13, 2023

Running a small roofing business is hard work. The labor of roof repair and installations is tough enough, but when you add the paperwork of payroll, marketing, job management and everything else that comes along with running a small business, it can be overwhelming.

A roofer squats on a roof.
Small business roofers can leverage technology and experts to make their lives easier on the job site.

While every day might not be smooth sailing, here are six tips that can at least make things a little easier for small business roofers.

1. Lean on Experts

You probably didn't get into roofing because you love paperwork. And while you may be a world-class roofer, that doesn't mean you're a natural at the many side tasks that come with running a business.

The smartest roofers know when to bring in specialists. That might be a historical restorationist, or you might need help with accounting, tax prep or tech services. While hiring a specialist can feel expensive, avoiding headaches often makes up for the upfront cost.

Luckily, there are some experts you don't need to pay at all but who can partner with you. These could be friends with expertise you don't have (such as drywall repairs), or it can be an expert whose interests lie with getting you the right materials at the best possible price. Don't be afraid to reach out to your Beacon sales rep with any questions about materials or supply issues.

2. Develop Soft Leads

Many small business roofers don't bother pursuing referrals and repeat customers, assuming that a happy roofing customer is a customer who doesn't need another roof.

However, roofing repair customers often come back for full replacements, and any customer can make a referral to family and friends. The trick is to stay on your customers' radar. This might be as simple as sending holiday cards every year or scheduling an annual check-in to see if customers have any follow-up issues or concerns.

Homeowners want a contractor they can trust. If you stay on their radar and prove that you stand by your work, the referrals will roll in. When that happens, you'll have less pressure to compete on price since your quality and friendliness will be a known quantity.

3. Learn New Technology

While you can still do business without new technological tools, why live with those constraints when you don't need to? Now, you can create estimates, place orders, track delivery and more all with a single productivity app.

If you're looking to get your feet wet with newer technologies, look for software and apps that have zero upfront fees. A great place to start is the Beacon PRO+ mobile app. It's free to anyone with a Beacon account, and while it's loaded with high-tech options, you can go at your own pace and access the tools you need when you're ready. You can take small bites of new tech and move into the future of roofing at a speed that's right for you.

4. Get an Answering Service

Cell phones can be both a blessing and a curse. Roofers get emergency calls, new client calls and calls from existing clients with questions. And they all tend to come in when you're up on a roof or trying to relax after hours. Taking calls in the middle of the day reduces your efficiency, while taking calls after hours intrudes on your personal time. You can make life easier by farming incoming calls out to an answering service.

For a monthly fee or a per-call price, answering services can capture the caller's information and forward a text or email for you to review. Answering services also handle emergency actions such as connecting a call to you directly, which means your phone won't ring unless it's a true emergency. If you've spent days or weeks on-call, then you'll immediately appreciate the peace of mind an answering service provides.

5. Don't Underprice

Underpricing is a common mistake made by roofers, especially when establishing a new business. Some roofers underprice because they need cash flow. Others underprice because they didn't fully estimate a job's true costs. Intentional or not, underpricing doesn't set you up for success. Not only will you bring in less income, but it can signal to the client that you're not a top-tier contractor, leading clients to second-guess your quality.

Don't cut your own cash flow by misquoting a price. Use a product like Sumo Quote to deliver accurate estimates and sales packages to your clients. Present yourself professionally and charge a fair market rate, and you'll be giving yourself a little breathing room with every new job.

6. Measure Twice, Invest Once

With so many different options to develop your company, it can be difficult to know where to invest your money and time. Gut feelings are no way to make business decisions. To really know if a change is working, you have to select a few key numbers and track them before and after implementing new technology or strategies.

Thinking about advertising? Track how many leads you're getting before the ad runs, and see if that number increases. Looking at swapping out a crew member or a new set of tools? You need to know your production numbers in order to determine that your new strategy worked.

Project management software can let you crack the code to track production numbers. Job Nimbus is one such solution. With Job Nimbus, you'll manage jobs and crews, allowing you to track success rates as you implement new tech and strategies.

Whether it's new technology or making sure to hire experts when needed, leveraging available resources can make a big difference in your day to day. As you get started on your new small roofing business, these tips can help you along the way.

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