How to Scale a Business Up (or Down) Depending on the Market

Build Your Business

Author: Sheryll Poe | July 6, 2023

Whether there are seasonal fluctuations, changing market conditions or fickle customer demand, roofing professionals need to know how to scale a business up to meet demand during peak times, or scale down to save on costs during a lull and remain profitable.

While no one can prepare for every chance event, there are several strategies and techniques that a roofing business owner can employ to quickly scale up and down to keep pace with the amount of business and customers they have at any specific time.

Roofing employee in vest and hard hat reviews job plans
Scale your business properly up and down quickly.

Plan Ahead

The first step in knowing how to scale a business is to be aware of your industry's cycles and prepare ahead of time. For example, roofing contractors are usually busier during the spring and summer months and quieter during the winter months.

Take those seasonal fluctuations into account when making revenue or cost projections by digging into the sales data from the last two to three years. Look at every aspect of your business from inventory to staffing over that period of time, and plan to scale up and down accordingly. And, if at all possible, be conservative when it comes to spending during the peak times and put away any cash reserves to carry you through the slower periods.

Know What You're Spending

Scrutinize all business costs — from variable costs, such as office supplies, to fixed costs, such as office rent. Negotiate with vendors, or switch to cheaper or even free options during periods where you have to temporarily scale down. Cut office supply costs by going paperless, or minimize tech costs by either consolidating the software you use or finding a solution that combines several services into one. By periodically auditing your recurring expenses, you'll know exactly what costs must be met versus what can be cut or reinvested in other parts of the business.


Automation can make things easier and less expensive for roofing business owners year-round. While scaling up, automating repetitive manual tasks such as appointment scheduling, customer follow-ups and invoicing allows business owners to focus on growing their business and meeting customer demand. During slower periods, having automated systems in place means you won't need to hire or employ someone to complete those tasks.

Invest in Technology

Whether you're scaling your business up or down, keeping track of current customers and potential customers is essential. Technology applications such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems allow roofing contractors to manage workflow during busy times and explore leads that could turn into customers during slower periods. Similarly, digital marketing tools allow you to test and measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and adjust your budget accordingly. In addition, having good accounting and financing software or a cloud-based application in place will give you insight into your finances when your ready to scale up or down.

Vendor Relations

Because materials are such a large part of the roofing business, it's a good idea to find a supplier who can be a valuable partner when scaling your roofing business up or down. Not only do roofing material suppliers know the best deals and discounts available, they can also help you plan ahead and manage your inventory between peaks and lulls. It pays to be a good, consistent customer with your preferred roofing material supplier during peak periods, so they'll take care of you during slower times.

Hire Seasonally and Outsource

Since the roofing industry is subject to seasonal peaks, it's a good idea to have a hiring plan to take those fluctuations into account and to provide plenty of lead time to hire temporary labor. One good idea: Build a database of your best seasonal employees, so you can hire them again when you need to scale up. Conversely, it's important to be transparent about the employment period and have a plan to reduce staff during non-peak periods.

During times of growth, it can be tempting to hire new employees to help complete projects. Consider hiring qualified freelancers or independent contractors to fill in the gaps instead. When you hire a freelancer or independent contractor, you're adding an expert to your roofing team without the added costs of employee benefits.

Navigating business or industry fluctuations is a critical skill for any roofing professional. The key for any roofing business owner looking into how to scale a business successfully is to develop the skills and strategies to steer your business through the ups and downs.

Subscribe to Beacon