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How to start a roofing business

One of the greatest, most gratifying things you can do in life, is to start your own business. It’s a challenge that will push you to learn how to succeed because there are no guarantees or safety nets. Starting your own roofing company requires some basic skills and knowledge, but if you’re willing to put in the work, it could be a gratifying experience for years to come.

If you are a contractor who has been thinking about how to start your own roofing business, the information in this article is for you. We will go over the steps on how to start a roofing business and everything you need to do before launching, such as acquiring all of your licenses and permits.

Once we cover how to get up and running, get licenses and permits, purchase insurance, and begin to market your services, we’ll show you how to make money from day one!

Man nailing shingles
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What do I need to start a roofing business?

Glad you asked. When you start your own roofing company, you first need to register with the state as a licensed contractor. To work for yourself in any capacity in the United States, you’ll need an individual business license from each of the 50 US states (plus Washington DC). This may sound like a lot of hoops to jump through, but it’s actually not that difficult- especially when compared to how many steps are needed at other levels of government.

When registering with the state, be sure to include all names associated with this venture: owners, employees, and even subcontractors if they will have any involvement on behalf of your business.

The next step is to get a tax ID number. This may sound like yet another frustrating hoop, but you can do it for free and with relatively little hassle through the US government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website.

Next, you’ll need a business license, which can typically cost you anywhere from $50 to $200. This is an annual fee, and it’s how the city collects taxes on your work. All in all, once you have the legalities out of the way, launching your new roofing business is pretty straightforward. We’ll get into that now.

Licenses and permits

There isn’t one law to rule them all when it comes to licensure in the US for entrepreneurs who want to open up a roofing business. Some states require licensing and bonding, and others don’t. You’ll need to talk with a representative at your local Department of Labor to know whether you’ll need licensure in your area as a roofing specialist. Either way, you’ll need to register with your state’s Contractor’s Board.

Registration rules exist to help protect consumers (homeowners, etc.) from those without any scruples who might otherwise take advantage by using substandard materials or services. In any case, you’re also going to want permits for any projects you land that are large enough that they would require inspections—typically larger than $500 worth of materials or more for one day of labor.

Getting insurance

As a roofing contractor, you’re going to want to get your own insurance. As previously stated, it’s unfortunate that there are many contractors who will do sub-par work and don’t understand how the industry works—or worse, have ill intent. Having proof of insurance can go a long way toward being seen as a roofing company that’s completely above board.

With that said, it varies by state as to what your actual insurance needs will be. There are two forms of insurance you’ll want to acquire. These are general liability and worker’s compensation. The first will cover you if there is ever any property damage caused by you or someone who works for you. The second protects you if any of your employees gets hurt on the job or becomes sick and can’t return to work.

Finally, there’s also insurance for commercial vehicles and your tools. If your company leases or owns any vehicles, having commercial vehicle insurance can protect you if a driver of your truck is involved in an accident and is at fault. When it comes to your tools, you can add insurance to your general liability policy that can cover you if they get damaged or lost.

While getting insurance is often seen as expensive and a pain in the you know what, remember that it’s better to be protected from unforeseen events that could lead to a nasty lawsuit.

Roofing contractors working on roof
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Launching your roofing business

Once you’re ready to go out and start getting customers, a large part of your time is must be spent on making people aware that you even exist. That means you’re going to need to advertise and begin marketing. You’ll need to set aside a certain amount every month to cover these necessary expenses.

Remember that you’re going to need things like a business website, social media presence, and you may wish to begin running local ads through platforms like Google or Facebook ads (or others).

More than anything else, you’re going to need to begin building relationships with everyone who could potentially be a customer. Remember the adage that people purchase from those they know, like, and trust. That saying applies to the roofing industry as much as to any other.

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Will Blesch
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Blesch is a copywriter, content writer, and someone passionate about anything that lets him discover more about this…
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