4 Tips for Starting a Roofing Business on a Shoestring Budget

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The desire to work for yourself is a growing trend in America. Annoyance with corporations and a passion for an industry drives us to break with our current jobs and start our own businesses. While this gives us a sense of freedom, doing so may lead us to start our own company with little money to invest in it.

That does not mean it cannot be done. Relying on a shoestring budget forces you to be creative in how you conduct your business and advertise it to the community. You have to be smart in how you spend the money that you have available to put into your company. You also have to know your limits. You cannot take on tasks or projects that are outside your scope of financing; your company will crash and burn before you can even get it off the ground

Roofing Business

If you have experience in the roofing industry, and the desire to work for yourself has hit you too, then you have the perfect starting point. With the housing market exploding in many areas, there is going to be a big demand for competent contractors to perform the work on new construction as well as replacing existing roofs or repairing storm damage. Here are five things you should do to take advantage of this trend and start your own roofing business with just the money in your pocket and the expertise in your brain.

Collect a Deposit

Before you begin any work on a client’s roof, you need to first collect a portion of the quoted price. This will typically range between 33% to half of the estimated cost for the work to be done. This will allow you to put money into the project without having to pull from your savings accounts or other funding you may have. Any additional tools that might be required, or extra workers that you might need to complete the project, can be drawn from the deposit. Which leads to the next point…

Guerilla Marketing

You are not going to have money for advertising — you’re just not. Television and radio marketing will be out of your budget, and you will not be able to buy ad placements on relevant websites. With a shoestring budget, you are going to have to think outside of the box to get word of your business out to the public. If you are renting a vehicle, you could get a few car magnets to put on the doors and tailgate. These can be purchased for a small price. Staple flyers on telephone poles at street corners. Make the most of social media; this platform is free to use and can get your name out to the community if you are on the local pages.


Operating on a shoestring budget means there is not a lot of money to spread around. For projects that you can not complete on your own, or for ones that are contracted to be completed in a short amount of time, you may find that you need help. Instead of hiring a few extra hands or a full-size crew, sub-contract some of the work out to another company. Do this until your company has grown enough to hire on your own crew, at least. Save yourself money in the meantime by paying the other company a flat fee; any overtime or costs the subcontracted company incurs will be covered by that company.

Quality of the Subcontractor

While the extra costs the subcontractor accumulates is not your responsibility, the reason behind such accumulation may reflect poorly on you. Any damage caused by the secondary crew, or if the work is sloppy and the client is dissatisfied, your company could suffer for it. The unhappy client will say your employee shoddy workers and make their dissatisfaction known through social media. This could hurt your company’s reputation in the community. Worse, the client could cancel the contract and demand their deposit back. Either scenario creates a potential for financial loss, reducing your already-limited budget even more.

Lease Your Equipment

Just as you are subcontracting out the work to another crew, so too should you subcontract the equipment you use — rent the people, rent the tools. Leasing the equipment you need presents you with another opportunity to use what money you have wisely. Buying all of the equipment for your business can be costly, unnecessarily so in many cases. You can end up draining your budget on down payments and insurance for new equipment as well as eat away at your monthly budgets. Some of your needs can be rented for less than the down payments alone.


Your roofing company may require a truck to transport the pallets of shingles and other materials to the worksite. If you do not already have a truck capable of handling the weight required or that is large enough to fit everything you need to into the bed, then you may need to rent one that can. The advantage of renting a truck of any size is that you only have to use it for the duration of the project.

Once the job is complete, or the term of the rental is up, you can return the vehicle and not have to pay on it anymore. If you were to purchase a new truck, you would have to go through auto financing, provide a down payment, and so on…

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