Can I Make a Living Selling Roofs? Part 2

Can you make money selling roofs?
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Can I make a living selling roofs? Part 2.

In Part 1 of “Can I make a living selling roofs?” we covered the first (4) reasons why people are afraid of roofing sales.

In Part 2 below, we’ll cover the last (3) excuses.

You really need to make sure you’re ready because prospects can smell the fear as soon as they open their door. This is a prospecting job.

Sometimes they won’t even open the door after they look through their peep-hole and see your frightened face on the other side.

You need to have a good understanding of “what’s the worst that could happen if I sell roofs for a living?”

Just to recap, here’s that list again…

Top 7 list of why people are afraid of roofing sales:

#1 You don’t trust the roofing company recruiting you.

#2 You can’t imagine knocking on doors for a living.

#3 You’ve worked on commission before and failed.

#4 You don’t have any sales training.

#5 Your friends tell you you’re crazy.

#6 You can’t afford the gas to drive around.

#7 You don’t have a vehicle.

#5 Your friends tell you you’re crazy.

Yep. They’re right!

You’re crazy to leave a steady paycheck with benefits and paid time-off.

When I walked away from the corporate advertising world to go back into running a roofing company, I left an extremely nice paycheck, health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, long-term disability, short-term disability, 401k, matching funds, sick days, personal and paid vacation time-off. The only thing I miss about corporate America is all the great people I worked with… and the steady paycheck, all my benefits, and my paid time-off.

There’s only 1 thing more valuable to me than all of that… My Freedom!

Listen, 9 out 10 guys who get in to roofing sales fail. They get hungry, go broke, and can’t take the pressure of working on commission only. Odds are, that’s exactly what will happen to you too… and your friends know it.

Yes, there is a chance that you’ll be that 1 guy out of 10 that will make it in roofing sales.

There’s a chance, a very small chance, that you’ll…

  • Escape the corporate jail cube.
  • Never again drive in rush hour unless you want to.
  • Make more money in 1 deal than you made in 2 weeks of work.
  • Take long lunch hours, go home early, skip work when you want.
  • Go to your kids’ games and school programs.
  • Have the money to do what you want with your life.
There’s always that chance! That’s why people do it.

#6 You can’t afford the gas to drive around.

One of the things I tell my guys is, “The price of gas is a lot lower than the cost of staying home.”

You really don’t need a lot of gas to drive to a neighborhood, get out of your car, and start knocking.

When guys tell me they can’t afford the gas, that usually means their doors are welded shut… they’re driving from neighborhood to neighborhood looking for the exact, perfect area to stop and start knocking.

If you want to save money on gas, get out of your car and start knocking!

Let’s do the math…

Let’s say that you drive a really old truck that only gets 10 MPG and the neighborhood you’re working is 20 miles away.

That means you’ll need 2 Gallons of gas (20 Miles divided by 10 MPG = 2 Gallons).

If gas runs $4 a gallon, it will cost you $8 to drive out to your neighborhood and $8 to drive home. That’s $16 a day in gas, but I seriously doubt you only get 10 MPG and I bet there’s a neighborhood closer than 20 miles away.

$16 Dollars a Day
Honestly, I don’t know anybody that prospects (5) days a week, but let’s assume that you do. That means that you’ll need $80 a week for gas (5 Days x $16 Dollars a Day = $80 a week).

If you are actually out in the neighborhood all day prospecting (5) days a week, I don’t know a roofing company owner out there who wouldn’t be willing to help you with your gas for several weeks while you’re getting up and running.

Seriously, if you’re going to work that hard, a good roofing company will help you… especially if you’re setting appointments.

Here’s the real problem… the reason why guys can’t afford $16 a day in gas is because they aren’t working. Bottom line. Period.

“No Gas” is a stupid excuse!

#7 You don’t have a vehicle.

On the surface, this sounds like a good excuse.

If you want something bad enough, there are no good excuses. You can always make a way.

For example, why not ride with the guy that recruited you. You could set appointments for him (and split commissions) until you can afford to buy a cash car for yourself. That would work, wouldn’t it?


About The Author

Mike Coday

Mike Coday is a retired youth pastor turned serial entrepreneur, roofing marketing consultant, author, speaker, sales trainer, and sentimental family man. His expertise is coaching roofers to the next level of success.

Facebook Comments


  • Michael

    Reply Reply February 10, 2016

    Can you post a link to the article on selling to churches? I cant seem to find it.

  • Sarah Fortune

    Reply Reply October 21, 2013

    I am a 28 yr old female and I’ve been juggling with my roofing sales career for almost 2 years. I WAS TIRED of waking up and rushing my son out of bed, rushing to the car, rushing him into day care, speeding to work, just to make it on time by 7 am every day, not able to go be at any of his school functions. I was working in a sales center when I got laid off. I’ve been in the military, had government jobs, been an insurance agent, and sold everything from imports I western uniformed money to china for, to Mary kay, to financial plans, to health plans. After being laid off I remember my dad saying one thing to me and that is “I am a damn good salesman.” I didn’t really believe my dad was ever proud of me because I had changed jobs and careers so much. He still thinks I’m crazy for doing this roofing thing. After he told me that when I was laid off I got online and researched high paying sales jobs I could get quick. And that’s how I got into roofing. I am not your average contractor. I am a girly blonde female that likes to dress up and wear lots of make up. But I am not afraid to work hard and do what it takes to make it. I have been through about 5 roofing companies to be where I’m at now. My first company denied me my $76,000 commission after I closed an apt deal here in Oklahoma during a tornado. They wouldn’t let me work the insurance bc I was too new and they told me to keep selling residentials bc that would take a while. Every roofer in town wanted me to work for them bc I was motivated by the “chance” the potential even when I was failing at everything. I would get online and read your website. Nobody teaches you roofing; you just have to do it. I would stay up every night reading online. I wasn’t and am not afraid to knock doors, and I carry a expanding ladder in my little Chevy Aveo car selling roofs. Anyway my first company ended up denying my commission for the apartments bc they ended up saying I didn’t do anything for it since they worked the insurance. I had already told my son we were going to Disneyworld. After losing $76,000 you would think someone would quit, I just kept going. Went to another company and them of course started to receive legal threats from my previous one. Let’s just say if anyone should have quit by now, it’s me. FINALLY after companies who weren’t paying, weren’t completing my customers work, I am with something I can build on. I had done quite well this summer – finally realizing the value of working nicer areas, having nicer and better customers. I had 2 NICE neighborhoods who LOVED me. I didn’t have time to prospect or door knock bc I couldn’t keep up w my daily referrals. Oh and let me back up, after not being paid ever on supplements, after my office never getting my customers trades of work completed, after never following up with insurance on my files, etc – I do everything on my own from start to finish with customers and I keep all my own records. I taught myself how to use Xactimate from reading online, I taught myself how to get things supplemented, and by morning I started to get on the phone at home pushing my deals through. I would stay up late every night after my kids were asleep, I would go through every file and make sure insurance had everything emailed to them for all my supplementing and checks to be released. I started calling insurance in morning to check and see if they got my email, they would search for it, and then I would make sure I got them everything they needed to release money or approve my supplements. I started to consistently get $4,000-$6,000 EXTRA PROFIT on each deal. I was getting so good my boss gave me ALL his files to supplement. I was getting paid straight 50% commission. I measured all my own roofs online with google earth, so nobody had to do anything for me. I had contact with my customers and they knew me. Well my boss was so bush he couldn’t keep up with my pay, so I was just getting like $5,000 a week he would write out to me until he could get time to figure them. I kept all my own material receipts, I kept track of what we were paying crews, I had it all on an excel spreadsheet. I had that he owed me close to $20,000 and that’s not including all the supplements I got approved for him I was supposed to get half. Well I started to get so busy and this year in Oklahoma, if you’re a roofer, you HAD TO hire more and more crews to keep up. He didn’t. My customers work and roofs and everything started to be delayed time after time after time. And when I’m working off this neighborhoods referrals and I promise them and tell them we are going to do everything great for them and people started asking me “why their neighbor still didn’t get this or that done etc” and things still weren’t getting done – after the 3rd customer complaint I called the guy I work for now and I started my business over again. In roofing, I have lost probably over $100,000 in the past year bc every time you switch companies or go start selling for someone else bc your guys aren’t paying you or taking care of your customers (which very few do both), you LOSE everything you had out and had hoped to get paid on. So every time I made a change in companies, i lost. Most recently when I made the change again, I lost $20,000 and I logs ALL my customers and I had to start again with 0, I had to start brand new. I tried to go back to my neighborhoods and talk to the people and tell them – but my boss had already went to them still trying to get to do their roofs and told them I no longer work for them etc. then he found out who I work for now and I again started to get embezzlement threats and text messages daily how I better not have contact with any of my customers etc. see – the thing with me being a roofing salesman, or now my title is General Manager, when I get a customer / they are my friend. I know their family and they know mine because once I get them, I love comminicating with them. I send them a thank you card, I send them Christmas cards, I call and check to see how they’re doing. And I get a thrill goin through an insurance summary and averaging the best profit to worst profit and seeing hoe much each deal is worth. And then going through the long process with insurance and supplements to try and get the most. I live in Moore, Oklahoma and I live right by the tornado path. I couldn’t get back into my house for 2 weeks. I was depressed. I have also been hoping for a huge hailestorm to hit my hometown bc I’m from here and I know everybody. I watched roofers line our streets and it made me cry. I didn’t even begin to have the wit to sell until a month after the storm once I decided I needed to help people and I would be able to do lots of work and that is better than another dirty contractor who will probably screw people over getting to do all the jobs I was missing out on. I have experienced and seen success bc I know this business inside and hit and I will go door knock, I will get up on roofs, show pictures with damages circled so the customer sees. My husband can’t do it. He tried with me. He doesn’t go on after getting 20 no’s. But that one yes after 2 hours beats 80 hours working in corporate amrica and that is what I do know. When I started over again recently, I had to start with nothing. Instead of my usual customers referring me their coworkers, their families, and their neighbors daily; I had to start knocking with door #1 in a neighborhood I’ve done 0 jobs in so far. One advantage I do have is I’ve seen the success and I know what I can do. My friends and family don’t understand why it don’t quit roofing, they are confused to why I have worked for 5 different roofing companies already. But MOST people are satisfied with getting by on a paycheck living every day life in an office surrounded by the same people every day. That stuff drove me crazy!!! I used to sit in my cubicle at my desk and think “I know there’s more to life than this.” I am constantly motivated by the fact that knocking doors for 2 hours consistently will get me 4 or 5 new sales and even though it takes me about 2 hours of psyching myself into remembering that I can do this before I can get out of my car and get myself together, that is still so much more awesome than going back to fighting traffic every day, missing my sons mornings, and never being able to take him to the beach because I’m just getting by. SOOO…. After I did pretty well this summer in 2 months I was able to take him on a beach trip, I came back, started over, got my car repo’d, started over with another car, and I’ve been rebuilding my roofing business all over again for the past 2 months. I haven’t got paid in 2 months, but I have 3 roof deals done and waiting to collect all funds and on top of those I have 3 more to schedule this week, I have 3 adjuster appts for roofs, and 23 other roofing deals I’m getting going waiting on insurance, and even though ALL my bills are behind, and believe me I’m getting ridiculed and harassed, my ex husband recently told me he really thinks I need to quit this roofing deal and get a real job again so I can start paying my bills; I know once I finish out this month withy new deals I have from starting over / I can get close to $100,000 just from this month. That is why I continue to stick with this roofing thing. I’m FINALLY with awesome company who gets ALL my customers work done in all trades quickly / and they do a good job without short cutting or doing crap work, and they agreed to pay me at 50% commission as I was previously making.
    They have never paid anyone that with 0 office fee / but they’ve never had a salesman who works their own deals, handles their own estimates and meauring, and does all their own supplementing etc. they didn’t have to do that; so now I feel extra obligated to do good for them and they are so happy to have me. I currently have more deals going than any other of their guys do and I’m the only salesman they have committed to hitting the streets 5 days a week to reach my goal of 30 new roof installs for October. Alsoh passion is commercial deals / residentials wear me out even though I do them. Ever since I lost that $75,000 off my apt deal I didn’t get / I’ve been putting in bids and trying for those too. The guys I work with now have a guy who is currently working on 2 commercial deals worth 2 million dollars – and he has been down. So they are going to she me go with him this week to sit with him and also encourage him. Another strength I believe I bring to roofing compared to others is my professionalism. I good at dressing up, smiling, and looking pretty as a blonde lady / and even though there is little to none like me doing this – I have had to believe some days that is all I have to work with against all the competition of other roofing companies working in Oklahoma right now. And the company I works for sees my appearance and professionalism and is letting me possibly in on these commercial deals. You see, when I lost the $75,000 of course I wanted to quit. But I saw the potential and I wanted it SO BAD I knew I could get it again and I pray this roofing season closes out for me better than “just another average desk job.” My family and friends will soon see why I am still passionate about this roofing thing. I love it!!!!

    • Trevas

      Reply Reply October 27, 2015

      Hi Sarah, thanks so much for your honest and thoughtful representation of your experiences. I am considering a career change to commercial roofing sales. I’m coming from pharma/medical sales so this is a big deal for me. Are you still in roofing sales? What was your best year annual sales bonus/salary if you don’t mind me asking? I’d really love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

  • Jason Messick

    Reply Reply January 16, 2013

    I had every one of those fears (and kinda still do). It took me struggling with a steady paycheck to actually leave it. Because that was the type of job I always had, and doing anything else simply wasn’t acceptable for a family man.

    But, I had to physically see and witness first hand the money that could be made, and how it was made, for me to lunge in with both feet forward….that, and having family to help support me while I got on my feet and became successful at this.

    I still believe that a steady job with benefits is the best option for a person who wants to support him/herself and their family….but I also believe those types of jobs are getting harder to come by due to a poor economy, lack of education, lack of qualified workers, and a million other different reasons.

    Oh sure, those jobs are still out there, but they pay less, and benefit the worker less….Home depot will give you a fabulous career with time off and benefits…..for $10/hr. And you can go get educated and land a better paying job…but you’ll pay for your education for several years after graduation.

    I know, you can hear my frustration pouring out of this rant, as I have experienced all of the above.

    I can’t really speak for anybody else, but for me, moving into this type of career was more of a “I’m fed up with scraping by” than anything else. I killed myself working in that type of job getting nowhere. I put the same type of drive and motivation into this, and I’m already doing well, without full knowledge of the industry, and without much experience….in what they tell me is the “slowest time of the year”

    So I say bring on storm season, and sit back and watch me “make a living doing roof sales”.

    : )

    • mike

      Reply Reply January 16, 2013


      Your point about steady work is well taken…

      I know a lot of guys that have given up on their dream of being independent in the construction field. They’re working at Home Depot right now. That’s not a knock on them or Home Depot, but if you’re willing to trade your freedom for $10 an hour than my guess is that they were really struggling.

      I look forward to responding to your questions about selling to churches. They are unique and I believe I can bring some insight to you and the rest of the roofing sales community.

      I should have that article posted sometime tomorrow.

      Thanks for your comments Jason.


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