Can I Make a Living Selling Roofs?

Scared to sell roofs
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Are you too scared to sell roofs?You’re thinking about selling roofs for a living, but you’re scared… scared to quit your crappy current job, scared of working on commission and scared of knocking on doors. Am I right?

Don’t do it! You’re too scared.

Why? Well, you’re really going to stink in this business if you’re scared. Prospects can smell the fear as soon as they open their door. 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’ll go broke. At least you have a steady paycheck right now. It may not be much, but you make enough to pay the bills… barely. You’ve heard the stories about big commission checks, but you’re still scared. Frankly, the thought of working on commission makes you nauseous.

Here’s a better question… WHY are you so scared?

Here’s my 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.

Let’s take this list one-by-one.

Some of my answers to these most common fears may surprise you.

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

This is absolutely the #1 reason why people refuse to get into the business of selling roofs for a living.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Roofing companies will make all kinds of claims about how much money you can make when they’re trying to get you in the door.

While it is true that some salespeople make $50k, $75k up to $100k and even more working just 6-7 months out of the year, there’s so many more who quit after two or three weeks of big talk and no results.

With most roofing companies, you might get a couple days of inside training, watch a video or two and then go out knocking with a more experienced salesperson before they cut the strings and see what you’ve got. Some make it just fine, most don’t.

I’m not saying you should give up on the idea of selling roofs for a living if you get that impression with the roofing company recruiting you, I’m just saying that maybe you should look for a different roofing company.

Some companies are a lot better at training and preparing you for success than others. Make a wise choice.

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

I talk a lot about the rejection you’re bound to face when knocking doors.

There’s a whole category on this website dedicated to it. I suggest you read this article about knocking doors (and this one too) if you think you’re scared of door knocking.

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

No doubt, straight commission is a tough gig. In some roofing companies, you don’t make a dime until you collect a check.

One reason people fail so often with straight commission jobs is because the commission checks are so small.

Commission checks in roofing sales are large in comparison to most commission sales jobs. Some of the more established roofing companies will give you a draw against your future commissions when you turn in a contract along with the paperwork from the insurance company.

For instance, at Fireman Roofing, we often allow a 4% draw on the total contract. If the average contract is $10,000.00, that’s a $400 draw when you bring in a signed contract with the insurance papers. $400 is just the front-end money on a contract.

You should make more when the job is paid in full and all the bills are paid. An average job with average profit will pay about 8%-12% of the total contract. Assuming you make 10% total, you could make another $600 ($400 Draw + $600 Back-End = $1k).

With a $400 draw and another $600 on the back-end, that’s more money than most of you reading this website are currently making in 1 week… and that’s with only selling 1 average job a week with average profit.

These numbers are an illustration only. For exact commission numbers, you should talk to the roofing company and ask them EXACTLY how they’ll pay you… and when they’ll pay you.

#4 You don’t have any sales training.

Unless you’re one of those rare people with a natural sales ability, you’ll want to think long and hard before getting into this business. Roofing sales is about prospecting and selling… not roofing.

Sure, you need to know about roofing and it would certainly help if you had real-life roofing experience, but the primary skill you need is sales skill.

#5, #6 and #7 are covered in Part 2 of “Can I make a living selling roofs?”


P.S. Go ahead and subscribe to the all-new Platinum Newsletter right now.

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


  • Doug

    Reply Reply January 22, 2017

    Just getting started. I’m requesting a few videos. Sample videos. Your approach and introduction to a customer, the meat and potatos, and the close. Please help

  • Aaron

    Reply Reply November 2, 2016

    As someone who worked on commission and spent several years in sales, this sounds all too familiar. I try and make sure all of my salespeople are adequately trained. It’s a hard business, but I know from experience that you can definitely make a living selling roofs if you’re persistent enough and willing to let go of your fears.

  • John Longenecker

    Reply Reply January 14, 2016

    I specialize in commercial roof restorations and commercial reroof’s in the state of Florida I need a good Roof Salesman they are very hard to find! I am willing to split the profit on the job 50-50 every job you get us and I can provide the leads starting in Orlando and Jacksonville and everywhere in between, St. Johns County Flagler County Volusia County basically all of Northeast Florida We have great references we have been in business 15 years in Florida we do all kinds of commercial and residential roofing please call me if you’re interested 386-569-5111

    • Mike Coday

      Reply Reply January 15, 2016

      Hey John,

      Best of luck to you in your business.


    • Jeff b

      Reply Reply February 7, 2017

      I have been working in residential roofs sales for 5 years . I am in the Orlando area . I have done some commercial roofs , but mostly I enjoy working with resident home owners and investors . I work with many of the local Real Estate Brokers . I enjoy the company I currently work for , but the are slowly getting out of roofing and more in to building . Please let me know if you are interested in speaking with me . Thank you , Jeff B

  • Roberto

    Reply Reply November 1, 2015

    This sounds like me I want a game changer job ,,one night, I seen a ad on Indeed ,it said the all good things wanna make big money ,it’s possible 60k to 100k first year ,etc, selling roofs ,etc ,next morning I went to store just for coffee I don’t know if it was meant to be ,but a guy with a roofing company shirt was right in front of me ,I can talk to any one with no problem, so I ask him ,excuse me sir I see u work for a roofing company , ,how hard is it to get into sales,, his response is not hard ,you came up to me with no problem,, he’s Says that’s a good thing ,he gives me his number and ask if I would like to have a meeting with him ,I say yes I would like that, and just like that I am in a process of meeting his best trainer , i have always had a 9 to 5 job that steady paycheck working for the man ,but I want the better things in life and these deadend job sux ,I guess what I am saying is I am scared to go broke ,,but it seems like the way to go ,I mean one night I read about this and next morning I meet a roofing manager getting my number, I have been reading reviews on this company and I can’t find no bad ones ,should I stop being scared and go for it,, i know if I put my mind to it I can get it done , I got sum money saved up to rough it out starting off ,,but I get that ,if it’s to good to be true ,,etc thanks please reponse back thanks mike

    • Mike Coday

      Reply Reply November 1, 2015

      Hi Roberto,

      Attention is an amazing thing.

      The whole world is buzzing with stories, ideas, and thoughts, but only those we’re tuned in to hear catch our attention. It’s like buying a new car. Once a certain car grabs your attention, and you buy it, it’s amazing how often you see the same car on the road — where before you barely noticed anyone with that same car.

      I cannot tell you if you’ll be successful in roofing sales. There’s only one person who can make that happen, and it’s you. Many people have done it and succeeded, many more have tried and failed.

      What will you decide to do?

      The answer to that question is the answer to your question.

      All the best,

    • Roberto

      Reply Reply November 11, 2015

      Well mike, it’s roberto , I have decided to take on the salesman job I started going to the meetings two Wednesday ago and tomorrow I start my one on one training to understand the contracts and saturday I will get put on a team and take off ,they have agreed to let me test the waters and work the weekends and I will try to sell between the week mon Tue and Thursday right! I have been reading up and down on this website writing down all tips listening to ” being a better salesman videos” and what nots,, i want to prep myself as much as possible and I won’t forget to get out of the truck lol I hear that alot ,,but like Eric said preparation breeds confidence and am going for it guys I got ur daily tips too ,I like the shoe one ,it makes sense , I keep you posted later on ,I see myself being good at this ,positive thoughts all the way ,,thanks mike

      • Roberto

        November 11, 2015

        And I forgot to say I am still keeping my night shift job to be on the safe side it’s a Monday thru Friday thing working nights but not to late I go in at 3pm and out at 11pm ,get home ,sleep try to make some leads for the weekend,,, I think I can juggle both thanks again

  • Richard Edwards

    Reply Reply May 19, 2012

    You do not need to work for a roofing company to sell roofs. If you can sell and meet people, then you need to own your own company and forget about working for someone else in the business. What you will find is that with a little time, you will be pocketing 100% of the profit in your own pocket. Get a line of credit at no more than two distribution centers that roof load. Always shop your salesman and get the lowest material price possible and always get the roof load. Stick with proven winner in GAF or Certainteed roofing materials – avoid Tamko and Atlas. Figure out what you need to do to earn a homeowners business, pay their deductible if need be, and do your best to avg $700 – 1500 per roof job. I have been in the game for three years and avg $58k – 70k per year being my own boss. Get a website, business cards and start meeting people. You will do well.

    • Mike Coday

      Reply Reply October 16, 2015


      Most salespeople, if they’re any good, eventually get to the place where they want to run their own company.

      I’ve written about this a few times in the past–both on the website and through the Platinum Newsletter.

      Thanks for you input!


  • Eric Heath

    Reply Reply April 2, 2012

    I enjoyed this article.

    The commonality – CONFIDENCE!

    Confidence in yourself, your skill set, your company, your products, etc…

    Preparation breeds confidence.

    • Mike Coday

      Reply Reply October 16, 2015

      Thank you, Eric!

      You’re a legend in the roofing business.

      I would encourage anybody serious about making money in roofing to listen to your advice.

      All the best,

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