Before You Take That Roofing Sales Job

Advice Before You Take A Roofing Sales Job
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Are the doors locked on your new career?

Do You Imagine The Doors Locked?

Knocking doors is the single, greatest concern people have about taking a roofing sales job.

Maybe they’ve experienced some good success in other jobs, but when they imagine knocking on a door, they always imagine the door as being locked. Locked doors come from locked minds.

Here’s a recent reader comment that illustrates the concerns so many have about getting into the roofing sales business.

Take a second to read the comment and then I’ll answer your questions in the comment section below. Feel free to join in the conversation and leave your comments below…

Hi Mike.

I have just been offered a job with a roofing company that pays 50% of gross profits. I met a couple of their salesmen and they seemed happy with their jobs. They only work a few days a week and stated that they are happy with their income. They also impressed me as being down to earth, honest people.

I have been in sales for about seven years. I am not a slick individual, my sales have usually been a result of my ‘good ole boy’ persona and honesty, I sold mortgages through the internet. I intend to put in as much time as possible. I am just a little hesitant about going door to door. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Just Offered a Job

Congratulations on being offered a job with a roofing company. With unemployment hovering around 8%-9%, it is nice to have an opportunity to make a living.

You’re going to get 50% of the Gross Profit. That sounds fair to me. There’s several roofing companies that start their new sales people out at 25%, 30% or 40%.

One question I would want answered is, “what is the overhead or office fee” they charge against the job. For a lot of companies, these overhead expenses can amount to as much as 10% of the total contract.

For example, if you bring in a $10,000.00 contract, will they subtract 10% ($1,000) off the top before they figure your 50/50 Commission.

If a $10,000 job made $3,000, you would only get $1,000 final commission after a 10% Overhead.

Know your Overhead % before you take the job.

If you’re getting professional sales training, exceptional back-office support, or you’re getting leads handed to you, it may be more than worth it to pay the higher overhead charges.

Happy Salesmen

When the current sales people all seem to be happy, that’s usually a good sign that you’re working with a well-run roofing company.

Here’s a little secret for you though… not everybody in the office is going to be happy to see the new guy. To them, you’re now the competition.

You’re now in direct competition for their leads, their neighborhoods, their favorite roofing crews, their advances and their standing in the company.

Stay away from these small-minded, selfish, insecure sales people.

They’ll want to sabotage you before you ever get started. If they’re not for you, they’re against you. Watch your back when you first start out until you know who you can trust.

Only Work A Few Days A Week


The great thing about roofing sales is that you can work whenever you want.

The bad thing about roofing sales is that you can work whenever you want.

If you’re only going to work a few days a week, make sure that you work on the days when you’re most likely to sign contracts.

7 Best Times to Get a Contract

  1. Any time you have an appointment
  2. Right after you’ve signed your last contract
  3. With the neighbors when there’s a roof in production.
  4. Saturday during garage sale hours (10-2)
  5. Tuesday evenings
  6. Thursday evenings
  7. Monday evenings

5 Worst Times to Get a Contract

  1. Holiday weekends
  2. Holiday weekdays
  3. Friday evenings
  4. Wednesday evenings
  5. Extremely cold days

You can always knock doors during normal working hours (8 am – 5 pm), but you’re more likely to make contact with people at night after work.

One advantage to knocking doors during the day is that in a lot of households the wife is actually the decision maker. If you can catch a housewife home, you may have to come back to tie things down with the husband at night, but the decision has already been made by the time he gets home.

Work With Honest People

If you ever get to the place where you don’t trust your roofing company, get out of there immediately. Don’t wait around for things to get better or because they still owe you money. Leave. Leave now. Don’t look back. Trust me on this one.

Sales Experience

If you don’t have any sales experience going in to the job, you’ll either learn to sell really fast or you’ll go broke really soon. One or the other. Guaranteed.

Be Who You Are

If you’re the proverbial “Good Ole Boy”, stick with it because people just want to know that you’re real and they can trust you with their greatest investment… their home.

Trying to be something you’re not is the worst thing you can do in this business. When you first start selling roofs, you probably won’t sell many on your first visit. It may take you going back to those prospects several times before you finally get them in the boat with you.

If you’re acting like somebody you’re not, you’re going to confuse them because you’ll never remember what you acted like last time you were there.

Remember this simple rule about selling: “Confused minds never buy!”

You’re right on target here… Just be who you are.

Hesitant About Going Door to Door

Even though this is what you originally commented about, I purposely saved this one for last because it is the most important.

Always pay attention to the 1st thing somebody says to you and the last thing they say… because one of the two will probably be the most important thing they say.

Reminds me of the tomb stone in the old cemetery that read, “I told you I was sick.”

“If you can’t see yourself knocking on doors, you can’t do this job.”

Knocking on doors is what this job is all about.

It is the beginning and the end… When you begin knocking on doors, you’ll start making money. When you stop knocking doors, the money stops.

There’s a few roofing companies out there that have put together programs where they give their sales people a steady supply of roofing leads every day to go out and run.

Roofing leads are extremely expensive to generate.

As a result, roofing sales people who take leads get paid less than what they could make generating their own roofing leads.

If you take leads from a roofing company, you’ll start to count on them to help you make a living. As long as the leads keep coming, you’ll be fine. Once they dry up, you’ll be under a lot of pressure.

3 Valuable Door Knocking Tips

#1 Get Out Of The Truck

More roofing salesmen quit because they almost never get out of the truck. They’ll drive around endlessly acting like their door is welded shut.

Your odds of success go way up as soon as you get out of the truck, walk up to your first door, and knock.

#2 Get Them Talking

Eventually, somebody is going to answer the door.

After you introduce yourself and tell them why you’re there, resist the urge, with everything that’s in you, to tell them everything you know about roofing.

They were minding their own business when you knocked on their door. When you knocked, they thought to themselves, “Hey, somebody wants something from me. I better go see who it is. I hope it isn’t a salesperson…”

They aren’t coming to the door to listen to you talk.

They’re coming to door because they’re curious. They want to know, “who thinks I am valuable enough to spend their time coming to my door?”

GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT!

One of the most valuable assets you’ll have in your roofing sales arsenal is the ability to get people talking about what’s important to them… their dog, their kid, their job, their vacation, etc.

Whatever it is, get them talking and you start listening. If you’ve done your job well enough, you’ll eventually earn the right to be heard in return.

They haven’t forgotten why you came to the door. It is in the back of their mind the whole time they’re talking to you. You’ll know when they’re ready for you to tell them more.

Resist the urge to lead the conversation. Learn how to control it by taking advantage of the openings your prospects give you as you earn their trust.

#3 Get To The Table

Think about this for a minute…

What’s the last thing you bought while standing at the front door of your home? Probably the most expensive thing you purchased was Girl Scout cookies or maybe a magazine subscription.

Important decisions are made in the home.

Important decisions are made over a cup of coffee.

Important decisions are made sitting down at a table.

If you can get in the home, you’ve earned the right to be considered for an important decision. Getting to the table doesn’t guarantee you the sale, but it is a guarantee that you’ll be seriously considered.

Your odds of closing go way up once you get invited to come inside.

If you’ve found this article helpful, take a moment and leave a comment below. I would appreciate your thoughts because it helps me to know how to help you best.

Peace,
Mike

P.S. The question I’m most often asked is, “Mike, are you hiring and will you train me?” Click here to read my answer.

Sales Domination System

Facebook Comments

87 Comments

  • Alfredo

    Reply Reply June 21, 2014

    thanks for everything…

    I worked in roofing for 2 years i started from the bottom. I started picking up the old shingles, then came up to be the lider of the group, now i want to be a salesman and got hired as one. My question is what questions are the best to start the conversation? talking about the roof? etc.. please help mike…

  • Eric

    Reply Reply April 1, 2014

    I have been roofing for 17 years in Minnesota.

    The first 10 were 100% new construction and I worked year round. Since the construction boom ended, I’ve been nearly 100% remodel and only have about a 7-9 month season. I feel I can spot roof / siding damage from miles away.

    Now, I would door knock myself, but having been in the construction field for almost 20 years without dental, my teeth are very bad. I find it hard to smile because of this. You can’t be a self-conscious sales person.

    I feel like I could make supplemental income by being able to point out serious problems to these people. I can also sell the jobs to several licensed contractors I work for. I know from previous jobs, the people were pleased that the salesman would also be the one doing the work.

    I’ve been contemplating going tandem with a younger, better looking sales person — get them to allow me to estimate and close the deal for our contractors. Just wondering if a tandem approach would work or if I should get over myself and do door-to-door for myself… On top of that, I would like to know if there is an example contract between sales/contractor that would be ironclad in case of payment disputes.

    • Mike Coday

      Reply Reply April 1, 2014

      Hey Eric,

      Your experience in the business is extremely valuable.

      We all have our short-comings, but focusing on them only holds us back from doing what we want to do. If you want to join forces with another salesperson to help you close deals, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. However, with your experience, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t sell the jobs yourself.

      My advice is to focus on your strengths because you could spend a lifetime trying to improve where you’re weak, and only get moderately better. But if you focus on your strengths, you can make progress toward your goals a lot faster. You know construction, have a good understanding of sales, and that’s your strength. Don’t be afraid to sell by yourself.

      As far as putting together an iron-clad sales/contractor agreement, my best advice would be to seek out legal counsel. I don’t give out legal advice, but I’ve personally used eLance.com to help me source professional help. It was an affordable way for me to get the advice I needed.

      Best to you!
      Mike

  • Ken Hogan

    Reply Reply December 16, 2013

    Thank you Mike, Great information my question is regarding compensation. I’m considering working with a very reputable roofing company in Florida generating sales in the Property Management area /Multi Family ReRoofs / High End new Custom Homes and Commercial Blds. The Company has a great brand name awareness/capabilities.
    30 + years in Business ,excellent company brand name .All sales would be self generated any thoughts on commission structure for Commercial roofing in Florida ? Also for retail ReRoofs Thank You Ken

  • Noel

    Reply Reply October 3, 2013

    I’m so glad I found this blog. Mike I just started less then a year ago canvassing for roofs. I’m very comfortable door knocking and have a lot of success doing on the spot estimates but both parties aren’t home or they won’t let me in. Many men don’t like when I say what’s a good time you and your wife are home, obviously they make the decision but then say I’ll talk to my wife and give you a call. I know the basics on describing the job we will do but not enough to show them that they need it now. So I’m looking for tips on getting into the house, making the appointment with both parties and reasons why they need it now (closing). Any suggestions will be helpful . Thanks again

    • Mike

      Reply Reply October 4, 2013

      Hi Noel,

      I’m impressed that you’ve been able to make it canvassing for almost a year. That’s great Noel. It means you’re doing a lot of things right.

      The answer to your question is, “curiosity.”

      People are interested when they’re interested, until they’re not interested… and they lose interest, or curiosity, when they get the answers they need to satisfy their curiosity.

      The trick is to hold back on all of your answers until you position yourself best to answer their questions and objections. The place to do that, as you know, is not at the front door. You want to reveal answers when you are inside, sitting down, after you’ve had a chance to build trust and credibility.

      How do you get inside? Good question.

      Again, the answer is, “curiosity.”

      Now, how do you build this curiosity?

      Just to make sure I’m not wasting my time typing in the wind, reply back and I’ll tell you exactly how to do it step-by-step.

      Peace,
      Mike

  • Heather

    Reply Reply August 24, 2013

    You really should not knock on doors that have signs asking you not to. It’s rude, unpleasant for the person at home, and dangerous. For instance, my dog WILL go through the screen after any male she doesn’t recognize, yet roofers insist on ringing the door bell. One woke me up this morning during those great “yard sale hours” btw-thanks for that line. People who work at night DO NOT want you to ring their door bell at ten am.

    I get that this is your job, but have respect. I’m NOT going to be moved by whatever speech you made, I’m going to put your company down on my “rude” list, and whenever I DO decide I need work done, I’m not going to use your company. Plus, I’m going to tell everyone I ever met ever not to use you, either.

    • Mike

      Reply Reply August 24, 2013

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for your note this morning.

      I don’t know who knocked on your door this morning, but I agree with you in that they really should have honored your sign. No soliciting means no soliciting.

      Obviously, some people will miss the sign while out hustling, trying to make a living. Mistakes happen. They aren’t all mistakes, but a certain percentage of those are honest mistakes. Then again, they will deserve whatever tongue lashing they get for not paying attention. The sign is there for a reason and it should be honored.

      Door-to-door sales people should understand that a door with “no soliciting” is sending them an encoded message… That message is exactly what you said, “whenever I DO decide I need work done, I’m not going to use your company [the company knocking on my door, disrespecting my wishes, being rude and unpleasant].”

      Folks, while old school sales training may tell you that people with “no soliciting” signs are easier to sell because they are afraid of saying “yes”, there’s more to it than that. Even though the Supreme Court has thrown out a law barring door-to-door solicitation, just because it is completely legal, doesn’t mean that it is the best way to attract “no soliciting” prospects.

      If you are going to “WIN” a prospect like this, you’ll need to do it using another marketing “door” of entry besides the front door.

      That sign on the front door no longer means, “I’m an easy sale.”

      Our society and culture has changed.

      Show respect and find another way.

      Peace,
      Mike

      P.S. I have no idea who knocked on her door this morning because I live in another state hundreds, maybe a thousand, miles away from her. However, she gave us a great gift… the opportunity to learn something new.

  • John townson

    Reply Reply August 7, 2013

    Hi all my name is John I been doing sales my whole life. I been in the roofing game for about a month and have gotten alot of leads but my guy I have been giving them to has butcher my leads and now I am selling because not losing anymore money dumb sales men What are some good programs to learn the roofing game because I am clueless right now

  • Tyler

    Reply Reply July 28, 2013

    Mike,
    Thank you for you advice, I am 20 years old and have moved to Oklahoma to be a sales rep for my cousins roofing business. I have never sold a thing in my life, but feel confident I can get the hang of it. One of my concerns is insurance papers, with the tornado ripping through here, 90% of my business if not all of the business is insurance claims. The concern I have is not being able to understand the insurance paperwork that i am “supposed” to base my estimate on. My cousin has gone over then a few times with me, but I just can not seem to grasp the concept of all that “mumbo-jumbo” if you will. What’s something I can do, read, or practice with, to better help me understand how to “sign the job” by looking at these papers?
    Thanks again for all your great advice :)
    -Tyler

  • Jason

    Reply Reply July 9, 2013

    Hi Mike,

    Good stuff. My question relates to “door to door” knocking. Personally although it does generate leads in this day and age im not sure if its the most well percieved method of presenting ones company. Because of so many bad guys ripping off people and even the well respect Angies List warning folks about it I’m not inclined to want to put our company in this method of generating roof leads. What to you think of this idea, that is if we do a direct mailer around(only direct nieghbors) every re roof we do ? This way we refrence our current or recent install so we build credibilty and recoginition to incite them to call. This way we dont have to be percieved as those potential shady contractors knocking on doors. The other thing is its less pressure on the consumer when they call you without being bothered with un uninvited door knocker. Love to get your take on this idea. Thanks Mike!!

    Jason

    • Mike

      Reply Reply July 9, 2013

      Hi Jason,

      That is a branding decision you’ll have to make for yourself.

      If you want to present yourself to people as the roofing company that does not knock on doors, then you eliminate a lot of opportunity by taking that marketing technique away from your salespeople. I don’t think that is necessary because I don’t believe that door knocking is universally perceived as shady.

      All pressure creates resistance… it also creates opportunity. My wife wouldn’t be my wife today if I didn’t win my way through her initial resistance. A child isn’t born without pressure. Nothing good in life is ever achieved without overcoming a difficulty.

      The puzzle every door knocker has to solve is this, “How do I knock this door and present real value so that I am not perceived as being shady?” They may not solve that puzzle with every homeowner that answers the door, but they must solve it often enough and well enough to create enough value to overcome any perceived negatives.

      A lot of roofing companies are throwing total and complete junk at every door in the neighborhood in the hopes that something eventually sticks. That’s where this stigma is coming from… it can be beat; not by NOT knocking on the door, but rather by knocking on the door and presenting real value. If you’re like I am, you can think of many ways to approach a cold door knock that will allow you to be seen in a positive light.

      When a sales person or roofing company can figure out how to do this, they have solved the whole issue of door knocking being perceived as shady. Interrupting is interrupting. If you can interrupt me and give me something that interests me, it isn’t seen as an intrusion. Show up at my house with a box thin mints and I’m all in – no questions asked.

      Every roofing company owner and sales person eventually has to answer this question for themselves. There are those who will sit back and wait for the phone to ring. They will cause little disruption of evening dinners, and they’ll be fortunate to make enough money to feed their own family. But, if they can figure out how to do that, more power to them!

      That’s my take. Thank you for asking.

      Peace,
      Mike

  • Doug

    Reply Reply April 29, 2013

    I just wanted to find the right place around here to say thanks for the blog and this site, I’ve been reading as much of it as I can for the past few days and have found the articles and other peoples opinions to be invaluable.
    I’m a middle aged, 35 year exp roofer, that has recently had to face the fact that my body has passed it’s best before date and my days of nailing are definitely over. Facing up to the fact that you’re incapable of supporting yourself the way you always have is a little difficult to deal with and the vision of becoming a home depot associate has had me in a pretty deep funk for the past week.
    I applied for a job as a trailer driver and clean up guy for a roofing company but the job was taken and the owner has convinced me to pursue sales in his company instead.
    He’s always done his own sales but finds he’s too busy to keep up the pace and is planning to expend his operation. The whole prospect of change can be a scary thing, and at the age of 54 it can come closer to terror, reading all your articles. and hearing what so many others have had to say has given me quite a confidence boost and answered a lot of the questions I’ve had in my head about sales. Thank again., and I hope to be a regular reader and contributor here. I’ll definitely check in after I make my first sale. :)

    • Mike

      Reply Reply April 29, 2013

      Glad you found the site. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!

      • Doug

        April 30, 2013

        Thanks Mike, I do have one thing (for now) I’d like to ask. Once you’ve got the appt, worked out the quote, made the presentation, and you’re sitting at the table with what appears to be comfortable clients how do you deal with that precise moment of trying to get a signature on a contract?
        What I’m asking is, do you try and push a little to get it right then and there or do you immediately offer to let them talk about it and offer to contact them in a day or so?

      • Mike

        May 1, 2013

        I always ask, “does everything look good to you?”

        If they have any hesitations, this is when you’ll get them.

        After you answer any objections, ask again, “does everything look good to you?”

        When they say it does, ask them to go ahead and “approve the paperwork”. Hand them the pen and show them where to sign.

        This sounds simple and it is. The key to a smooth closing is a great presentation. A great presentation will answer any anticipated objections before you get to the close.

        If you constantly hear the same objection, figure out how to incorporate the rebuttal into your presentation.

        For instance, if they are always saying, “your price is too high.”, you’ll want to answer that objection while you’re presenting.

        That could sound like this…

        A lot of people say that out price is too high, but we’re actually priced somewhere in the middle. I’ve always found that you get what you pay for, haven’t you? (Wait for response) Besides, you don’t strike me as the type of people who do things the cheap way. You have a beautiful home…

        Hope that helps

        Mike

  • Mike

    Reply Reply April 25, 2013

    Hey Mike,

    Really glad I stumbled upon your blog. Recently, I was offered a job through a friend of my mother’s who has started his own roofing business in the Cincinnati, OH area. The company consists currently of two partners and their subs and me. They have so far provided me with what I felt to be firm training. They are offering me 10% of the total price of each contract. I am new to sales and somewhat familiar with roofing as I have worked with a friend who does roofing as a side occupation. I would be leaving a career in construction which provides good benefits for my wife and kids and also provides a good income for about 9 months out of the year. The roofing company has offered a 50/50 split on any med/dental insurance plan I can find for my family. Not sure if I can find anything individually that would be as good as the insurance provided by my current job. I feel I have a firm grasp on the concept of roofing sales and think I might be a fit, but just need a few at bats and I am eager to get started and on my own. They are not yet ready to cut me loose though it seems. Trying to be patient and soak up as much info as they are willing to give before they do turn me loose. I will be using my own truck and ladder. I guess what I’d like to know from you is:
    Any advice you have for a first time door knocker?
    Is this 10% of total contract price a good deal?
    Any advice about individual healthcare plans?
    Is roofing really slow during winter months in Ohio?
    Just need to know if I should jump from one bucket to the other. I currently
    struggle through winter months being laid off from work but maintain my benefits. During the working months I drive all over the state to work and work long hours (50-70) to bring home between 800 and 1200 per week. I also work all different shifts. I look forward to hearing any advice or help you can give me and I thank you in advance for your time!
    - Mike

    • Mike

      Reply Reply April 26, 2013

      Mike,

      My #1 advice for door knocking is to knock until you get 20 No’s a day. A good week of knocking is 100 No’s. you’ll learn more from failure… so, fail faster.

      10% of the contract is fair. The most important thing is that you trust your roofing company. If you don’t, or they aren’t trustworthy, it doesn’t matter what your pay scale is because you probably aren’t going to get paid everything anyway.

      I can’t give you much advice on insurance in Ohio. Try using ehealthinsurance.com for competitive rates.

      This whole business is driven by insurance claims. Business is good and gets better after a major hail storm. Business is worse and gets slower without a storm. Since it is construction, you’ll have the normal winter slowdown too. You can’t roof with snow on the roof and you can’t knock when it is freezing outside.

      I wish you the best!

      Mike

  • Brian

    Reply Reply April 23, 2013

    Hi there,

    Im doing door to door sales for my roommates painting company. I get the lead and have the owner meet the client to do the quote and close the deal. I get 7.5% commotion off the total quote price. The gross.

    I’m wanting to do the same for a friends roofing company. I’ve read many of your comments but it looks like all those sales guys actually close the deals and give the quotes. I’m just finding the lead and setting up times for the owner to give the quote. My question is, what’s a fair commission for what I’m doing in your opinion. What do you give for the leads found.

    • Mike

      Reply Reply April 24, 2013

      Hi Brian,

      You are going to be worth whatever someone is willing to pay you for the opportunities you develop.

      If you can get 7% of the final contract for your roofing friend too, you should try to get that. He has no risk — meaning he doesn’t pay you a dime until he closes one of your appointments.

      Most of the appointment setters I know are either paid a finders fee per lead or they are paid by the hour with a bonus for every appointment set. In other words, they get paid regardless of whether or not the deal gets sold.

      It isn’t unusual for a guy to make $10 an hour plus a $25 bonus for every appointment set.

      Companies that pay per lead, pay $20 – $50 per lead with no hourly base. The later in a storm, the harder it is to set appointments. So, $20 per lead is common in the first month of a storm and then the price goes up as it becomes more difficult to set the appointments later in the storm.

      I know a few roofing companies will pay an additional bonus on top of the hourly or per lead fee. That is very uncommon though. Some companies will pay a small percentage of the sale or a lump sum bonus of $50 or so. Again, that’s unusual, but it does happen.

      Based on what’s normal for the roofing industry, you would probably be doing well to make 7% of the contract. I know a lot of guys who would love to just set appointments and walk away for that much money.

      Peace,
      Mike

      • Nicole

        May 2, 2013

        Mike,

        I work for a company where we have salesmen and canvassers. Salesmen join the canvassers knocking on doors to make leads. All our contracts are paid per salesman and canvasser. The canvasser is the person who makes the lead. They receive 5% of any approved contact. We need more canvassers. If you know anyone in the CT area please feel free to send them my way.

        Nicole

  • Angela

    Reply Reply April 1, 2013

    Hi Mike,

    I’m new to sales and construction I come from the medical background. I decided to look for something new and kept seeing ads from different roofing companies looking for people. so I called up a couple of them and decided to meet with a company local here in Indiana or actually they just got a office here in Indiana ASAP Roofing. They hired me and I’m starting this week in Indiana. they have a 50 split after training. They train me with someone else until im ok being out on my own. during training I only get 25% which I think is fair. My question is do you think this is a good line of work for women? I will give it my all because I cant fail giving up too much if I do single mother, house and bills but need better job! and I am willing to travel. Also should there be any questions I need to ask the company before going in to deep? Thank you!

    • Mike

      Reply Reply April 2, 2013

      Hi Angela,

      I actually think that women can do very well in this business if they’re okay with this common obstacle…

      Are you comfortable going into homes on your own for sales presentations or walking through neighborhoods by yourself while prospecting?

      That is the greatest drawback many ladies have told me they have about roofing sales.

      If you can get past that, you are instantly going to be at an advantage because the 2 biggest factors in every sale are #1 Trust and #2 Credibility.

      It may not be fair and it may not sound right, but women have an immediate advantage in both areas with may prospects.

      Sure, there are those male chauvinist pigs who won’t do business with a woman, but you aren’t looking for the people who won’t do business with you. You’ll be looking for the people who will… and there are many.

      As far as checking out a roofing company, you want to check their BBB first. How they treat their clients will be a good indication as to how they’ll treat you as a salesperson. After that, you can talk with the other sales people (who are not related to the owner) to get a general intuition as to how things work with them. You can never be absolutely positive, but past behavior is the greatest indicator of future behavior. If they have a good record, that’s very good.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Mike

  • Rob

    Reply Reply March 9, 2013

    Mike,

    First of all I love your blog.

    It’s nice to read about other people who are passionate about the roofing industry.

    I’ve worked for my fathers roofing company for about 13 years. I’ve always been an “in the field” guy actually doing the roof work. Besides the occasional yellow pages ad, the company gets 100% of our sales by “word of mouth” and from our G.C.’s.

    My question is: Do you think it would be wise to attempt to implement a sales movement?

    I would be the guy going door to door and trying to get the sale. To start there will be no lead generation – so my sales will almost entirely come from D2D.

    I’m in the St. Louis, MO area and thought this time of year might be a great time to try something new like this. If I fail, or the economy doesn’t allow for the sales I’m wanting, I can always go back to the glorious life of banging on shingles.

    Thanks again Mike.

    I look forward to your response. Take Care.

    Rob

    • Mike

      Reply Reply March 10, 2013

      Rob,

      It sounds like the roofing business is in your blood.

      To get straight to your question, “Yes! I do think it would be wise to start selling door to door.”

      It isn’t easy and you’ll make a lot of mistakes learning how to generate your own sales, but once you figure out how to get your own leads, you’ll never be at the mercy of another G.C. again. Nothing happens until somebody sells something… and the greatest rewards go to the people who can create sales out of thin air.

      There’s nothing wrong with nailing shingles – that’s an honorable job – you want something better though.

      You’ll find what you’re looking for in sales.

      Let me know when you have specific questions about sales problems you run into out in the field, and I’ll do my best to help you.

      All the best,
      Mike

  • Sara

    Reply Reply January 22, 2013

    Hi Mike,

    I am looking to hire a full-time roofing sales rep in Memphis, TN. Where would you recommend me posting the position which will attract the best candidate?

    Thanks for all of the helpful info on your blog!

    Regards,
    Sara

    • mike

      Reply Reply January 22, 2013

      Hey Sara,

      Your local newspaper is still the best choice.

      It is more expensive, but you’ll find more serious job seekers. The paper will usually have an online version. They may even syndicate their help wanted section out to other channels which will help you get more exposure.

      Peace,
      Mike

  • Dax ferguson

    Reply Reply November 14, 2012

    I own a roofing company in Dfw area. I am looking for sales people. If you are looking to get into this industry or are looking for a better company please contact me. We offer training. You can contact me at 469-892-0123 or by email dax@heritageccs.com

  • Bruce

    Reply Reply October 19, 2012

    I am located in Houston and want to make sure I understand the comments about door knocking.
    Is D2D knocking worthless in areas that don’t have storm damage?
    Or is door knocking something I will do everyday as my main source of building prospects?
    The reason I asked this question is many responses ask, “how long do I work an area”, “when is it time to move on”.

    I am interviewing with a roofing company today, I have years of sales experience, been very successful. If we don’t have a storm event how do I generate business, the company will provide some leads. 100% commission….

    Thanks in advance.
    Bruce

    • mike

      Reply Reply October 19, 2012

      Hi Bruce,

      Roofing is primarily an event-driven solution to either #1 Storm Damage, #2 A Leak or #3 A Failed Inspection.

      Obviously, D2D is most effective in situation #1 Storm Damage. While it is plausible to door knock looking for leaks (#2), it would probably take too much time to discover a new prospect that would have a great enough payoff to justify the time to find them.

      However, while door knocking may not be ideal in situation #3, it is possible to prospect for failed inspections. You would want to specifically target those who would be in the funnel of a failed inspection (e.g. the person selling the home, the person buying the home, the people facilitating the sale, etc.)

      The reason more people do not prospect for #3′s is because it is infinitely more difficult to pinpoint them than it is to walk into a storm damaged neighborhood and start knocking.

      If there has not been a storm event in the area you’ll be working, I would suspect that getting started could be difficult. While many companies provide leads to their top-salespeople, it can be difficult as a newbie to convince a company to give you leads. You usually have to prove yourself before the leads start to flow your way.

      These are all things that I would talk about in your interview. You want to have a good understanding of what you’ll be getting yourself into… especially since you’ll be working on 100% Commissions.

      Does that help answer your questions?

      Mike

  • Jake

    Reply Reply October 9, 2012

    Mike, I executed a midlife career change 6 months ago. I went to work for a local roofing company as a residential roofing consultant. At that point I had no sales experience. The convincing factor was being told the company would provide extensive training and field support. That hasn’t happened. Most of what I’ve learned has come through trial and error. As you might expect, I’ve met with limited success. I like what I do, and still believe that I can do this but at this point I’ve become very discouraged. To your knowledge, are there any companies out there that invest time in training their reps or is what I’m experiencing par for the course?

    • mike

      Reply Reply October 9, 2012

      Hey Jake,

      Par for the course is what I would have to say because I’ve never met a roofing salesman yet who has said, “I got way too much training when I started. The training period was just too long.”

      If you’ve made it this far, you’re doing pretty good. So many don’t make it more than a few weeks before giving up. That tells me that you probably need a better opportunity in order to do better yourself.

      Sometimes better opportunities are what you make of them. The grass is usually greener where it has been watered and fertilized.

      What would you say are your biggest struggles in making the kind of money you want to make in roofing sales?

      • Jake

        October 9, 2012

        I’m only moderately effective at the door. I could use a little help there. Also, having no background in construction, my product knowledge isn’t where I’d like it to be. Besides knocking in the evenings and Saturdays, I’ve been spending a lot of time calling on insurance agents in the area trying to build long term relationships. This has produced a few referrals but nothing to write home about. I’m hopeful it will pay off next hail event. I’ve also been attending Chamber of Commerce events in my home town, again, looking at the long term picture.

  • Richard Velasquez

    Reply Reply September 26, 2012

    hey mike. i had an interview today with a company based here in carrollton. american pride roofing. the place seems very organized and their currently working with five salesman. they were eager to hire me. my concerns are i’m aware that winter is creeping up and I feel like maybe right now may not be the best time to take this job. Any advice on how the market is right now would be great. My job currently pays about 40000 yr and i would really love the opportunity to make more and leave my corporate job. again i’m concerned about getting into this in a time where it could be very slow. especially since i got rent and bills. i am going to give them my decision tomorrow afternoon. Help!!

    • mike

      Reply Reply September 27, 2012

      Hey Richard,

      Thanks for taking the time to write.

      You are right to be concerned about winter creeping up on us. If we have a mild winter, that could be easier on prospecting. If we have a winter like we did a few years ago when the Super Bowl was in town and everything was iced over, prospecting can be extremely difficult.

      If we get a fresh Fall hail storm, it could get easier. There is a chance of storms this weekend. Otherwise, you’ll be prospecting in neighborhoods that have been worked over all summer long. I’m not saying it is impossible to make money in the Fall and Winter. It can be very difficult to do for a rookie trying to learn the business.

      Just the fact that you’re asking yourself these questions tells me that you’ve probably got your head on straight. Corporate jobs can be a beating, but so can getting your vehicle repo’d or getting kicked out of your home because you can’t pay the bills.

      If you’re concerned that right now may to be the best time to take this job, you’re right. It probably isn’t the best time to take it.

      In my experience 9 out of 10 guys fail to make it for any significant amount of time in roofing sales. I’m sure that number is a lot smaller for guys breaking in to the business later in the year. I know a few that have done it, but that’s probably the reason I remember them… it rarely happens.

      I don’t want to be the guy that tells you, “you can’t make it”, because who am I to tell you what you can and can not do?

      Richard, in the end, only you can answer that question.

      I wish you the very best though. Thx for asking me. I hope I’ve given you something to help you think this decision through.

      Peace,
      Mike

      • Richard Velasquez

        September 27, 2012

        THanks mike. I decided to wait until after winter to give get in the business. I’m eager to get into the business. I just want to be sure i can do it in a time when I can make mistakes and get plenty of opportunity to learn try again and again. Keep up the great stuff. Love the site.

  • Jeremy

    Reply Reply August 14, 2012

    Mike great information on your blog here. First off I’ve been in the business for 8 months started with one company in Salt Lake about a month and a half late which sucked. Then came to St. Louis and I’m doing pretty good here at around 200k in sales so far. My question is I thought this new company was going to be a good company, but they are having a lot of problems, and I’m wondering what is the best companies to work for? Just to put it out there been here since the beginning of the storm and havn’t got one job capped out yet in 3 months.

    • mike

      Reply Reply August 14, 2012

      Hey Jeremy,

      Thanks for your comments. I appreciate the compliment.

      When a company isn’t capping your jobs out it is because they are using your back-end money to finance their upcoming work. That is the best case scenario. The worst case scenario is that they are over-extended on fixed expenses (e.g. sales managers, office staff, warehouse, loans, etc.) In that case, you’ll probably never see your back-end money.

      I’ve always found that the mid-sized roofing companies who are very selective about who they let work for them are the most reliable when it comes to paying jobs out when the files are closed. Usually, these are the guys that are already in town and have been doing business for several years. The downside is that they don’t have enough capital to really propel you into the field with marketing and a strong base of advertising… but, you’ll usually get paid everything they owe you.

      Finding a good company with a strong name, outstanding marketing and that consistently pays out back-side commissions when they close the file is a trick.

      Generally, I would tell you to stay away from Chuck in the Truck on the bottom end of the spectrum and be wary of the large nationwide companies unless they have extremely strong, hands-on management. Look for something in the middle.

      Does that help?
      Mike

  • paul

    Reply Reply July 20, 2012

    Hey there lots of good advice on here. I start my roofing sales job on monday and i need some good advice. I roofed for 16 yrs and i know everything about a roof and some about insurance agents. whats the best way to win over an agent? Also should i keep flyering the same neighborhood a few times a week?

    • mike

      Reply Reply August 14, 2012

      Paul,

      The general rule of advertising is to keep doing what’s working until it becomes cost prohibitive to do it anymore.

      If you’re getting business off of your flyers, flyer it again. Do it until the amount of work it takes you is greater than the cost in time and money to do it.

      Mike

  • Tim Malcolm

    Reply Reply July 18, 2012

    Mike,
    I am considering taking a job opportunity in outside sales in the roofing business. I currently sell used oil heating system in Denver, CO. As one might imagine selling used oil heating system in the summer months can be very challenging. My thinking is to work both job opportunities. Sell roofs from May till October which is the busy season and then sell used oil heaters in the fall and winter. Does this sound like a good idea or would you recommend being focused on one product or the other? I would be looking at straight commission and perhaps going 1099 with both opportunities. Thank you sir for your time and I look forward to your reply.

    • mike

      Reply Reply August 14, 2012

      Tim,

      I like the idea of having off-season income… especially if you aren’t going to chase storms.

      It is always a good idea to keep a source of revenue for when times are slow (and they do get slow).

      Mike

  • Justin

    Reply Reply July 4, 2012

    Mike,

    I am currently doing roofing sales / canvassing with a company in Kentucky. We do both cash jobs and insurance jobs, and I make 10% of whatever the contract states price wise. soo for instance 10,000 contract, I make 1,000. Plus half of the deductible if there is one or one collected, and half of the overhead and profit (insurance jobs). I will admit the money is good, but waiting until the roof goes on to get paid sucks. Last month I was the 2nd salesmen racking up over 82,000 in sales. This month in July, we are 4 days in now and I’m already at 23,000 in sales. I think I do really well. However, I am 1099 so I have to take my own taxes out (which is hard to do) and I have to provide my own health and dental, vehicle, gas, etc. I recently have been offered a job as a car salesmen in my hometown which is local to me. the dealership is less than 1mile away from my residence. Its straight commission as well. Yet, there I get health and dental, taxes out. I will have a set schedule and not the freedom. I guess, my question is. Any advice on, should I keep canvassing or start this new sales job monday? Please advise. Thanks!

    • mike

      Reply Reply July 4, 2012

      Justin,

      I understand exactly what you’re saying.

      Usually, I don’t miss a thing about my old corporate job, but what I do miss is the health, life, dental, disability insurance and 401k benefits. Paying for those things yourself is a lot of financial pressure.

      A good storm is only going to last for so long. Eventually, you’ll run out of jobs or the winter will roll in. I can only imagine that the winter could be tough up in Kentucky. Unless you’re willing to leave home and travel to another storm, you’ll go hungry quick. Being able to keep up with paying all of your own benefits will be extremely difficult. Unless you travel, it will get really difficult. Even if you are willing to travel to a new storm, that’s no guarantee that you’ll do any better… just have an opportunity to do better.

      Life turns on small opportunities. It sounds like you’re a good sales person. If you jump on this car salesman position now, you’ll be able to show them you are a real sales pro before the winter rolls around and you have to go hunting for a new job. If you skip this opportunity, you may not get another one anytime soon. Even car sales jobs have windows of opportunities. If you’re leaning toward car sales, why wouldn’t you go ahead and pursue it now rather than later? Sure, you’ll give up your freedom much sooner than waiting until Fall when sales get tougher, but you could also miss your window of opportunity.

      Obviously, the choice is yours, but those are my thoughts. Thanks for asking. In the end, the choice is all yours. I wish you the very best Justin.

      Mike

    • Josh Frisby

      Reply Reply February 27, 2013

      This is a great post. I am the owner of a Roofing Construction Company and it is so interesting to see the other end of the spectrum. A forum where salesman are looking for roofing companies to work for, and which ones to stay away from, etc.

      If anyone is in the Cincinnati, OH area, WE ARE currently hiring roofing salesman. We prefer to have experienced men or women in the field, but we will train the right individual. I feel like our company offers the best payment to our salesman. Here is how my company, Frisby Construction, sets up our Roof Sales Commission:

      We have a 3000 sq ft showroom in Milford OH located at 1375 State Route 131, Suite D1 Milford OH 45150. We spend approximately $10,000.00 a month in advertising, so we have a lot of company provided leads. Our pay structure is different for company provided leads, verse a lead one were to bring in by themselves.

      Company Provided Lead: (ALL 1099 BASED)
      1.) 10% Off the top for Overhead Expenses
      2.) 5% contract price payment issued with check and signed contract
      3.) You write the order and get it prepared for production, but we will build the roof. You are responsible for watching the job and taking material to the crew if you ordered short
      4.) 3% contract price payment when job is closed out and final check is received.
      ESSENTIALLY: 10% off the top, 8% commission for company generated lead.
      ——————-
      SELF GENERATED LEAD:
      1.) 8% Off the top for Overhead Expenses
      2.) 7% contract price payment issued with check and signed contract
      3.) You write the order and get it prepared for production, but we will build the roof. You are responsible for watching the job and taking material to the crew if you ordered short
      4.) 5% contract price payment when job is closed out and final check is received.
      ESSENTIALLY: 8% off the top, 12% commission for self generated lead.

      SELLING POINTS:
      1.) We have an A+ Rating with the BBB
      2.) We are family owned and operated
      3.) We are a full service general contractor, so you can upsell upsell upsell! + our cash flow is strong.
      4.) We have been in business for 25+ years.
      5.) We have a LIFETIME Warranty on LABOR & MATERIAL
      6.) We have a full office support staff to assist
      7.) Company provided apparel, magnets, literature, and other misc items which make your job easier to sell.
      8.) Incentive programs for salesman who hit threshold marks, such as $50,000 in sales = $X BONUS, etc.
      9.) Opening multiple other locations as well and continue to advertise.
      10.) Use ONLY CERTAINTEED, GAF, OR OWENS CORNING. We will NOT use an inferior product to “save” money.

      Sound interesting? Well we can’t seem to attract not even ONE decent salesman! If you do apply, GREED will get you no where in a hurry. We are not greedy, and we don’t expect you to be greedy. Polite, professional, and NON PUSHY sales approach will work the best, guaranteed.

      SOMEONE, PLEASE APPLY! : ) click here to visit our website to apply!

  • Damian

    Reply Reply June 21, 2012

    It has been a pleasure reading all of the comments posted in this blog. That’s probably because I have been involved in the roofing industry for now a year. I am a door to door canvasser, even though I don’t really like to be called one. I see my self more as a business developer rather than just a door knocker.

    This is simply because I spend more of my time working on market analysis than actually door knocking. It is all about area!! Without the right area you might as well go home and play with your kids.

    Being a canvasser can be an extremely fun and profitable job. This is only if you are working for the right company. Roofing companies have came up with a number of different pay structures for canvassers.

    1) Hourly wage, and potential a small cut after each sale.
    2) A small % of the gross or profit.
    3) A base pay per lead.
    4) A base pay per sit.

    Each one has it’s pros and cons. Looking at the situation from a canvassers perspective you are safest being paid a base pay per lead. That is considering you know how to produce. You don’t have to depend on a sales man ability to close a deal in order for you to get payed.

    If anyone has any canvassing questions don’t hesitate to send me an email.

    -Damian

    • mike

      Reply Reply August 14, 2012

      Excellent information Damian! Thank you so much for taking your time to help the people out.

      I totally agree with you when you say, “Without the right area you might as well go home and play with your kids.” So true!

      Mike

    • RC

      Reply Reply September 14, 2012

      Damian,
      I am in the process putting together a proposal for salesmen/canvassers to walk door to door. Do you have a script that can be used as a template for new salesmen or training guide that you used when you first started?

  • Tom

    Reply Reply June 8, 2012

    Hello Mike,

    Right off the bat, let me say thank you for being so giving of your time and expertise. It is not easy to find commentary supportive of independent traveling roof sales.

    I am new (brand spankin’ new) to roofing sales, and will hopefully be accepting an offer after my third telephonic interview on Tuesday, 06/12/2012. I am accomplished and confident in my sales ability and work ethic, but am about to take a huge leap of faith with the security of my family hanging in the balance.

    I’m certain to have deeper questions for you in the future, but:

    A) If they require a fourth interview in person, is it reasonable for me to expect that they pay round trip airfare and hotel?

    B) Is it reasonable that they provide housing while I’m on site in storm damaged area for months on end?

    C) Any other advise you have that I may be overlooking would be appreciated.

    By the way, I went through a recruiting agency, and my interview on tues is with the company itself. Recruiting agency was quite thourough, I might add.

    • mike

      Reply Reply June 8, 2012

      Tom,

      I’m going to answer your questions by private email.

      Mike

      • Tom

        June 10, 2012

        Thank you again, Mike. I’ll let you know how it goes.

      • Tom

        July 17, 2012

        Hello again Mike,
        Letting you know how it went, as I promised.

        I arrived at my destination (900 miles from home) two weeks after we last communicated. My company is very fair w me, and has done everything they said they would do. Being away from wife and babies is no picnic, but I am convinced I have made the right decision and will provide solidly for my family.

        Hopefully the following will help you and your “fans”, of whom I am one :-)
        Week 1- $500 draw against commission, made 4 sales
        Week 2- $500 draw against commission, made 5sales
        Week 3- picked 1st acv checks, earned $767 + 4 sales
        Week 4- Well, its only Monday, Made one sale, 1 acv

        Point is, I am grossing 3 grand a week right out the gate! This is, of course paid out over time as I manage the project and collect the checks. But this thing is for real, and I arrived here two months after the storm hit. I cant wait to drive to my next storm. Wherever it may be, I plan on filing a claim for my hail smashed vehicle. That’s how fast I’d like to get there.
        Mike, thank you for pulling no punches when advising me. Helped me consider the reality that lay ahead…I burned the bridges anyway. Gonna be a BIG Christmas at home this year!
        I’ll keep in touch, and you feel free to contact me if there is anything I can do for you.
        Sincerely,
        tb

      • mike

        August 14, 2012

        Tom! You kicked it into gear. Congrats man!!!

  • Rodney

    Reply Reply April 23, 2012

    Hi, in your opinion which one is better roof leads that you pay $35.00-$50.00 per lead or hire a roof salesperson? Male or Female? I’m willing to pay 10-20% of the profit, I’ll have some leads, but i want people to get their own leads also. On a profit of $2,000.00, $400.00 is not a bad deal just to have a homeowner to sign a contract.

    • mike

      Reply Reply April 24, 2012

      Hey Rodney,

      Hiring a sales person who can produce their own leads is always going to be best.

      However, it is not always that easy because it takes time and money to find a good sales person.

      You can line folks up all day long who will suck your time and resources without paying off, but finding a producer is a different story.

      If you have the time and money to invest and wait until they begin to pay off, or if you find a good sales person quickly, then this is the best option long-term.

      In the short-term buying leads is a good alternative in my opinion. Depending on your closing ratio, you’ll know exactly how many leads you have to invest in before making a sale.

      You still have to invest your money up-front, but if you can close the leads, you can see why this is a safer alternative. Your return is more immediate.

      If you are flush with cash and have the time to invest, maybe you should consider investing in both. Just remember that it will take both your time and your money to make them pay off.

      If you are already tight on either time or money, start slowly with the leads and then try bringing on sales help slowly.

      The roofing business is full of risk… especially true in lead generation, marketing and sales development. You can lose a lot of money quickly.

      My personal advice would be to take on the risk slowly at a pace you can afford should your efforts fail.

      If they succeed, you’ll have the strength to take another step forward. If not, you want to still have enough financial strength to push forward.

      Peace,
      Mike

  • Jeff

    Reply Reply April 10, 2012

    Mike,
    Hope you are well. I’m looking at doing this as a main source of income. I’m currently self employed and I bring in about 150 thousand per year, I’m a sole proprieter/employee and after overhead and taxes my earnings are less than 40 grand a year. Is it common for a roofing salesman to earn 60 to 80 grand a year in the far North Dallas area? I enjoy people and networking, and the psychology of sales……but, i’ve heard conflicting stories about this profession. Instead of what is possible, i’m interested in what is actual. I believe i’ll be an above average earner, but what would be average?

    Thank you sir….

    • mike

      Reply Reply April 10, 2012

      Hey Jeff,

      Absolutely, you can make 60-80k a year working the Dallas market.

      The average is much less than that because so many fail or get out after a few short weeks/months.

      In this business you either make it or you don’t. Precious little middle ground.

      You’ll know soon whether or not you can make it.

      Last thing, this is a weather-driven biz. If you have stretches w/o weather and resulting insurance claims, it is extremely difficult to make a full-time living. One exception is if you diversify into commercial roofing and more general contracting.

      There’s no guarantees, but it can be done. In a good hail storm, 6 figures is easily within reach for top sales people in less than 12 months.

      Hope that helps.

      Peace,
      Mike

  • padukah

    Reply Reply March 6, 2012

    Mike,

    Found your site while doing some research. is it feasible to do the roofing / replacement job full time in the midwest (IL / MO / IN)? In your knowledge, is there enough ‘collateral damage’ to keep a new person thinking about getting into the industry busy? I would be leaving a FT position in the 50K range @ 50 hours a week and believe in my mind I could easily recoup 40-50K year one (April to December). Pipe dream or reality? Thoughts?

    • mike

      Reply Reply March 6, 2012

      Hey, there’s definitely enough damage for you to make that kind of money this year… and much more. Indianapolis and NW St Louis areas both have good damage.

      Keep in mind that 9 out of 10 new sales people fail. They can’t do it, don’t know how to do it or just don’t put in the work.

      If you are an avid reader of this website, you’re probably way above average in your chances of success. However, there’s no guarantee. You’re taking a chance with your future.

      If you make it, you’ll never want to go back to a corporate cube again. If you don’t, you’ll be wishing you never left the comfort of a steady paycheck with benefits. Think hard before you jump in, but if you decide to jump, don’t look back.

      Lastly, the good money in roofing sales is almost totally dependent on insurance claims. When the claims go away, so does your career.

      Either you have to be willing to travel, or you have to have a Plan B if you don’t have enough claims to work in your restricted geography.

      Peace & Good Luck,
      Mike

  • James

    Reply Reply February 28, 2012

    i am so glad i found your site!

    I have a situation that my husband and I need advice on. My husband started working for my brother in law mid summer of last year. We were skeptical of him taking this job because A. its a sales job and B.it was family. My husband did take the job and has become very good at it.

    When he was ASKED to come on board the following is what he was promised.

    1. he got 10% of the job sold.payment broke up into 2. buyer would give a deposit check of 1/2 before job started and husband gets 10% of said check. then once job is finished, husband returns to buyer and collects second half. Husband gets 10% of second check minus taxes.

    2.he had to pay for his own roofers ins (which he did)

    3. husband is paid whenever he gives the office customer checks. can be every day if husband has customer checks everyday or husband can save up checks and get paid one lump sum whenever he so desires.

    4. Roofing company supplied leads and uniforms.

    5.husband sells roof, deals with the insurance agent, deals with product supplier, deals with delivery of product, schedules time of install with the actual crew, if crew needs more product then husband must deliver it to insure the job does not stop,goes back for final inspection, if crew did not do good clean up job then husband has to finish clean up,then collection of final payment.

    6.if customer does not pay final payment, husband now has to be collection agent for this payment. he deals with all calls, all payment arangements, anything hes has to do to get the payment.

    7.if brother in law is busy with other things my husband is asked to take other business calls and help deal with them even though they are not his customers.

    So this goes on for a few months and my husband sells some really big jobs. 2 different churchs. after sale is closed and first ckeck is collected brother in law now says that husband does not get 10% on jobs of more then 22,000. the pay is dropped to 5% because his overhead is more expensive now. (so what is the incentive for a salesman to try to sell bigger jobs).

    brother in law said that husband does not need to do anything but collect the payment on jobs he gets 5% on. but this was not the case. husband still did have to do same and all previous tasks as any other job. and when paid was still only paid 5%

    This week, 9 months after hire, brother in law has changed the pay rules. he now is making husband buy his leads at 25.00 a lead claiming its to help pay for advertising costs which is 15,000 a year.

    If husband generates his own leads from door to door sales then he does not have to pay the fee but he does not get a higher percentage. he is also going to charge husband for 1/2 the amount of a computer program that brother in law is choosing to use to better sales. its a 2500.00 program and my husband is required to pay half weather or not he wants to use it.

    Husband is required to buy himself an ipad now also. and today was told that they are no longer going to pay him whenever he presents checks he will only be paid once a week now. and brother in law also told him he is reconsidering the percentage he thinks 10% is to much and may drop it to 7.5%.

    My question is what is your opinion on this whole ordeal?

    It is still good money for where we live and its my sisters husband. But my husband feels very takin advantage of and unappreciated and now very disposable. He is also the only salesman other then the owner/brother in law.

    Husband does not know enough about what other roofing companies do with there salesman to be able to debate many of these things other then to say it does not sound fair.

    Any advice or facts would be very much appreciated.

    • mike

      Reply Reply February 28, 2012

      First of all, I tried to reply to your comment privately by email, but your email bounced back. I was concerned because many of the items you’re discussing sound extremely sensitive.

      Since your request sounded so urgent, and you didn’t leave another way to get a hold of you, I decided to go ahead and post your comments here and reply back publicly.

      ###

      Wow!

      I can tell this is really bothering you… don’t usually get comment emails this long. This is important. So, I’m going to dig right in and help you.

      #1 Family working situations are always difficult because they seldom end well when they fall apart… and your situation is about to fall apart. I think you know that already though, don’t you?

      #2 Your husband James has developed a very valuable skill… selling roofs. He’s a hard-working man who sounds like he treats his customers with respect and takes care of his business. Although it has been a hardship to do all these things, they are actually blessings in disguise.

      It is not unusual for sales people to be responsible for as much as your husband does and sometimes more. He knows how to go out and find a customer and take them all the way through to collection. That’s extremely valuable, but I talk to people all of the time who have to do even more.

      #3 I’m fond of saying, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something!” There’s no sense having a roofing company unless somebody (like your husband) goes out there and makes the sale. There’s no use for secretaries, lead companies, software… nothing makes sense unless somebody sells something. There’s always a job opening for a great sales person like your husband. That’s a good feeling, isn’t it?

      #4 The original working agreement (10% on checks collected) is not an unusual payment schedule. However, there are better agreements…. much better agreements… agreements based on a percentage of profit. That software he’s helping pay for is meant to maximize profits.

      Why would you want to pay 1/2 on a profit making piece of software when you’re capped at 10% anyway? If you’re going to be asked for a greater investment, doesn’t it make sense that you would also share in a percentage of the profits too?

      #5 Like I said, the better payment schedule is to be paid on a percentage of profits as opposed to a flat percentage. Most of the salespeople in my organization average making between 8% to 12% on an average job, but not every job is average.

      Sometimes they make 30% of the job. Other times, they’ll take on a low-profit job and only make 3%. If they don’t want the low-profit job, they just walk away. You know how much work it takes to do all that work in order to get a check. Sometimes, the work isn’t worth the profit.

      The reason why most roofing companies want to pay their sales people a flat percentage is because they want to keep the profit margins a secret from their sales people. If a $10k job makes $3k and they only pay the sales person $1k, they’ve come out really good making $2k.

      In my opinion, the better payment arrangement is to make a percentage of the profit after an overhead expense is charged. The overhead charge helps the roofing company pay for the expenses of maintaining the company.

      In our company, our standard overhead charge is 5%. However, all of our guys self-generate most of their own leads. Generating leads from advertising is extremely expensive. We offer that program to some of our guys, but they pay 10% overhead for any jobs sold from leads provided from advertising.

      Here’s how that same job would be paid to your husband with a 50% commission split and a 5% overhead charge…

      5% of $10k is $500 (this is the overhead charge) $500 would be subtracted from the $3k profit leaving us with $2.5k.
      At 50% of $2.5k, your husband would make $1,250 instead of $1,000.

      If he were to make an extra $250 per job on average and collected 5-6 jobs a month, you would clear an extra $1,500 per month. That’s a nice house payment down here in the South. It would definitely cover a car payment and several monthly utility bills.

      Do you see why a commission split is better than a flat percentage?

      On the other hand, if you sell a lower profit job (like a church because they have monster deductibles and often shop for the lowest prices), you may not make much. It is completely reasonable to believe that the margins would be lower… maybe not, but probably.

      However, if you’re on a commission split, you get to decide whether or not the money is worth your time or not. If not, you walk away. In order to make those decisions, the owner of the roofing company has to be more open about job costs and profitability.

      #6 In my experience, roofing companies often begin asking their sales people to make more and more contributions when business is starting to dry up. They make their sales people a source of profit. That only leads to resentment from the sales force.

      #7 If roofing is drying up, that means that so are your opportunities to make money. When things get tight, you can walk away, but the brother-in-law still has to pay all the bills because he owns the company.

      #8 If your husband is the type of guy I think he is, he’s already thought about jumping out there on his own and starting his own roofing company. Why shouldn’t he think about it? He’s great at sales. He understands how to produce a job and knows how hard it is to collect the checks. He’s doing a bunch of the work, it only makes sense that he would think about this.

      I’ve done both, worked for another roofing company and owned a roofing company myself. There’s no pressure like owning your own roofing company. All of the liability sits on your chest. In the middle of the night, you wake up in cold sweats because there’s so much you have to do to keep everything afloat.

      However, if you can take the pressure, owning your own roofing company may be the way to go… if you can take the pressure. There’s been many nights when I wished that I just sold roofs for somebody else. I would take my cut and go home happy rather than have all the pressure. Still, it is better to own your own company if you can take the pressure. Not everybody can, there’s nothing wrong with that.

      Everybody has to find the situation that works best for them.

      #9 Little Risks = Little Rewards
      Truth is, the brother-in-law in your situation has taken on all of the risk. Sure, it feels like your husband is doing all of the work, but there are so many risks for an owner that you’ll never know… until you decide to own your own roofing company.

      #10 Big Risks = Big Rewards
      If you’re not satisfied with the amount of money you’re making, you’ll have to be willing to take on bigger risks. Talking to your brother-in-law is risky because it might not turn out well. Going to work for another roofing company with a better pay schedule is risky because they might not be any better that what you have now. Starting your own roofing company is risky because you could get sued, have OSHA shut you down, not meet your payroll because the mortgage company is holding all your checks and have roofers mad at you… anyway you get the idea.

      What level of risk are you willing to take to make more money? You’re not happy with what you’re making now, but what are you willing to do about it?

      I hope that by reading this you’ll realize the truth of the situation that you’re in now… your husband shouldn’t feel vulnerable because he’s developed one of the greatest skills a man can have… knowing how to sell roofs for a living.

      If he’s the only other roofing salesman in his office, he shouldn’t feel vulnerable because they need him even more. It would be a different story if they had 3-4 other guys selling, but he’s the only other one. That makes him all the more valuable.

      If you’re making good money now, better than what you could make doing anything else, the safest thing to do is to stay the course. Remember, little risks = little rewards, but big risks = big rewards.

      What are you going to do?

      Mike

      P.S. Don’t be too hard on the brother-in-law. Obviously, he could do a better job of communicating the reasons why he’s changing the pay scale so you don’t feel all that resentment.

      P.P.S. My recommendation to you would be to have an honest sit-down and air out your grievances. If he’s open to the conversation, you’ll have deepened the relationship. If he’s not, that will tell you all you need to know.

      P.P.P.S. I would invite the other veteran sales people and roofing company owners to pitch in with their comments to help you out.

  • Gordon

    Reply Reply February 17, 2012

    Hello: I have been in the roofing industry for 38 plus years. It has been good to me. Started selling insurance restoration/roofing ten years ago. It was good. Now it seems no one wants to give you anything/ but a loaded tool belt as they call it. They do request from you a truck, phone, fuel, camera. ladder ect. It seems we are supplying the tools along with our skills. I notice all trades have jumped on the band wagon with this idea. Question; What can we do to even the table here? Out of pocket expenses will kill this trade now. OLD TIME ROOFER HERE.

    • mike

      Reply Reply February 19, 2012

      That’s an interesting question.

      There’s still a few roofing companies that will make long-term commitments to their sales and labor help, but for the most part everybody seems to be moving to an independent contractor role to isolate and protect themselves from the volatile risks of an up-and-down economy.

      Myself, I’ve always preferred to work independently because the rewards are higher… so are the risks though. If that means I provide my own vehicle and tools, I’m okay because I like the higher commission rates.

      However, you can still find the safer employee roles with vehicles and equipment provided. They just don’t pay as much. You usually have to exchange big commissions for guaranteed lower (much lower) salaries.

      The reason they are lower is because the employer is assuming all of the risk. If no jobs come in or if they have to take lower profit jobs to meet payroll, they have the risk. Whoever takes on the most risk is most likely to be first in line if there is a reward.

      In years past, the employee/employer relationship was more sacred. These days, it seems like everybody is afraid the other will put something over on them. It is sad in some respects to see this era end.

      In my opinion, the days of guaranteed employment are over because the days of guaranteed prosperity are over too. Competition is too stiff in almost all trades to guarantee a fellow he’ll have a job for long. The top performers make money because they go out and get it consistently.

      The average and poor performers only work as long as there is work to be had. They are going to be okay as long as someone gives them work. When they have to go out and get it, they usually have to find another line of work.

      Competition has created this problem. It has forced our trade and others like it to continually be improving efficiencies. The first line of efficiency is always labor. Making the rewards higher has created these efficiencies, but at the same time has all but killed the safe, steady, stable jobs in this industry.

      Boy, I guess I have a lot to say about this… guess I’ll shut it off for now.

      Peace,
      Mike

  • Steve Curran

    Reply Reply February 17, 2012

    I read this every day

    • mike

      Reply Reply February 17, 2012

      Thx Steve.

      That’s a huge compliment because you could be teaching a master class on selling roofs.

  • EJ

    Reply Reply December 20, 2011

    Dear Mike,

    My husband is considering going into this profession and I loved your article. Very informative. One question I do have, though, is about your suggestion that housewives often make the decisions. I do not answer the door if the salesperson is male out of sheer concern for safety. Would there be anything you would recommend to try to appear “safer” if you’re a male in the business?

    Thanks,
    EJ

  • Stephen Moitz

    Reply Reply August 29, 2011

    I just recently visited this site it is now listed as my favorites just like facebook.

    I have been a salesman all my life from in home sales to being a oil and gas broker on the phones. Knocking on doors not a problem but living in Texas i will say the heat is killing me. I love your answers to a lot of the questions and it has been helpful. Salesman by nature roofer not even close but i know how to sell roofs and just recently signed with a good company and have been learning all that i can.

    I love the article talking about not doing anything for free i have heard to many salesman meet adjusters help get the roof bought but then they use someone else. Sorry your going to sign a contract with me before i meet your adjuster, yes i know some will buy the roof without you being their but i know for a fact that i have had roofs bought because i was there. Your article about the proper way to act when meeting adjuster is oh so true and i do exactly what you mentioned.

    Quick question, in Texas homeowners have huge deductible and so many out there say they will take care of it. How do you handle trying to do them right and still make money?

    • mike

      Reply Reply August 30, 2011

      Stephen,

      I feel your pain… The heat in Texas has been brutal this summer. I’ve heard of a lot of new salespeople quitting because it is just too dang hot to go out and knock doors. Several companies packed up and headed back home because they couldn’t afford to stick around in the heat. Once it gets up over 100 degrees, it is too hot to do anything in my opinion.

      Your question about taking care of homeowners with huge deductibles is timely. A long time ago, deductibles were $250 of maybe $500. Sometimes, the insurance company wouldn’t even charge the homeowner their deductible. A lot has changed over the years.

      It isn’t uncommon to run across homeowners with a big, expensive 2 story home and a 2%, 3% or even 5% deductible. On a 2 story home, you usually aren’t going to have a lot of squares compared to the home’s value. So, the deductible ends up taking most of the insurance claim proceeds… leaving the homeowner in need of a new roof, but without much money to get the job done.

      Money is a problem you can’t fix.

      Money isn’t like any other problem a salesperson will face. If your prospects don’t like you, you can always work on becoming more likable. If they don’t have time for you, you come back another time, but you can’t fix money. They either have it or they don’t.

      Zig Ziglar once said, “People have the money for fine china, but they don’t have the money for Tupperware.”

      The problem with everybody trying to sell a new roof to people without any money in a hail storm is that it makes a new roof seem like Tupperware.

      It isn’t until their mortgage company calls and wants to raise their Escrow account because they haven’t replaced their roof yet… or their insurance company wants to cancel them… or their roof starts leaking from the old hail damage… only then does a new roof start looking like “fine china” again.

      Here’s my advice… and you can take it or leave it:

      Walk away from the deals where the homeowner doesn’t have any money. The amount of time, energy and effort you spend trying to get them a new roof is better spent trying to find a new prospect who does have the money. Oh, you can try and convince them that the roof you want to sell them is like “fine china”, but your profit margins will be slim… especially in the middle of a hail storm.

  • Phil Coniker

    Reply Reply July 21, 2011

    About how much does one need to start a roofing company?

    • mike

      Reply Reply July 31, 2011

      You can start a roofing company on a shoestring if you can get your customers to fund it… and many have.

      Generally though, you’ll need at least enough money to roll 2-3 jobs. $10k to $20k is a good start.

      Others may have different experiences. One thing I would tell you… don’t try to get fancy when you’re starting. You don’t need full vehicle wraps, awesome websites or expensive advertising. All are nice to have, but not necessary.

      Go out and meet the prospects. Take care of your clients and ask for referrals. That’s the best advice I can give anybody thinking about starting their own company.

  • Ashley

    Reply Reply June 10, 2011

    I am completely new to the business and apparently have one distinct disadvantage compared to others: I do not own a truck. The company I took the position with as 35 years of experience in the state I am from, but does national storm restoration in 32 other states. They have paid classroom and field training. When I was hired for the position, I told them I didn’t have a truck. While he said a truck was preferred, it was not necessary. I’m looking for ways to overcome this objection (or even if it will be an objection). While I am completely new to roofing, I am not new to sales. As a matter of fact, I am a very good salesperson. I really want this to work out, as I hear the money is very, very good for those willing to relocate ( I am driving to Tennessee this Sunday to start work) but, to be honest, the car only situation is worrying me. Any help or suggestions on how to overcome this objection and not just look like some schmuck trying to swindle them out of their money.

    • Papa D's Roofing

      Reply Reply August 16, 2011

      Ashley,

      Don’t worry about the vehicle you drive…one of my most successful salespeople had a car, we would use foldable ladders to put in the truck and most times one of the back seats will lay down so that you can put the bigger fold up ladder in your trunk. Good Luck! Hope this helps……Remember if you make an objection a big deal then it will become a big deal if you don’t it won’t.

      • mike

        August 16, 2011

        Excellent wisdom. It’s not always about the vehicle you drive.

  • Chris

    Reply Reply June 3, 2011

    Hi Mike,
    How long can you work an area after a weather event? It would seem that there’s a saturation point where the odds are so good that your just annoying people that you need to move on. Then I would think that there’s maybe a point when it makes sense to come back and check on those with old roofs.

    I’m a seasoned vet in this business having racked up an astounding 8 or 9 days… I like what I’ve been doing so far and want to work my tail off at this but having been a residential contractor for the last 7 years I know you can work your tail off doing the wrong things and be broke in the end. What’s the right way?

    Thanks.

  • Jake Goertzen

    Reply Reply May 30, 2011

    I am the owner of a roofing company and have never sold door to door. I would to know how to get past “let me talk to my insurance first or let me get an adjuster out here”. I am trying to read up on this technique because I only discovered recently how the competition had signs in the yards for blocks and blocks…. door to door sales! Since I am new at knocking, is there any advice you can give for objection handling? Do I take over the insurance claim?

  • Kaitie

    Reply Reply May 24, 2011

    Hi Mike,

    I just got back from my first meeting after being hired as a sales-woman for a roofing company. I ventured to the internet and found your blog, and it has answered many of my questions. Very informative and helpful!
    This company that has hired me, sells steel roofing here in Canada. In one of your previous posts, you mentioned a few cons of steel roofing. I am wondering, basically if I am in way over my head? & valuing your honest opinion, am I at a disadvantage being a young woman in this industry? The company does generate some leads for us but they encourage door to door aswell. They caught my attention when they mentioned the base pay, which will be paid (if you make a sale or two+ and dont make the base amount in commission in the month they will pay you the difference ) Is that normal? Am I being worked-over? I would much appreciate and value any advice you have and your opinion on the matter. Look forward to hearing back from you.
    The New Girl

    • mike

      Reply Reply May 28, 2011

      Being a young woman is probably a tremendous advantage in my opinion.

      Steel roofing is different than traditional residential roofing because people often buy for reasons of long-term value and energy efficiency. However, door-to-door selling may be tough unless you can identify a certain neighborhood that is pre-disposed to buy a new steel roof… maybe an area with nice double-wide trailers on a lot of land.

      It is great that you’ll be getting a base pay… as long as you can make a few sales. They want to know whether or not you can close a deal when you get in front of a prospect. If you can close deals, they’ll look for ways to develop new leads for you.

      Remember, nothing happens until somebody sells something.

      If you can sell, you’re in the driver’s seat.

      Good Luck!

  • Cully

    Reply Reply May 6, 2011

    Looking for sales women and men. call 985-791-2738

    • mike

      Reply Reply May 8, 2011

      Go ahead and tell more about your opportunity…

  • John

    Reply Reply April 3, 2011

    Thanks Mike! I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say!

  • John

    Reply Reply April 2, 2011

    Hi Mike: When you’re knocking doors for roof sales, what do you usually say when the homeowner first comes to the door? How do you introduce yourself and explain why you are there?

    • mike

      Reply Reply April 3, 2011

      John, that’s a great question.

      I’m going to answer your question more in depth in my article later this afternoon. Sometimes, what you don’t say is much more important than what you do say…

      Most people are familiar with the old sales formula of AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), but there’s more to selling roofs than old sales tricks. I’ll cover these in the article this afternoon.

      Mike

  • mike

    Reply Reply March 24, 2011

    @Gilbert – Thx. I take that as a compliment coming from you.

  • mike

    Reply Reply March 24, 2011

    Robb,

    You’re absolutely right.

    Knocking on doors is most valuable when working storm or hail damage. While the fundamentals of selling roofs hold true regardless of the circumstance, you don’t want to waste time knocking on the doors of people who don’t need a new roof.

    Generating roof business is more about discovering who the buyers are and less about selling. This is true whether you are knocking on doors, running a yellow pages ad, buying radio spots or advertising on Google.

    Once you’ve figured out who the likely buyers are, you can use the other guidelines above to help you sell more work.

    Good question Robb.

    Mike

  • Robb Macdonald

    Reply Reply March 9, 2011

    This is exceptional advice. I am wondering if the approach is for only areas of the country with regularly severe weather. Would it work in say, New England, there the only tough weather is winter? Rare are hail storms and tornados.

  • Gilbert Swain

    Reply Reply February 19, 2011

    Great, great advise very good

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