“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” – Yogi Berra
It always happens around this time of year… late summer, early fall.
Another salesperson gets shafted out of thousands of dollars in commissions by an owner with a gambling problem.
If it’s not gambling, it’s drinking, drugs, womanizing, or any number of other eccentric lifestyle choices that sucked the owner’s wallet dry.
The bottom line is the salesperson isn’t getting paid because the owner spent the money. Then comes the finger pointing, the head games, and all the other psycho-garbage that goes along with trying to collect your money from somebody who doesn’t have it anymore. It’s not a pretty sight, is it?
We’re All Gamblers
Of course, we all know what happens next…
The salesperson goes out and starts their own company!
Listen, if you’re a good enough salesperson to run up a commission bill high enough to hurt when you don’t get paid, you’re already a gambler.
Like I said, we’re all gamblers, aren’t we?
Most salespeople are paid by 1099 — which makes them a small business. A lot of roofing companies are simple sole proprietors or individual LLC organizations — likely to be a small business.
Do you know the nationwide survival rates for small businesses? The survival rates aren’t pretty, are they?
You don’t have to have a gambling problem to fail in business. An overwhelming majority of businesses fall apart within the first 5 years. Most don’t make it past 2 years. If you’re in business for yourself, the odds of survival are against you.
Life Is Risky
Everything in life is a risk.
Life is risky. There are no safe places to hide. If you’re going to go out and do something, you’re going to have to risk something. And you certainly can’t sit still and wait around for good things to happen. Doing nothing and hoping things turn out well is stupid risky, isn’t it?
Just because a company runs a million dollars through its bank account doesn’t mean they’re immune to trouble. More money, more problems. One or two jobs going wrong at just the right time can take you down. If a small stone can take out Goliath, imagine what a slightly larger hit will do to your business.
Sales Help Create Safety
You can’t play small and survive for long.
Doing a job or two here and there every month isn’t enough to make it in the roofing business.
Don’t think you’re going to start your company and take it easy because you only need a couple roofs every month to pay your bills. Business doesn’t work like that. Never has. Never will.
The truth is, the main reason why roofing companies go under isn’t because the owner had moral problems. Roofing companies go under because they have sales problems. As in, they don’t create enough sales to keep them out of trouble.
When your sales volume goes down, you lose your momentum. You lose your referrals. You lose your best people. You lose your volume discounts. You lose your crews. You lose your lease. You lose your truck. You might even lose your relationships.
The long-time roofing company owners will tell you, there will always be a few surprise problems where you’ll need money to solve those problems. Not every job goes smoothly.
Not all customers are nice. Some are downright mean! Some will sue you…even when you haven’t done anything wrong. Even worse, their lawyer will work on a contingency, not getting paid until they win, but yours won’t! Your lawyer wants to get paid up-front either way.
There will always be a problem, but money can help you solve problems.
You need to keep your revenue up so you have a steady stream of money flowing through your account to help you solve those problems.
Good Luck, Gambler!
P.S. If you’re running your own company, or you’ve recently been forced out on your own, I want to wish you the very best. Seriously, “Good Luck!” I hope you make it. I know it isn’t always easy to make it in the roofing business. The odds are against you. You need all the business help you can get and I want to help you.