A Little Mistake That Cost A Door To Door Salesman $1,000 A Week

By Mike Coday •  Updated: 10/21/23 •  8 min read

Is Door to Door Sales Worth It?

Door to Door selling is an easy job…

There’s no boss telling you what time to come in to work… and nobody will tell you what time to quit working either.

That’s exactly what attracts so many people to the business of selling roofs for a living. It’s easy to do the work, but a little harder to make the money.

You are your own boss!

You’re independent and free to work as much or as little as you want to. Obviously, it’s hard to make money if you’re not out knocking doors… still, the point is that you get to choose when you will and when you won’t work. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Selling is the easiest job you can do to go broke or the it can be the hardest job you can do to make money…

Quick Summary

  1. Autonomy in Sales: Door-to-door sales, especially in roofing, offers a level of independence, allowing individuals to set their own schedules without direct oversight, which is appealing to many.
  2. Double-Edged Nature of Sales: While selling is accessible and requires no formal education, it’s challenging to earn significantly without the right skills and strategies, making it potentially the easiest way to go broke or the hardest way to make money.
  3. Importance of On-the-Job Training: The skill of selling roofs door-to-door is best learned through practical experience. Being actively out in the field is crucial for understanding the intricacies of the job and increasing earnings.
  4. Potential for High Earnings: Top salespeople in roofing can earn substantial amounts weekly, creating a lucrative incentive for those able to master the necessary sales techniques.
  5. Mistakes and Misconceptions in Sales: Early mistakes are common among novices. The author debunks the myth that sales is purely a ‘numbers game’, arguing instead that it’s a ‘sorting game’ requiring strategic targeting rather than sheer volume of sales attempts.
  6. Sorting 101 – Targeting Damaged Houses: Beginners learn to identify and target houses with visible hail or wind damage, as these homeowners are more likely to require roofing services.
  7. Sorting 201 – Choosing the Right Neighborhoods: The intermediate strategy involves discerning which neighborhoods to work in, based on the potential for sales, rather than simply the presence of roof damage.
  8. Competition and Learning: There’s an acknowledgment that direct competitors won’t share their strategies, and attention should be paid to what isn’t being said by successful salespeople within one’s own company.
  9. Sorting 301 – Optimal Timing: The advanced strategy recognizes the importance of ‘when’ you knock on doors. The author realized more people are home and receptive in the late afternoon and evenings, adjusting their schedule increased success while working fewer hours.
  10. Strategic Approach Over Hard Work: The overarching theme is that success in roofing sales is less about the number of doors knocked and more about the strategy employed. Understanding what, where, and when to target is crucial, transforming sales from a numbers game to a calculated, strategic effort.

Here’s the problem: Selling roofs door to door is a skill best learned with “on the job” training.

If you’re already making a living selling roofs, you already know that you have to be out in the neighborhood, knocking on doors to learn how to make the real money.

That’s what we’re here for, right? We want to make more money!

It isn’t unusual for the top sales people in any roofing company to make $2,000, $3,000 and up to $5,000 a week selling roofs. When I was a rookie roofing salesman, I couldn’t wait to figure out how to make that kind of money too.

I Made a Lot of Mistakes

I’ll be the first to admit that I made a lot of mistakes when I first started selling roofs… and you’ll want to come back often because I’ll tell you all about my mistakes… BUT, in my early days I made 1 Mistake That Cost Me at least $1,000 a Week!

I’ll get to that mistake in a minute, but first let’s briefly talk about the game of selling. The so-called sales experts like to say that selling is a “numbers game”.

Here’s a tip: that’s a dirty lie that stupid sales managers repeat at every single sales beating meeting to get their people to work as hard as possible… hoping to squeeze one last sale out of you before you burn out or go broke.

Selling isn’t a numbers game… Selling is a sorting game!

Door To Door Roofing Sales

Sorting 101

Learning the sorting game is like going to college.

Obviously, everybody knows you start knocking in the neighborhoods where all the hail or wind-damaged houses are, but that’s just “Sorting 101.” It’s the easy rule… if there’s damaged roofs in the neighborhood, you start knocking there. You’ve already got that part figured out, right?

It’s a lot harder to sell a new roof to somebody who didn’t get any hail or wind damage. Doesn’t mean it can’t be done because the guys I train do it all the time… it just means that it’s more difficult. You can do it, but you’ll need more skills than Sorting 101 to get there.

Sorting 201

The next level is “Sorting 201.”

Eventually, you’ll learn that just because all the roofs in a neighborhood are damaged, that doesn’t mean you should spend your time selling in THAT specific neighborhood.

In “Sorting 201,” you don’t just sort the houses, you sort the neighborhoods. You have to realize that time is not your friend. Since you only have a limited amount of time, you have to use that time to target the right homes in the right neighborhoods. If you’ll go back and read Lessons from a Rookie Salesman, you’ll find out that it took me several months to get to this level.

When I finally figured out “Sorting 201,” my income really shot up. By the way, this is not a lesson you generally learn from people competing with you because they don’t want you competing with them. Also, forget about what your competition out in the field isn’t telling you. You don’t spend enough time with them to learn anything.

However, you should be very attentive to what your “competition” in your own office isn’t telling you; especially when they want you to look left so they can keep working right.

Sorting 301

It wasn’t until I graduated to “Sorting 301” that I finally figured out A Little Mistake That Cost A Door To Door Salesman $1,000 A Week.

I was a telemarketer just before I got into the roofing business. I hated my job because they forced me to come in to work at 8 a.m. and held me captive until 5 p.m. When a friend from church asked me if I would like to make more money and be my own boss selling roofs, I left that dreaded boiler room as fast as I could.

Working my own hours was great. I still went in to the roofing office (almost) every morning to hang out with the other salesmen. By 10 or 11 (maybe 12) I was out in field knocking doors. I took a short long break around noon for lunch — you gotta eat, right? — and would head back home around 4-5 o’clock… or sometimes 1-2 o’clock… depending on my mood.

When you’re selling roofs door to door during the daytime, you’re going to meet a lot of housewives… and unemployed people… and occasionally people on their day off. Housewives are good because they’ll often handle most of the business for the home. They make the decisions and I sold a lot of roofs to housewives… enough to make $700 or $800 a week… double what I made as a telemarketer.

If you can figure out what to knock (Sorting 101) and where to knock (Sorting 201), you’re next step is to know when to knock (Sorting 301).

Here’s my $1,000 A Week Little Mistake

It eventually dawned on me that there were a lot more people home in the late afternoon and evenings.

My years of working a traditional job had conditioned me to wake up early in the morning and go to work for the day. After all, that is the responsible thing to do, right?

“Sorting 101” is about working in the hail or storm damaged neighborhoods. “Sorting 201” is about working in the right hail or storm damaged neighborhoods… the one’s with big expensive roofs.

“Sorting 301” is all about when you work.

If you’re going to walk and knock several hours a day, you’ll make more money knocking in the late-afternoon and evening than you will knocking doors during traditional working hours.

You work when they’re home. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

As soon as I switched my working schedule up to only work late-afternoons and evenings, I worked a lot less hours, but still made the same amount of money.

Remember, this is NOT a numbers game. Roofing sales is a sorting game!

MONEY MAKING TIP: If you’re just now thinking about getting into roofing sales, I would suggest you first read: Before You Take That Roofing Sales Job.


P.S. Yes, there is a Sorting 401. It’s good, too! You’ll want to check out my Sales Domination System for more information on taking your sales to the next level.

Mike Coday

Mike started selling roofs in '95 while working as a youth pastor at a small church in North Texas. A decade later he transitioned to speaking at industry conferences and training outside sales teams. Today, he works exclusively as the premier consultant to roofing company owners who are driven for growth.