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

Big Roofing Sales Mistake
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Door to Door selling is an easy job…

Roofing Sales is Easy?

Is Roofing Sales 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.

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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…

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!

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.

About The Author

Mike Coday

Mike is a retired youth pastor turned marketing consultant, author, speaker, sales trainer, and sentimental family man. His expertise is internet marketing...and bad Dad jokes.

Facebook Comments


  • eric b

    Reply Reply October 5, 2012

    hey mike i enjoy your info….i just got into selling roofs i started in april in nashville doing hail claims…going door to door …its not hard selling someone something that they need…..well it started getting a lil slow and my company sent most of the salesman to new orleans to work the hurricane issac storm….ive been here 3 weeks now and have signed a few contracts but most of the homeownes are having problems with the insurance companys….in nashville i helped the homeowner set up the adjuster meetings and meet with the adjusters for them to get the roof bought…. well down here almost every house i go to has already had an adjuster come out and there waiting on paper work ….most i have spoke with say they only want to patch the roof even when they have damage on all slopes of the roof….so i have to tell the homeowner that we need the paper work to find out what the insurance is trying to cover and if there not happy with there findings then we set up another adjuster meeting where i will be there to meet with the adjuster to make sure they see all the damage that is there….so right now its a waiting game…not to mention the very high dedutables…..these people have mold growing on the inside of there homes and they are still waiting on paperwork?????? just to find out the insurance they have paid all there lives only wants to patch the roof….this is my first hurricane storm….if you ask me hail storms are much easier……. any advice would be appreciated thank you for your time……

  • victor

    Reply Reply November 8, 2011

    Hi Mike.
    I am a salesman for a small roofing company, but there hasn’t been any storms lately where I’m from. What would be a good strategy to sell roofs in this situation?

    • mike

      Reply Reply November 8, 2011

      Hey Victor,

      Roofing sales is a very tough job without storms or old damage to work. That’s because most people will not make an investment out of their own pocket… especially in a down economy when bank lending is tight.

      My first response would be to tell you to find another full-time job you can do until you have storms to work.

      However, if you’re going to stay in roofing sales without a storm, you need to go straight to the source. Change your marketing strategy from targeting homeowners to targeting insurance agencies.

      When/if there is a claim in your area, the local agent will usually be among the first to know. A lot of people call their agent when they have a problem rather than the toll-free claims number on their policy papers. It is just easier to talk to an agent they know.

      Not every call to the local agent will be for a full roof replacement. However, if you’ll take care of the little things the agent sends you (e.g. leaks from chimneys, pipes, skylights, etc.), you’ll find that the agent will trust you to refer the bigger jobs too.

      Victor, what you’re asking is very difficult. It can be done, but it is very hard to do unless you can build those relationships with the local insurance agents. Most relationships take time to develop trust, but can be rewarding in time.

      Best of luck,

    • Matt

      Reply Reply March 20, 2016

      We don’t do door to door. But we were getting slow and sent out a bunch of mailers to a couple zip codes that had been hit the year prior. We said, hey look! You have until X date to file a claim on last year’s storm. Already booked ~30 apps from that one mailer. Not to mention Angie’s List, ValPak, and social media.

  • Patrick Hennessy

    Reply Reply July 30, 2011

    When asked, “Why do you rob banks ?” – the famous bandit Willie Sutton replied, “Cuz that’s where the money is.”

    I started in the Home Improvement business at about 24 years old as a door-to-door CANVASSER NOT A SALES MAN – and consistently made $400 – $500 a week.

    My boss set the hours –
    Mon thru Thurs 4 PM to 7 PM
    Sat 10 AM to 2 PM (except football Saturdays – then it was 10 AM til noon)

    Warm to hot canvassed leads are golden to a roofing/HI salesman and they paid me well in those days (1985) for Booked appointments that were honored by the prospect and each closed sale.

    That’s where the MONEY is – Afternoons and evenings AND Saturday 10 AM til 2 PM

    • mike

      Reply Reply July 31, 2011

      Warm Leads are like GOLD to a good salesperson. Love the quote too! Thx for sharing.

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