What Does a Roofing Salesman Do?
We were all recruited by somebody into roofing sales…
Maybe you’re thinking about jumping in to the business right now, but the person you’re talking to makes the job sound too good to be true… “work a few hours a week, make a ton of money, go to Disney!” You want to know exactly what a roofing salesperson does, don’t you?
This is Part 2 in our 4-Part series on Roofing Sales Jobs.
Read Part 1: “How much does a roofing salesman make?”
In Part 1, you’ll discover the roofing sales job description may change based on your compensation or commission rate.
Your responsibilities could also be different based on the roofing company you choose. Some will require more of you, some will require less.
Roofing Sales Job Description and Responsibilities
Some responsibilities are universal regardless of who signs your check.
I’m going to cover just about every possible responsibility you might have and make a brief comment on each possible job description.
By the way, even roofing companies that promise, “your only responsibility here is to sell,” aren’t exactly telling the whole truth because there’s a lot of work that goes in to even the most basic sale. If a customer wants to talk to their salesperson, you’ll probably have to follow-up with them, even after the sale.
If I miss anything, please tell me about it in the comments section below.
Related Experience Preferred
Some roofing companies won’t hire you unless you at least have some related experience.
Related to what? I’m not sure, but it probably depends on what they value most…construction experience, sales experience, or experience developing your own leads.
I didn’t have any construction experience when I started; I was telemarketing Animated Bible Videos before I started selling roofs.
Some roofing companies will go as far as wanting you to have a proven roofing sales track record before they’ll even talk to you.
However, once you’re experienced and have a good track record, don’t be surprised if a competitor tries to get you to switch roofing companies. Proven experience can be valuable.
No Industry Experience Required
There’s two sides to this coin… either they’ll have a job description requiring experience or they don’t care… all they’ll want is another warm body.
If you find a roofing company that’s hiring independent contractors without any experience, you’ll need good training.
Your chances of success in roofing sales go way up if you get good training.
If they hand you a stack of business cards and some blank contracts, your chances of success are almost zero. Very few can make it in roofing sales without good training.
If you’re not getting training, and you’re struggling, go find another roofing company that will train you.
You’ll need to learn quick though.
If you’re not selling fast enough, and the roofing company refuses to give you any more draws, you’ll go broke quick.
Again, you’ll need good training if you’re going to sells roofs without any sales or construction experience.
Pass a Background Check and Drug Screening
A roofing salesman will most likely be wearing a company shirt while canvassing neighborhoods. Even though he’s an independent contractor, he’ll represent that company in the mind of everyone he meets.
When he finds a good prospect, he’ll probably sit down at their kitchen table to give his presentation. He’ll be in there with the prospect’s kids, pets, and spouse.
Everybody has some hard shakes in life.
I get that because I’ve had my fair share, too.
People change and move on. The past is the past. But don’t be surprised if your roofing company wants you to pass a background check or drug screening before going to work.
College Degree or Higher Education
I don’t know why some roofing companies want you to have a college education before you can sell roofs for them.
To me, that seems stupid because some of the greatest sales people I’ve ever met never went a single day to college.
On the other hand, some of the worst sales people I’ve ever met have a Master’s Degree. They’re so book smart, that they’re selling idiots.
If you’re wondering, yes, I did graduate from college.
It only took 5 years for me to get a 4 year degree. I started at Oklahoma State in ’87, made a few stops along the way, and didn’t finish until ’92.
Bottom line, college isn’t necessary, but some roofing companies want you to have it before they’ll talk to you.
In my opinion, a High School education is enough for almost everything you’ll be doing in roofing sales.
Willing to Relocate
This isn’t a requirement, but sometimes you have to go where the work is located. With some companies, you may have to chase storms if the work dries up in your town.
If the roofing company you’re thinking about working for wants you to travel, you’ll be chasing hail storms and hurricanes.
That’s fun and exciting when you’re young, but it gets old quick.
Personally, I sleep in my own bed at night and have most nights ever since that miserable failure I had chasing hurricane damage in Pensacola.
Our guys either don’t want to travel or they can’t travel because they have other important obligations at home.
That’s fine with me.
Must Be Local
Some roofing companies don’t care where you’re from if you’re willing to work for them. Others, want you to be local.
They don’t want a storm chaser because they want somebody who will make money with them long-term.
A storm chasing salesman leaves town when the work slows down and that leaves the roofing company handling all of their customer’s for them.
No Traveling Out of State
This is a good one for me.
Anytime you leave your comfort zone, things immediately get more difficult and end up costing twice as much.
If you can find a roofing company where you don’t have to travel out of state, that’s a good thing in my book.
As long as you can find enough prospects to make the money you need without an hail storm or hurricane, I always think staying home is best.
If you can find a situation like this, and make money, don’t ever give it up because staying home is worth it.
Show Up at The Office
Some roofing companies want you to physically check-in at the office once a day or once a week. Either that, or they want you to document your daily activities and prove to them what you’re doing all day.
They do this because they want to make sure you’re working… and so they can help motivate you to get working if you aren’t.
Truth of the matter is you don’t make much money hanging out at the office. Sure, you can pick off an easy lead every once in awhile from answering the phones, but you aren’t going to pay the bills while sitting around at the office.
The money is “out in the field”.
The people with the money will rarely come to your office. You’ll have to go to where they are (their home) if you want to make money.
When I finish working “out in the field”, I want to go home, go to the ballpark, or go anywhere except the office. In my opinion, office time is almost always a waste of time.
My personal advice is to stay away from roofing companies that want to babysit you at the office… unless you need babysitting.
Work Outside Regardless of Weather
A few years ago in the Dallas area, we were having record 110+ degree days for several days in a row. Actually, it lasted for weeks.
Obviously, it was uncomfortable to go sell roofs in that kind of heat.
Everybody was struggling. The roofers were taking breaks every 15 minutes. One day jobs were taking two and three days to finish.
Since most of your work is going to be outside, and you don’t make any money if you’re not working, you’ve got to be able to work in extreme weather conditions.
Can you motivate yourself to work outside regardless of the weather?
This requirement is almost universal for every roofing sales job out there.
Unless you’re experienced and go to work as a salary employee for a commercial roofing company, where they give you a truck, you’re going to have to provide your own transportation.
I sold roofs out of my old Chrysler 5th Avenue for the first several months before buying a Ford Bronco II after I started making money.
Although some roofing companies prefer you to have a truck, you don’t need a fancy truck with an expensive vinyl wrap to sell roofs.
You just need reliable transportation.
I own a GMC crew cab, but in the past, I occasionally sold roofs out of my Honda Accord just to show the new salespeople that your vehicle doesn’t matter.
It may make some small difference in the mind of your prospect, but that’s only if you allow it to be an issue.
Don’t get hung up on having a truck!
Guys that need a big truck to sell from make me wonder what else they’re trying to compensate for… usually, low self-esteem.
It also helps if you can work out of your vehicle. I’ll admit, a truck is good for that. Air conditioning is also nice to have!
You’ll be on the road, away from an office, most of the day when you start making money selling roofs.
Unless you’re getting a draw, or your company pays for gas, you’ll have to come up with your own gas money to get around town and take care of business.
That’s no small thing because gas is expensive.
License, Proof of Insurance, and Registration
I remember coming back home late one night after a long day of knocking doors without making any sales.
There was a stop sign set up in the middle of the main road. The police were stopping everybody to check their license, insurance, and registration.
I had my license. My insurance was good too, but my registration was expired by a few weeks.
The officer gave me a $150 ticket and said, “Have a good night!”
Some roofing companies want to check your license, proof of insurance, and registration before they’ll let you sell roofs.
Need a Cell Phone
A cell phone is a basic need for anyone in sales these days.
If you don’t have one, you could put the office number on your business cards until you make enough to get your own cell phone, but I would rather my prospects call me directly… for a ton of very good reasons.
We couldn’t afford cell phones back when I started because calls were $1 a minute. I did have a big beeper. It was about the size of half a brick.
Today, you can pick up a pre-paid phone at Wal-Mart or a cheap phone from Amazon.
If you only have a little money, but you’re serious about selling roofs, you should seriously think about getting a cell phone because your phone will be your lifeline connection with your prospects and customers.
If you make a great presentation to your prospect, but they didn’t sign up right away, you want them calling you back on your own phone.
If they call the office number, that lazy salesman hanging out at the office might steal your sale.
You think I’m kidding? Nope!
Need a GPS
We both know that most smart phones have built-in GPS.
Asking for directions seems archaic to prospects. However, I still ask for directions. Asking lets my prospect know I’m serious about coming… even though I still plug their address in to my phone.
Pursue Sales Leads
Well, duh! This is a sales job.
Unless you’re going to work for a roofing company that hands you a fresh stack of hot roofing leads every day, you’ll have to pursue your own sales leads.
80% to 90% of leads are generated from door knocking and networking.
That’s especially true right after a hail storm or hurricane.
Later on, when you’ve established yourself, you’ll be able to get more leads from referrals. If you prove yourself, maybe you’ll get some of those valuable, fresh, hot leads.
If you are handed those valuable, fresh, hot leads, expect your overhead expenses to be higher, and your commission rate to be lower, in order to offset the expense of generating valuable, fresh, hot leads. You’ll make more money finding your own leads.
You’ll pay for those valuable, fresh, hot leads one way or another.
That doesn’t mean you can’t make good money paying more in overhead or taking a lower commission. I did it myself for awhile and was very happy.
Taking leads was great for me, but I eventually lost my prospecting edge because I got too lazy to knock. It took me awhile to get my mojo back.
Just remember, you’ll generally make more money when you go out and get your own leads… and 80% to 90% of the time that means door knocking.
Acquire New Customers
Not only do you have to find the leads, but you also have to sell them too.
That sounds obvious, but it isn’t because getting a new customer means you have to keep a new customer too.
The sales pipeline in roofing can be very long…
It may take you 2-3 months or longer from the time you meet the prospect to the day you pick up their last check. You’ve got to acquire them and keep them until everybody gets paid.
At the most basic level your job is to get their signature on your contract.
If you can sell, everything else becomes really easy because nothing happens until somebody sells something.
If all you can do is sign contracts, and you’re a complete failure at almost every other responsibility listed on this page, most roofing companies will figure out a way to make it work (it will cost you in commissions, but they’ll get you enough help to take care of everything else.)
Knock On Doors
We’ve already talked about this, but it can not be overemphasized…
Unless you’re handed that stack of valuable, fresh, hot leads, you’ll probably develop most of your leads from knocking on doors.
If you don’t want to knock on doors or do cold calling, you won’t enjoy this job because that’s how most roofing companies will expect you to sell roofs.
A lot of guys are afraid of door knocking.
They should be afraid.
There’s a world of difference in how effective you are knocking doors with a good, strong, confident pitch versus a bad pitch.
I would be afraid too if I spent my entire day knocking on doors, talking to strangers, and getting non-stop rejection.
I’m afraid I wouldn’t be doing it the next day if that’s what this job is all about!
Good training makes a difference!
Build a Referral Base
One of the major benefits in roofing sales is the ability to leverage social proof. That social proof is part of what you use to build your referral base.
Unless you’ve worked in a related industry, you’ll need good training to learn how to build a referral base.
Once you discover the secrets of referral marketing, you’ll start to makes some of your easiest sales. Building a referral base can multiply your income.
In other words, they want you to be organized because many of your sales will come from following up with people who you’ve already spoken to in the past.
If you can’t keep track of your leads, the leads you worked so hard to get for yourself, then you probably aren’t going to make as many roofing sales as you would if you were more organized.
Some companies may even have a CRM system (i.e. SalesForce, AccuLynx, JobNimbus, etc.) where you’ll be responsible for updating information on your leads.
What’s important to note here is that tracking leads isn’t nearly as important as closing them. You can literally be the most organized roofing sales person in the field and still go hungry.
Tracking leads isn’t nearly as important as selling leads!
Sure, there’s money in the follow-up, but you want to be a first-call closer as often as possible.
Regardless of how you do it, if you’re organized, you’ll make more sales.
Some roofing companies have production quotas where you have to bring in a certain amount of business every week or else. Or else what?
Normally, they have production quotas in order for you to keep pulling a draw. They might have a quota if they offer a salary. If you don’t meet quota, they’ll cut off your money. You may still be able to work for them, but you’ll have to actually sell jobs to get any money.
However, some roofing companies will let you go if you can’t bring them enough business to justify the amount of time and effort they are expending on your training.
Training is expensive. Good training is priceless.
Work Nights and Weekends
If you’re going to make money selling roofs, you’ll want to talk to people when they’re home. Your prospects are usually home nights and weekends.
You can still make money working days, but you won’t be leveraging your time. Read this article, “A Little Mistake That Cost a Door to Door Salesman $1,000 a Week.”
Roofing Sales is different from most jobs because it is usually an independent contractor commission-only sales job.
You work as little or as much as you want.
If you want to make money, sometimes you’ll just have to do whatever it takes and put in as much time as it takes to make your commissions.
As you see from scrolling down this list, there are a lot of responsibilities.
If you get lost doing more than one thing at a time, or doing many different things in a day, you’re going to have a hard time with roofing sales.
Manage a Busy Schedule
If you get easily overwhelmed with having to do more than one or two things in a day, roofing sales probably isn’t for you.
You’ll have days in the middle of working a hail storm when you’re so busy, you won’t even have time to eat.
Can you manage a busy schedule?
This isn’t the kind of job where you get paid by the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour. The more value you bring, the more you get paid.
If you’re used to sitting around on the job passing time playing on your iPhone, you’re going to love the freedom of roofing sales, but you’re going to hate the pay.
In my first roofing sales job, the owner wanted his sales people to climb as many roofs a week as possible to give away free roof estimates.
At the end of the week, he held a cash money drawing for whoever gave away the most free estimates.
The person with the most estimates got to pick a card out of a deck of playing cards. On the other side of the card was a dollar amount.
I never won that drawing and I’ll tell you why in a minute.
These days, with technology like EagleView, it isn’t absolutely necessary to climb roofs. However, you’ll be at a disadvantage occasionally if you don’t.
Roofing companies that require you to climb roofs do so because their sales generation system means you have to get up on that roof.
Personally, I’m afraid of heights and try to climb as few roofs as possible.
Need a Ladder
If you’re going to climb roofs, you’ll need a ladder.
Some roofing companies even want you to have a ladder rack on your truck.
All I’ve ever owned was a single story 12′ fold-up ladder. My wife used it around the house more than I did to get up on roofs.
In my early selling days, I needed a ladder that would fit in the trunk of my car. I got so used to using my little ladder that I never switched.
However, I have thought about buying a telescoping ladder just because they look cool.
If you’ve never heard of Cougar Paws, they are a boot built especially to give you extra traction and support when you’re on a roof.
The patented grip pad on the bottom of the boot helps grab the roof.
Nice to have, and probably a lot safer than my leather loafers, but they aren’t usually a strict requirement.
I almost didn’t put gloves on the list of responsibilities.
Some guys wear gloves when they’re inspecting a roof for damage.
Why? I don’t know why, maybe they think they’re mountain climbers, but whatever. Gloves are stupid. 😉
Inspect Roofs for Damage
We’ve already covered this, but you’ll have to climb the roof to inspect it.
Once you’re up there, you need to know what damage looks like. Again, you’ll need good training to recognize covered damage.
If you get up there and point at something that looks like hail or wind damage, but isn’t, you’ll immediately lose credibility with a professional adjuster.
Also, you don’t want to tell people they have covered damage, when they have ventilation issues or their kids have been throwing the baseball up on the roof for the last 10 years.
You need to know the difference.
If you can measure a roof, you’ll have an advantage out in the field.
Most people can’t measure a roof anymore, but some roofing companies insist on you measuring roofs. You’ll need a good tape measure.
There’s many reasons to measure a roof, but it’s usually because you can’t always trust the numbers given by the insurance company or you’ve had a bad experience with the satellite measurements being wrong on a difficult roof.
There’s also cash deals where the insurance company isn’t involved and you don’t have time to wait for a satellite measurement.
In a cash deal, if you measure the roof right away and give the prospect the right price, you have everything you need to sign them up on the spot.
If you can’t measure a roof, you’ll miss almost all of those opportunities because they’ll get somebody out there who can measure the roof.
Needless to say, if you’re going to measure the roof, you’ll need some kind of tape measure or measuring device.
Measure From The Ground
If you can’t measure a roof from the roof, or if you’re afraid of heights like me, you can always learn how to measure a roof from the ground.
You’ll need to be familiar with basic geometry and know your roof pitch, or use the super cool pitch gauge app, but it doesn’t take long to learn how to get a decent estimate without getting on the roof.
Out in the field, I could probably teach you how to measure from the ground in a day or two.
Also, ground measurements aren’t nearly as accurate as measuring from the roof, but they can get you in the ballpark if you don’t have an adjuster’s scope or a satellite measurement.
With a little experience, you’ll be able to give an competitive bid without having to risk your neck.
In order to give an estimate, you need to be very familiar with your costs and know your prospect’s roof measurements.
Once you know your labor and materials costs, and you know their measurements, you have almost everything you need to give an estimate.
Sounds easy, but it takes some time before you really understand costs and measurements. Until then, most roofing companies will tell the new sales people to give an estimate based on “whatever the insurance company allows.”
Need a Clipboard
The rest of the world may be going paperless with an iPad, but most roofing estimates and contracts delivered in-person still require old-fashioned paper.
You’re probably going to need a clipboard to fill out your paperwork.
Better yet, get a clipboard or folder with extra storage space to keep blank contracts and carry around important papers you’ll need for prospecting and presenting.
Need a Pen
One thing I would say about the pen you use… people like to use nice pens. If you carry a very nice pen around to sign contracts with, some people will sign your contracts just because they’re fascinated with your pen. True story!
Meet with Insurance Adjusters
Not every roofing sales job requires you to meet with the insurance adjuster.
Some roofing sales jobs just want you to sign the contract and then the back-office handles everything else.
The good adjusters I know will tell you it’s not true, but most veteran roofing sales people believe that meeting the adjuster helps get the claim paid more often and more of the damage covered which leads to bigger profits.
If you want my advice about meeting with the adjuster, click the link.
Not every roof is bought at the first adjuster’s inspection.
Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to whether or not the roof qualifies for replacement.
In situations where you or your roofing company believe there is enough damage to require a new roof, but the adjuster does not agree, some roofing companies will want you to help the homeowner secure another inspection (second opinion) from their insurance company.
That’s what you call an re-inspect.
Understand The Adjuster’s Scope of Loss
When the adjuster gets down off the roof, they’ll either write up their estimate immediately or they’ll go back to their office and prepare it later.
The Scope of Loss will detail all of the damage, measurements, deductions, and payments for the claim.
If you’ll learn how to read a scope, you’ll have an advantage out in the field.
Working With Insurance
This is a sketchy area because in the strictest terms, only a licensed public adjuster has the authority to work with or negotiate with an insurance company.
You should be skilled at giving your professional opinion, supporting your client, and justifying your claims of damage and repair estimates, but I would strongly recommend roofing salesmen stay away from negotiating or presenting themselves as claim experts.
You should be able to handle yourself in a professional manner because you will have interactions with insurance adjusters and the companies they represent. Your opinion is valuable.
Must Be Punctual
I’ve seen this requirement pop up a lot for roofing sales people.
If you can’t be on time, then you’re going to lose sales. The way you show people they are valuable is you value their time by being on time.
With that said, I’ve been late a lot!
When you’re busy selling roofs, the chances of you being on time for every last appointment is slim to none.
If you can’t be on time, at least call ahead and let your prospect know you’re running behind. Show them that you value their time the best you can.
Make Personal Presentations
You’ll be talking to people.
In fact, you’ll be talking to a lot of people if you’re going to be successful selling roofs for a living.
How are you at making presentations?
Does it make you nervous to talk to strangers?
The better you are at making presentations, the more likely you are to find success. Almost every roofing company has a canned presentation they want their sales people to make. Memorize it.
Most experienced sales guys swear by their presentation.
Doing the same thing over and over again until you master it can relieve a lot of stress when you’re in the home closing. Presentations are a good thing to learn and they’ll help you make sales.
I personally don’t use an iPad, laptop, or any other kind of folder to make my presentations. I go in with my clipboard, pen and blank contract.
If I have a few signed contracts or checks, I’ll spread those out on the table for my prospect to see.
For me, formal presentations break eye contact and make it difficult for me to read my prospect’s body language.
I want my prospect looking at me, my contract and my beautiful pen their about to use to sign their name.
Overcome Fears and Objections
You know this is a sales job, right?
Every industry has their own set of fears and objections that have to be overcome if you’re going to make money.
It is human nature to be afraid of rejection.
However, if you get good training, you’ll discover a step-by-step process to eliminate most of these objections before they happen.
Now, this sounds stupid, but some people really do get stuck on what color they’ll choose for their new roof.
In the vast majority of sales, you’re going to put the same color up that you’re taking down, but that won’t keep the Mrs. from standing out in the front yard holding color samples up against her brick for an hour or two.
If you can help people make decisions, you’ll have an advantage when it comes time to pick a color.
Sell Roofing Upgrades
The easiest person to sell is the person who just bought something from you.
They like you, trust you, and they already have their wallet open.
I wrote an article on here before about the dangers of giving the customer too many choices because a confused mind never buys. (If you remember that article, would you please contact me and I’ll link to it from here.)
Obviously, if you can increase the dollars you collect at the end of the job without proportionately increasing your costs, you’re going to make more money. Just be careful not to lose your customer along the way.
Walk The Homeowner Through The Process
Every roofing company has a different way they do business with their customers. This is a step-by-step method they’ve developed over time that they believe leads to the greatest chance of success with every customer.
You are the sales person. You are the homeowner’s point of contact with the roofing company. They’ll look to you to guide them through the entire process.
If you don’t walk them through the process, they’ll get their advice from somebody else… and that could be dangerous for you!
When I started selling roofs, I had to fill out the material order form.
I didn’t have to personally order the materials, but I was responsible to make sure the order sheet was correct.
Knowing how many squares of shingles, lead jacks, turbines, sticks of drip edge, etc. you need in advance can save you a lot of time on the day your job gets built.
Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, likes running to Home Depot for the third time in one day to pick up just ONE more low profile vent.
You may or may not be responsible for knowing how many squares are on a roof, but chances are you’ll need to at least know some things (e.g. how many pipes, turbines, skylights, color of shingles, color of drip edge, etc.) before the order gets placed.
This goes back to being organized.
If you’ll write these things down when you close the deal, you won’t have to drive back out to the house to make sure you have their shingle color right.
There’s a difference in purchasing material and preparing an order sheet.
Most of the time, you won’t have to actually purchase the materials, but you will be required to put together a list of all the materials needed. Again, that means you’ll have to take good notes (e.g. what color is the drip edge, how many vents, what sizes, etc.)
At first, you won’t have a clue what you’re doing here.
After you make a few trips back to the house you just sold, you’ll start taking notes so you don’t have to do that anymore.
When you first start selling roofs, I seriously doubt you’ll be solely responsible for scheduling your jobs.
However, you will have to let your production manager know when your customer is ready to get their new roof.
If you’re experienced in roofing sales, you may have to schedule your own jobs or you might even be assigned your own roofing crew.
Either way, timing and communicating the production schedule to your customer is vital to good customer service and future referrals.
Nothing can mess with your customer more than saying you’ll roof their house on Friday, but the crew shows up on Wednesday and blocks their car in the garage so they’re late for work.
That’s not a fun phone call to take.
Readily Available to Clients
That’s code for “you better take your own calls.”
If you can’t make yourself available to your clients, you’re going to have a hard time making friends with whoever writes your commission check back at the home office.
Because when a customer wants to talk to somebody, they want to talk to you, and they want to talk to you NOW.
If your customers can’t reach you, they’ll call the next number on your card… the office. Guess what? The office doesn’t want to talk to your customer.
They don’t know anything about what’s going on with your customer. They don’t really want to know. That’s your responsibility.
It is your job to take care of you own customers… unless you work for a company that pays you to just sign contracts.
Handle Client Correspondence
If your roofing company wants you to handle the client correspondence, it probably means they don’t have a lot of back-office support for you.
You’ll have to take care of your own paperwork like invoicing, receipts, warranties, etc. This is a pain because the time you spend doing paperwork doesn’t directly lead to any more sales, but it has to be done.
Have fun with your paperwork if you’re going to take on that responsibility!
Managing Job Sites
In all of the roofing sales jobs I’ve ever had, I’ve had some amount of responsibility for the success of every job.
For the most part, the crew and the crew leader take care of all the manual labor. However, the homeowner will ultimately hold you responsible for the promises you made when you sold them.
You shouldn’t be driving any nails or hauling bundles of shingles up the roof (unless you absolutely want to), but can you communicate your homeowner’s wishes to the crew and then make sure it gets done no matter what?
It is ultimately your responsibility to make sure the job gets done exactly like you sold it.
If you have to sweep the driveway, pick up trash, and run the nail magnet yourself because the crew didn’t do it or they didn’t finish up until after dark, that’s what you’ll have to do in order to keep your promises.
There’s one other aspect of managing the job site that I believe is important to point out here and that’s running material.
If you ordered (4) Low Profile vents for the job and it actually takes (5), who is going to make the run to the supply house to pick up the extra vent?
Some roofing companies will have a “runner” or even a production manager who will chase materials for you. That’s nice.
Other times, the crew may go pick up the vent, but if you want to be sure it gets done (and they don’t just re-use the old vent), you’ll have to be your own “runner” 9 times out of 10.
In situations where the roofing company requires you to run your own material, it isn’t unusual for them to require you be able to lift heavy objects because bundles of shingles are heavy!
Work with Subcontractors
As you get more experience, you may be asked to help line up the different subcontractors (e.g. painters, siding crew, gutters, etc.)
In bigger roofing companies, they’ll have a production manager that is supposed to handle lining up the crews for you.
In my experience, depending on a production manager seldom works out well because he’ll never care as much as you do.
If he gets the subs out late, that’s your problem… unless your production manager is also the owner. You’ll be the one calling the homeowner to apologize for not showing up.
When you want it done right, you’ll learn how to line up your own subcontractors.
Maintain Safety on The Job
Most roofing companies won’t hold you as the sales person responsible for the safety of the job site. That usually falls on the crew leader, production manager, or quality control inspector (if there is one).
However, safety is a big deal, and it is getting more and more attention.
Roofing companies have started requiring their sales people to at least be involved in the process. If there’s a safety problem on the job, your responsibility may be to make sure it gets reported.
I almost forgot about this until roofing sales veteran, Jeff “Longball” Richardson, reminded me that returning materials is an important part of a roofing salesman’s job.
Roofing materials are expensive and shingles are heavy. It might be easier to “forget” them. However, you’re giving away money when you leave material on the job site.
If you “forget” $100 worth of shingles (3-4 bundles), and you’re making a 50% commission, that’s like leaving a $50 bill in the driveway.
An extra fifty bucks is a nice meal out or some gas in the tank.
Have a Laptop
While a laptop isn’t a strict requirement, you have to keep yourself organized and be able to communicate while spending a majority of your time on the road.
A roofing salesman that spends most of his time in the office, will be a poor roofing salesman.
If you want to make money, you have to be out where the people are located. While you’re out, it is nice to have access to your data and information.
The easier it is for you to put your hands on the information you need, when you need it, the easier it will be for you to take care of business.
Basic Computer Knowledge
Can you answer email, type out a letter, use a basic spreadsheet, and do a search to find easy answers?
That’s really about all the computer knowledge you need for roofing sales.
If you’ve been to High School, you’ve got this down. I don’t know why roofing companies put basic computer knowledge in their requirements because it is so basic.
A supplement is when you or someone in your back office support team goes back to the insurance company to get the money for additional damage, work, or materials.
Sometimes, your job will need a supplement because the insurance adjuster didn’t include all of the damage, work, or materials (e.g. wind turbines, drip edge, dump fees, painting, etc.). They forgot it, skipped it, or left it off the scope.
Other times, a supplement is required when the extra damage, work, or material is not apparent on the initial inspection (e.g. 2nd layers, damaged decking, additional material from a mis-measurement, etc.)
If the insurance company measures the roof and they believe it is 25 Squares, but when you roof the home it takes 30 Squares, you may need a supplemental to make up for the missing 5 Squares.
However, before you or your office files that supplement, make sure you don’t have a problem with stolen or under-delivered shingles, a sloppy or shady roofing crew, or a homeowner who hid your shingles in their garage for that new shed they are going to build some day.
You’ll most likely need to prove that the roof required the extra 5 Squares.
The best way to prove it is with a detailed measurement.
There’s still a lot of sales guys out in the field who do their own invoicing.
That’s the way I learned the business.
I didn’t have somebody back in the office taking care of all my invoicing paperwork. I didn’t have somebody who knew how to use Xactimate to prepare my supplements. I didn’t have any kind of paperwork support.
I had to prospect, inspect, measure, prepare the order, supervise the crew, run materials, handle quality control, pick up the check, and almost everything else on this list… and then handle all of my own paperwork, too.
By the end of the day, I didn’t feel like doing paperwork.
These days, more roofing companies want their sales people out in the field doing more of what they do best… selling!
It’s good if you can get help with your paperwork.
Mortgage & Insurance Company Follow-Up
At one point or another, you’re going to have money floating out there; money that should be in your pocket in the form of commission, but somebody else has it… and they are taking a long time getting it to you.
If that somebody holding your money isn’t the homeowner, it will either be the mortgage company or the insurance company.
In a big hail storm or hurricane, these insurance offices get extremely busy.
Paperwork gets lost, balls get dropped, people quit, move on, and get fired. A phone call or an email can do wonders to loosen up your money.
Most checks are released without a single problem, but there are times when you’ll have to make multiple calls to get your check.
Some people are afraid to ask for the money.
“Show me the money!” – Rod Tidwell
Asking for the money is the first step in getting paid.
If you’re afraid to ask for the money, that really means you aren’t valuing your work. You deserve to get paid and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for and pick up the check.
If you stay with a roofing company long enough, eventually you’re going to get some warranty calls.
That doesn’t always mean your crew messed up.
Sometimes, they’ve had another storm, a tree fell on the house, a squirrel ate through their lead jack, they put nails through the roof hanging Christmas decorations… there’s a hundred reasons why you’ll get a warranty call.
Either way, at the very least, your home office will expect you to work with them to take care of your customer.
The way you treat a customer when they have a problem can make a big difference when it comes time for them to refer their friends and family.
What Did I Miss?
This article has taken more that a few days to write.
I’ve tried to include every responsibility you could have in a job description.
This is a list of everything I’ve ever had, and every responsibility I’ve ever known, another roofing company to require of their sales people.
I’m still sure I’ve missed something.
If you think of it, send me a message and tell me about it.
P.S. There’s several links in this article that lead to Amazon. I love online shopping. When you click the links and buy something, Amazon is going to pay me a referral fee. Thank you very much.
Mike CodayMike 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.
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