Getting Started Selling Roofs

Knocking doors is the fastest way to start making money in roofing sales.
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Knocking doors is the fastest way to start making money in roofing sales.Knocking doors is the fastest way to make money in this business.

Find a neighborhood that you like and where the people are receptive to you. Whatever you do, don’t skip around endlessly.

Don’t get sucked into the trap of always looking for a better place to work… driving around like your car door is welded shut. Find your spot, get out of the car and go to work.

Write Everything Down

Once you find your neighborhood, you’ll want to carry around a notepad. Write down every street and every house number that you visit. Write down exactly what happened at that house.

Did you have a conversation? What did they say? Did you get their name? Did they have kids, a dog, a fast car? Write down notes that will help you remember that person.

Maybe they already contacted their insurance company. That’s good info and you’ll want to write it down too. Maybe they told you to leave them alone and never come back… make sure you do that.

There’s nothing worse than going back to the same guy’s house 5 times and having him slam the door on you. Don’t do it. Write things down.

Whatever was said at the door, make a note. If you just left a brochure because nobody answered the door, make a note. That way you can come back and say, “I was by your home on Thursday at 3:30. You weren’t home, but I left my brochure that looks just like this (hold up your brochure).”

Giving people exact, specific data helps establish your credibility.

Your Approach At The Door

After you knock the door or ring the doorbell, stand at least 4-5 feet back from the door so when your prospect opens the door they won’t feel like you’re invading their space.

Staying back 4-5 feet allows your prospect to feel as comfortable as possible with a stranger at their door.

Additionally, you want to stand to their right when they open the door. Studies have shown that people feel much more comfortable looking to their right than they do looking to their left. Looking left makes them feel uneasy. Looking or facing right is always more comfortable.

Hold your brochure about waist high with the headline clearly visible. While this is very subtle, people will want to size you up quickly. They can’t help but look at your brochure’s headline if your finger is pointing right at it.

Sometimes the prospect will open the door and ask you a question first. For example, “how are you doing today?” or “what can i do for you?”

If the prospect asks you how you’re doing, simply answer them with some small talk and then ask them how they’re doing too. “I’m doing good. How is your day going?” After they’ve responded, you can start your opening line.

Other times, they’ll just open the door and stare at you and look down at your finger pointing to the brochure. Either way, this is when the magic begins. You’ll only have about 4-5 seconds to make your initial impression. They’ll quickly decide whether or not they want to listen to you.

The Opening Line

“My name is _______ with [name of roofing company] in [name of city]. Your neighbors are getting a new roof. I just came by to see if anybody’s talked with you about your roof?”

Opening Line Break Down

Let’s break that line down because it is so important that you say it word for word exactly as it’s written.

“My name is ______ with [name of roofing company] in [name of city].”

Unless your prospect has seen your roofing sign in their best friend’s front yard, they’ve probably never heard of you before… at this point they don’t care.

The good news is that they haven’t heard of your competition either. Stating your name and the company you work for is just good business etiquette. It tells your prospect you are a professional.

Important Tip: Only if you work for Fireman Roofing

First thing you want to do is establish credibility. Nobody has ever heard of most roofing companies running around town after a hail storm, hurricane or high winds, but everybody has heard of a Fireman.

It was the Firemen who saved so many lives when the Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City was attacked. It was the Firemen who rushed into the towers on 9/11 and saved so many lives while sacrificing their own. People have loved ones who have been saved and served by Firemen.

If you’re a Fireman, be prepared to let your prospect know what city and station you serve. If you’re a retired Fireman, you may want to let your prospect know up-front.

You may not be a Fireman yourself, but you work with Firemen. Most of the guys who work here are Fireman. Maybe you’re an insurance agent, adjuster, teacher or minister. Be upfront and let them know who you are and what you do when you’re not working with the Firemen.

“Your neighbors are getting a new roof.”

This is where social proof starts to kick in.

They remember the hail storm or have talked to friends and family who told them about it. Almost everybody in town was most likely impacted by the hail storm. That’s why “your neighbors are getting a new roof.”

They’ve also seen the roofing signs going up in the neighborhood.

While nobody wants to believe that they’ll have to replace their roof, they’re starting to get the feeling that it is inevitable and you want to draw on those impressions.

Finally, you’ve heard the saying about keeping up with the Jones’?

You can’t help but notice when your neighbor gets a brand new car or paints their house or puts in new landscaping.

I can guarantee you that the guys’ wife you’re talking to probably didn’t miss the new roof going up down the street. If my neighbor is getting something new, I wouldn’t want to be left out, would you?

“I just came by to see if anybody’s talked with you about your roof?

This last line of your opening is non-threatening. You aren’t asking them to sign a contract, you aren’t asking for their first born child. You just want to find out if they’re open to talking with you about their roof.

Once you’ve finished asking this question. Stand there completely silent with a slightly upturned smile and nod your head “yes” gently.

Wait until they answer you. Don’t dare speak a word until they speak first.

What they say next will tell you everything you need to know…

Their 1st Response

Again, whatever your prospect says next will tell you everything you need to know in order to move forward or move on.

There’s only 2 possible directions you can go based on their response.

Either you move forward with your first trial close or you say “thank you” and move on to the next door.

What are some of the things your prospect’s might say? I’m glad you asked.

  • I’m not interested. [next door]
  • Yes, but we’ve already got somebody. [next door]
  • No. [trial close]
  • I don’t think we have any damage. [trial close]
  • We don’t have any damage! [next door]
  • Somebody already checked our roof. We’re okay. [next door]
  • Somebody already checked. I think we’re okay. [trial close]
  • Now is not a good time. [next door]
  • Are you a fireman? [trial close]

3 Rules of Door Knocking

Rule #1: Never fight with a fool!

Rule #2: Never fight with a fool!

Rule #3: Never fight with a fool!

If they don’t think they have any damage (even though you just talked with 5 people who are getting a check from their insurance company, their neighbor has roofing material sitting in their driveway and their wind turbine is smashed), don’t fight with them about whether or not they have hail damage.

You have to know the difference between when somebody is telling you they don’t have any damage and when they’re asking you whether or not they have damage or possibly not sure whether or not they have any damage.

If they leave the door open, you can move forward with your trial close.

Otherwise, brush it off and move on to the next door.

Next Door

Before you move on to the next door, make sure you leave with a good impression. If you’ve caught them at a bad time, they may just be wanting to get rid of you.

You don’t want to leave them thinking you’re a jerk or worse calling the police because they think you’re in the neighborhood “harassing” people.

Make a note in your notepad about the conversation and move on to the next door. If you’re working that neighborhood the right way, I can guarantee you that somebody that fits in this category will eventually call you when the time is better for them. They’ll call you from a sign or you’ll do their neighbor’s roof.

Trial Close

If your prospect has left the door open for you to continue your conversation, it is now time for your 1st trial close.

A lot of contracts are closed right here on the spot. It doesn’t have to take a long time to get a deal. You just have to say the right words at the right time.

If they’ve left the door open for you to continue the conversation, right now is the right time to say these right words. Here they are…

“We’re replacing your neighbor’s roof and their insurance company is paying for it. Would you like a new roof too? We’ll take care of everything. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?”

Trial Close Break Down

“We’re replacing your neighbor’s roofs…”

Obviously, if you look at this line, you’ll see the syntax feels wrong because you’re switching mid-phrase from talking about their neighbor’s roof to talking about their roof.

This again has to do with the rule of social proof.

We want to remind them again that their neighbor’s are getting a new roof (we hope it is from us, but it will be from somebody) and that they should get one too.

“…and their insurance company is paying for it.”

This is where the transition from their neighbor to them happens.

You want to plant the seed that their insurance company will need to be involved, but it isn’t a big deal. There’s no fighting, no hassling, no pressure. It isn’t a hard process, we’re going to take care of you.

“We take care of everything.”

One of the next things that runs through your prospect’s mind is whether or not this is going to be a hassle.

It can be really confusing to go through everything required to get a new roof. You don’t want them thinking about it at this point.

Besides, you’ll help them with everything. That’s your job.

You want to reassure them that everything is going to be okay and that you’ll help them “take care of everything.”

“Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?”

That’s your closing line. It’s your 1st trial close.

After you’ve asked the question, you once again stand there silent with a slight smile and gently nod your head “yes”.

Of course, it sounds good.

If you’ve used your opening line and trial close word-for-word, here’s what you’ve already established:

#1 They trust you.

#2 They like you.

#3 They want what their neighbor’s are getting.

#4 They want it because it is simple.

#5 They want it because it sounds good to them.

What Happens When They Say “YES!”

After they say “Yes!”, stick out your hand and shake their hand. Give them a nice, firm handshake and say, “We’ll take good care of you.”

Fill Out The Contract

Write down in the dollar amount area “As per RCV insurance with NO additional out of pocket”.

Obviously, they are responsible to pay their own deductible. You’ll never charge more than what the insurance company allows unless they want additional work (e.g. eave repair, gutters, ventilation, etc.)

It is important to use RCV on the contract in the event that they have an ACV policy. You don’t have to explain the difference between RCV and ACV, but make sure you write RCV down on the contract.

RCV = Replacement Cost Value (Eligible for depreciation reimbursement)
ACV = Actual Cash Value (Not eligible for depreciation reimbursement)

AFTER you get their signature, tell them to call their insurance agent in the morning. Tell them that their insurance adjuster will call them back within 24-48 hours. Ask if they’ll call you as soon as they hear from their insurance adjuster.

BEFORE you leave, make sure they repeat back to you what they’re going to do about calling their insurance agent and having them call you as soon as they hear from their insurance adjuster.

REMIND them that you’ll help them take care of all the details.

LEAVE a sign in their yard.

ASK them if they’ll call their family for you so you can help them too.

I’m sure you have more questions about getting started selling roofs.

Please let me know your questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.


About The Author

Mike Coday

Mike Coday is a retired youth pastor turned serial entrepreneur, roofing marketing consultant, author, speaker, sales trainer, and sentimental family man. His expertise is coaching roofers to the next level of success.

Facebook Comments


  • Richard Dey

    Reply Reply September 30, 2013

    Hello Mike, I recently have gotten back into the workforce. I have 20 years of Siding, Window & Roofing sales and installation. More so on the installation. Long story short, I got hurt 6 years ago , the economy crashed and I lost my way for a moment. I have been with E-Z Roofing & Construction LLC out of Evans Georgia and have sold 3 insurance claims jobs. My question is , I have located a few neighborhoods in which , I believe the North side of the roofs, have severe algae streaks on the roofs. To me this looks like hail damage with granules severely missing on what appears to be burnt shingles. Should I attempt to hassle the insurance companies and homeowners in these neighborhoods for possible storm damaga claims? We had a hail storm here on 3/18/2013. Thank you

    • Mike

      Reply Reply September 30, 2013

      Richard, I’m glad you’ve been able to pick yourself up again. We all hit rough patches – some are rougher than others.

      As far as the algae goes, real hail damage is easier to spot on these shingles because they are more susceptible to damage.

      If you’ve got hail, go ahead and pursue replacement because you are helping the homeowner.

      If all you have is algae, you may want to reconsider taking the claim route. There may be other services you could sell them, but probably not worth your time to proactively chase it.

      Does that help?

  • Josh

    Reply Reply October 19, 2012

    So, judging by what you told Paul, you only work door to door when there has been a recent hail storm? I can drive through older neighborhoods and see house after house with roofs showing significant age. Would your recommendation be to just leave it alone?


    • mike

      Reply Reply October 20, 2012


      Old or older storm damage can be profitable if (and only if) the claims are getting paid.

      It isn’t unusual to run across pockets of damage that need to be fixed. If you find an area like that where the money is flowing, that is a good thing.

      The problem is finding these areas.

      Your time is worth money and your job is to convert your time into money as quickly as possible.

      Nothing is more frustrating than spending your time working old damage only to find out the claims aren’t getting paid. You can be a month in working something old before you find out it won’t pay off.

      That’s the only reason I would suggest working something fresher… unless you can afford to chase the older not being sure if it will pay off.

      Does that make sense?


  • Paul

    Reply Reply June 7, 2011

    If there hasn’t been a major hail storm how do you go about finding a neighborhood to work?

    • mike

      Reply Reply June 7, 2011


      I got your email. Thank you for your kind words. You asked an important question and I want to answer you honestly and directly.

      Some people really can sell ice to Eskimos… the rest of us have to sell to people who have a real need or want.

      Roofing has been and always will be a feast or famine business. The good money is based entirely on insurance claims… and working them in an efficient manner.

      Without fresh hail, you lose the ability to work claims quickly and efficiently. It takes too long to find a prospect, meet with the adjuster… only to get the claim turned down because the insurance company has tightened up their standards of what is or isn’t hail damage.

      So, what do you do without a fresh hail storm?

      Honestly, you go find yourself another job and take care of you and your family. If you want to chase a storm, you may consider relocating, but if you’re anything like I am, you like to sleep in your own bed at night.

      Brutally honest, I know.


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