Today’s metal roofing market is thriving, thanks to increased interest and confidence from consumers who prefer metal for its long-lasting benefits, durability, extreme weather protection and endless style options.
That’s also driving a big business opportunity. According to the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), because the metal roofing market in the U.S. and Canada is still so young, installers and contractors have a unique chance to establish themselves ahead of the competition.
For businesses eyeing a jump into the industry, just getting started can be the most daunting part. But there’s a whole world of resources and knowledge available for metal roofing newcomers. Here are four steps to getting started in the business:
1. Connect with other experts
Jason Mathiesen, metal roofing contractor and project manager at MLC Construction, recommends starting out by seeking the expertise of those with valuable experience. “One thing I did was talk to some of the guys who have been doing this for awhile,” he said. “Buy them a cup of coffee or a beverage and pick their brain a bit.”
He added that manufacturers reps are also a great resource, as many of them are focusing on training and education for contractors.
Todd Miller, president at Isaiah Industries suggests reaching out to a trainer or consultant for expert advice. He recommends consultants with knowledge of home improvement and residential metal roofing such as Dave Yoho, Brian Smith, Rick Grosso, Rodney Webb, Frank Farmer and Jeb Blount.
2. Identify manufacturing partners
With expert input under your belt, the next step is to research and determine what products you want to sell and connect with the right metal roofing manufacturers.
Shop around, talk with a variety of manufacturers and zero in on those you think are a good fit. Mathiesen says he has found that working exclusively with one or two manufacturers is good for business and makes both the consumer and manufacturer more receptive.
To help you get started with reaching out, MRA offers a directory of some trusted manufacturers on its site.
3. Gain education and industry knowledge
When venturing into new business territory, you can never gain enough education. As a leading nonprofit organization for residential metal roofing, MRA is a go-to resource for valuable industry knowledge.
Renee Ramey, executive director of the MRA, says one of the most popular features on the MRA site is an online forum where experts can explain and troubleshoot questions or issues related to metal roofing. The organization’s MRA University also offers online courses, and joining MRA connects members with networking opportunities and fields leads from all over the country.
The Metal Construction Association’s website is another great resource. Head to www.metalconstruction.org/Tech-Resources for a “Metal Roofing Installation Manual” along with a helpful quiz.
4. Market your business and grow
Once you feel you have all the industry knowledge, relationships and product information you need to get started, it’s time to start marketing your business.
Miller says it’s important to develop a strong web presence for your metal roofing division, as a solid website will drive traffic to your business and get it on consumers’ radar. He also suggests putting together a mailing to past customers to let them know you are now offering metal roofing.
For those starting out in the business, Mathiesen cautions against getting too big, too fast. He says rather than trying to take on every type of construction to be a jack-of-all-trades, business owners should find the thing they’re good at and stick to it.
Businesses that can focus on metal roofing have the chance to carve out a niche and grow it at their own pace. Those willing to take the leap will find the payoff is well worth it.
“Join a trade association, stay up to speed on the latest industry trends, and build your network and reputation,” Ramey says. “The opportunity is yours for the taking.”
For more information on metal roofing business resources, visit www.metalroofing.com.