Business Development

How to step up from one man doing all to a team to see the growth in residential exterior business?

Karan D Founder Freshlook roof and exteriors

Last updated on February 10th, 2019

1st year one guy knocks door and get sale, do the job, collect payment. 2nd year same. 3rd year same. He needs help.

Tom Kearney Building Profit, Inc., Pres.

February 10th, 2019

Your question is basically a mathematical one. As an example, if it takes you 1 day to sell one roofing job that takes you 13 days of labor to complete where you make $5,000 profit. At most, you can complete 26 jobs in a year making you $130,000. If however, you only sold the job and hired out the labor, you will now only make $1,000 per job. Your income for 26 jobs (or 26 days of work) is reduced to $26,000. However, you gained an additional 338 days (13 days of free time * 26 jobs) to sign more jobs. That potential is an additional $338,000 (338 days to sign more jobs * $1,000 profit each). Combined, the 26 original jobs plus the added 338 jobs = $364,000 income for the year. To complete 364 jobs where each takes 13 days for one man to complete, you will need to hire 13 roofers. Your skill resides NOT in doing the job (roofing), but in making sales. In the example above, you can either make $5,000 in 14 days (averages $357 per day), or make $1,000 per day selling/collecting/managing crews. You must think of your company, NOT as a roofing company, but instead as a ‘marketing company’ as it relates to roofing. Your concentration moves from shingle installation to that of assuring your can acquire x number of leads to sell that many jobs. If your closing ratio is 3:1 (look at 3 jobs, sign 1), then you need 1,092 roofing leads to look at in a year (364 jobs needed * 3:1 closing ratio). Your focus must be different to acquire your desired growth.

Kanwal Fatima Entreprenuer & Startup Consultant

February 11th, 2019

Karan, as you indicate you're skilled in your craft. You can start by hiring one or two guys and can train them. This will reduce your workload and allow you to spend time on business growth. You can continue with this cycle and add more people in your team that will grow your sales and business.

Merton Futon Cofounder & CTO

February 17th, 2019

The replies here citing detailed numbers are an excellent primer for anyone learning how to break down their business into the fundamentals and answer questions of how well they're doing and what to do next. The problem with these replies is they're not helping with the detail i.e. how to hire good people, how to best turn a job (albeit self-employed) into a business (employing others too). I think that's what the questioneris asking about.

David Dines Cleantech Open Mentor, Investor and looking for Cofounders

February 19th, 2019

If I may chime in. I manage a bunch of multifamily houses and I am constantly doing the work or hiring and managing contractors. You need to hire a team if you want to scale - otherwise you will be constrained by the number of hours in the year you can work. You are probably the best sales person for your company and you should keep doing it and hire people who you can do the work unsupervised by you. The biggest issue you will face as you grow your team is that you will take time away from producing revenue and may decline at first.


Plus you will need to hire the right people. I am not sure how it is in Canada, but in Massachusetts, it is hard finding help that is able and willing to do the work to your specs, and show up. Plus you may have to invest in more gear for them.


It is difficult to grow a business, good luck.


Karan D Founder Freshlook roof and exteriors

February 10th, 2019

Hi Tom, Thank you so much for the reply.

My work day starts with door knocking in residential area for cleaning the exterior of the house and painting. My closing rate is very good. I know how to work fast and safe with excellent quality outcome and linking. My clients are always happy.

I am at a position where I need someone to join the company and helps it to grow in the success direction meaning hiring and training right guys.

Where and how to find this person?

Karan D Founder Freshlook roof and exteriors

February 11th, 2019

Hi Kanwal, Thanks for the advice.

i am working on posting the job offer online now. Best websites recommendation for hiring?

Thomas Fraser Entrepreneur

February 17th, 2019

Hey Karen, there are a few concepts to consider with your business.


#1 If you sell a service that costs $1000 and takes 10 hours of labor, you make $100 per hour. What happens if you break that down into tasks, like monkey A picks up the board, monkey B cuts the board, monkey C nails the board? At $10 an hour your manpower runs you about $50 an hour, and you finish in 3 hours. Now you make $283 per hour


#2 If Monkey C is only marginally stupid, you upgrade them from monkey to idiot who makes $15 an hour. Now it takes them 5 hours to do the job, but you can go back to selling. If you work 10 hours, and close 80% that's 8 $1,000 sales. Pay out your $300 in labor, and you've made $770 an hour.


That is the very real way that you have to look at your business.


Next, and the biggest help anyone will ever give you. If your closing rate is very good, and you're not walking away with the deed to their house, their first born child, you probably need to raise your prices. Unless you have something super unique and you have proprietary licensing with no competition... You want a 40-50% close rate. Doing 10 $1000 jobs is a lot more work than 2 $5,000 jobs. Driving prices up gives you better equipment, better profits, better training, and way less headaches because there's less customers.

Thomas Fraser Entrepreneur

February 17th, 2019

@merton I answered the question as a broad point because I thought it was obvious. So here's the focused answer you requested. You need to systematize the company and delegate assignments to roles. Each role is an employee and they follow standard operating procedure from the company's system.


There's 3 types of command structure in any organization. Central command, command and control, or individual command. Individual command is literally using subcontractors hired for specified results. Central command is how a family unit works. Kids come to mom or dad for permission, leaving the company to adopt those control problems. But Dad said I could! Command and control is literally an adaptation of military structure. General delegates, captains disseminate, lieutenants control, supervisors crack whips, and boots pound the pavement.


Until you've adopted a command structure, you're a solo operation. In order to delegate tasks, those tasks need to be identified and systematized. That means there has to be a standard, a policy, a procedure, risk assessment, etc.


#1 OSHA injury is falls from ladders. Does the company require a harness? At what height? How should it be tied off? Who provides the equipment? How frequently is the equipment inspected? Who inspects that equipment? Who's certifying that these inspections are completed?