Construction Marketing

Starting Out on Storm vs. Retail Roofing

Recently started your roofing business and wondering which model to begin with? You are not alone! Knowing which model to settle on, between Storm vs. Retail Roofing, as a new business owner…

Estimated Read Time:  7 minutes


storm vs retail roofing inspection

Recently started your roofing business and wondering which model to begin with? You are not alone! Knowing which model to settle on, between Storm vs. Retail Roofing, as a new business owner is the first step in the right direction to success. It helps you hone the required skills set for your business, identify your target customers, and find your unique edge in the face of the competition.

On a broad scale, two prominent business models exist in the roofing industry today. On one side of the coin, we have the Storm model, and on the flip side, the Retail model. What are the peculiarities of each one? And which of these should you be starting out with? 

We will look at each of these questions in detail to give you sufficient information to decide which model is best for your business and its goals. Check out Randy Brothers and the Roofing Academy for more information on Storm vs. Retail roofing.

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What is the Storm Roofing Model?

Money signs go off when many roofers think about ‘storm roofing’ because of the high amount of demand associated with weather damage. However, storm-damage roofing is more than that. It is also known as Insurance roofing and typically involves working with insurance companies to cover unexpected damages by a strong wind or storm.

Some other notable aspects of this model include: 

  • Door Knocking: Here, you either identify the need following a storm or create one where necessary. For instance, after a storm, while most customers immediately know they need to get a new roof or to replace their shingles, some might need guidance through the insurance process to fix the damage.
  • Unpredictability: As expected, the demand for insurance roofing is typically seasonal and unpredictable. 
  • Limitedness: The target customers are also specific and limited, and the skills required in sales and marketing are distinct from the traditional approach.
storm vs. retail roofing damage

Despite all the odds, starting your company to fulfill the demand created by a big hail storm is possible. Usually, you’ll need to hire lots of employees first and do many door-to-door visits to fish for potential customers. 

But huge storms only come once in a while. So what happens when that season is over?🤷🏻‍♂️ This unpredictability is a significant speed bump your storm roofing business must navigate, and this brings us to the other type of business model — Retail Roofing.

What is Retail Roofing?

Retail roofing includes businesses built to meet diverse roofing needs. Also, this is the most prevalent in commercial settings like towns and cities. Here, the homeowners decide to fix or replace their roofs due to an active leak or damage they identified. Some of the roofing needs retail roofers satisfy include:

  • Repairing leaking roofs 
  • Fixing misplaced roofing shingles 
  • Replacing old or bad roofs
  • Installing specialized roofs, ex. solar roofs
Men installing new solar panels on the roof of a house

Just like storm roofers face challenges associated with seasonality, retail roofers face most of the difficulties associated with traditional businesses. These challenges include generating leads, getting customers, hiring the best installers, standing out among the competition, growth, etc.

Should I Start with Storm vs. Retail Roofing?

Most experts recommend that you start with retail roofing. Or at least spend as much time as possible increasing your company’s capacity in this aspect first. Some of the reasons for this include: 

  • Retail roofing is more predictable.
  • It’s less risky and more sustainable.
  • With intentionality, you can grow slowly and steadily.📈
  • You can control your input while still observing the market. 
  • You can also slowly increase your income streams by exploring other market opportunities.

Can I Combine both Storm and Retail Roofing?

A common question a lot of roofers ask is if it’s possible to do both simultaneously. Especially because market demand sometimes overlaps, there may be a prevailing need for a retail roofer in a storm market. Or a storm roofer in a market that is predominantly retail.

So what do you do in these scenarios? If you are in a market with a high demand for storm damage repair, for instance, you must be prepared to capitalize on this. But you shouldn’t just stop here; you must deliberately build your brand afterward. You can do this by:

  • Leveraging on the customer base you have built in the storm market,
  • Being very intentional about growth and branding
  • Creating a long-term sustainable business model; one that covers the times when there are no storms, and so on.
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It is best to build your business around retail roofing in the beginning and, with time, take hold of storm/insurance roofing. If a storm shows up and damages a ton of roofs, your company should be able to take advantage of that opportunity. And when there are no weather occurrences, you should be able to handle other roofing needs of your target customers.

Six Key Tips For Maximizing your Roofing Business

Now that we’ve established the features of these different models of roofing businesses, how can you maximize them as a new or developing business owner?

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket: 

Relying heavily on storms without alternative plans can pose challenges for your business in the long run. It could cause you to close down even quicker than you opened up due to downscaling, laying off employees, etc. 

Equip yourself to take advantage of the market when the demand changes: 

The goal should be that as your business grows, it can diversify its income streams by meeting other needs and taking advantage of the storm market when necessary.

Have a clear vision: 

Whether you have a retail or storm business model, having a big cause that people want to be a part of would make them strive to be a part of your vision. Being a good leader also involves continuously challenging yourself and working on the weak points in yourself and your business.

Recruit Like-minded people:

By like-minded, we mean those with the same values and ideas you want to accomplish. Having such employees would help you meet your goals a lot faster. Another tip is to recruit people who are better than you in specific aspects that can help pull your company up.

team of storm vs. retail roofing workers on roof

Build your business to thrive without you: 

This is a significant speed bump for many CEOs because, most times, vision and experience might make the owner highly effective in aspects like sales and marketing. Still, if you want to build something lasting, your business must be able to do pretty well without you. To achieve this, try to remove yourself from business operations little by little.

Develop your team, don’t just manage them

This is perhaps the most important because, as a CEO, you must know early on that your business is only as viable as your team is, not you. After intentionally excluding yourself from handling specific company operations, train your employees to fill this gap. 

They might not be as efficient as you at first, but if you give them time, they might unravel their potential in an invaluable way to your company.


Experts recommend retail as the best starting point for new roofing businesses. However, like every other business, roofing is influenced by the law of supply and demand. If there’s a ton of demand on one side, you should be able to match that with the supply of your services, at least in the long run.

Ask yourself, ” Would I rather fulfill a short-term demand or build towards sustaining my company in the long run?” The answer lies in the market around you!

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