Does Selling Roofs Pay Better Than Being a Cat IA?


A viewer from YouTube named Julius Jones writes:

"Selling roofs pays way more than adjusting."

Thanks for watching, Julius.

Let's compare the jobs.

(Before we get started - a little disclaimer here: IA's and roof salespeople get paid in more than one way. I sold roofs for a brief time and have chatted with hundreds of roofers about this and so this is my understanding of how it works - I recognize that there are exceptions and I invite you to share them in the comments!)

Let's compare the actual work you have to do for each job.

cat property IA

  1. Get assigned a claim

  2. Call the insured to set the appointment

  3. Do the inspection

  4. Write the estimate (or not - but still get paid if there's no damage)

  5. Settle up with the insured

  6. Get paid on the next paycheck - anywhere from $200 to several thousand depending on the claim.

All in probably about 1.5 to maybe 3 or 4 hours worth of work.

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Roof Salesperson

  1. Get leads. This can be done in a number of ways, but the main way for a roofer working a hail storm is to put on his walking shoes and start canvassing. You'll be giving the same schpeil that the last 5 canvassers gave. You're going to see a lot of doors closed in your face if you were the FIRST canvasser in the neighborhood.

  2. Convert as high a percentage as possible of those door knocks into an adjuster meeting. 5 out of a hundred. 10 out of a hundred. 30 or 40 out of a hundred, maybe for a superstar?

  3. Meet with the adjuster and, whether there is damage or not, try to convince the adjuster that the roof needs to be replaced. Do this either in a gentle and friendly way or in an aggressive and pushy way.

  4. If the adjuster agrees that the roof needs replacement, NOW you have to get a signed contract from the insured. So you gotta sell it!

  5. Wait for the insured to get the first check from the insurance company because they might not have the $2500 deductible sitting around (this could be a week or three).

  6. THEN wait for the check to come back from the mortgage company - which could take more weeks.

  7. if all goes well and the insured doesn't change their mind and decide to pay off some bills or go to Hawaii instead of replace their roof, you get a check in your hand that you will hand straight over to your boss. If he's cool he might cut you back a check for a third of your commission for bringing in a deposit.

  8. THEN, because the way a lot of roofing companies do this, you may be required to be the Project Manager. What does this mean? It means that you have to coordinate the construction date with the customer AND the crew AND the building supply joint. Could be weeks from now.

  9. You order supplies and make sure that the delivery date is before the install date.

  10. When the supplies are delivered, you might get another third of your commission.

  11. On the date of the install, as the project manager you have to be there first thing to make sure that the crew shows up and has everything they need. THEN you have to babysit that jobsite until it's done. What happens if they're 2 vents short? Or run out of flashing or felt or nails? You're driving to Home Depot or ABC Supply to get some more.

  12. The job goes smoothly. All the nails are picked up and nobody's kid will need a tetanus shot on this one. What's next? Give the customer a certificate of completion and instruct them to send it to their insurance company. Hopefully it doesn't sit on their dining table under a pile of other mail, purses, and bookbags until the cleaning lady comes again.

  13. Wait for the insurance company to issue the final check. You'll be making a number of gentle reminder calls to the customer that they need to pay you what's owed.

  14. If that all goes well, THEN your boss will pay you the last bit of your commission.

You might make 2 or 3 thousand bucks on that job on your commission, but you're going to WORK for it and not only that, you're going to WAIT for it. It might be two months before you get paid and it could be a lot longer than that.

So here on the one hand..

Sure, a cat IA gets paid a little bit less on the same size ROOF job, maybe, but there's only SIX steps and there's no doubt that when an IA completes that claim in a day or two, that money will be in his or her checking account on the next payday.

Even worst case scenario - If an IA averages only $200 take home per claim, he only has to close 500 claims in a year to hit $100,000. A good IA can do 6-9 claims in a day on a typical hail storm. At 6 a day, the IA will get up to 500 closed claims in about 80-90 actual days of work. A good IA can do that even in a slower year.

How many roofs does a guy have to sell to take home $100k? If you are that good then you're definitely not watching this video because you're BUSY.

And as the roof salesman, you likely also do gutters and possibly siding and windows. But what if there's damage to the inside of the house? What if the house is gone from fire or tornado?

Are you canvassing THAT neighborhood? Probably not.

If there's cat work available, it's likely that I'm there. As a salesperson, you can only go where your boss wants you to go and if he decides it's not worth it to load up and go from Dallas to Fargo, then you're not going. I'll be there though.. ..getting paid..


So Julius from YouTube, I'm certain that plenty of people who sell roofs can absolutely kill it and earn "way more" than an IA. But I'll tell you right now, most IA's get paid more than most roof salespeople.

While ya’ll are bellyaching about how all the adjusters aren't paying for starter and ridge, you might think to yourself, "maybe I could do better as an IA?"

"Hey, Matt, how can I do what you do?"

Just a thought.

Question of the day:

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Everything you need to know about getting started as an Independent Adjuster, in one 40 minute video. Check it out!


Mathew Allen

I teach new catastrophe adjusters how to get started in the business.  I also build my own websites and sites for friends (who sometimes pay me).  In addition, I film and produce personal adventure videos for hunting and fishing clients.