By Rebekkah Anderson, for Western Roofing Contractors Association.
While running a business, it can take time to get to the root of a problem. To speed up the investigation process, we’ve compiled five signs that your roofing business might need more accountability!
1. Your Overhead is Through the Roof
Pun not intended, but you can still roll your eyes if you feel the need. If you find that your bookkeeper is starting to raise squiggly eyebrows at some of the numbers you’ve been pushing out, you might have an accountability problem. You might also have an even bigger problem if you are still running all of the numbers yourself and haven’t had a chance to hire an accountant. Getting a regular accounting audit with improvement recommendations can help you know where your overhead is getting too large.
The roofing industry has pretty great information about profit margins, vertical returns, and industry growth metrics to benchmark your business against. Don’t let it all come out in the tax season. You could find there are many missing receipts, mis-documented paperwork, or adjusted estimates that didn’t get turned in correctly to be invoiced out to customers.
Last year, I heard a roofing contractor say their team had to squeeze to make payroll because they had lots of customers, but $1.5 million in accounts receivable heading into the Christmas season! A good accountant pays for him or herself! Use them to find where your business procedures need more accountability.
2. You Keep Losing Good People
This is especially true for those of you who are trying to grow. You see someone with potential, they start to shine, and as they hit their prime, they leave or burn out. This could be because the rest of your team is de-motivating them to succeed with lack of accountability.
If you team doesn’t have accountability metrics to see who is performing well and who is not, it’s hard to reward those who are doing it right. If you don’t have a great incentivization structures built in place for your new and old staff, you will see your good people slowly leave as they realize their work isn’t valued.
Those that do stay, realize they don’t have to work as hard because no one else is giving it their all. This leaves you with the sub-par team and higher overhead. Don’t wait till you lose your best crew members to keep people accountable.
3. Your Team Appears Unmotivated
This might come through as having no sense of urgency. Your team doesn’t really understand why it’s so important to the homeowner to show up on time or to leave early. You keep getting requests for personal days off, and it’s like pulling teeth to get people to show up for make-up days! This doesn’t come as a surprise to many roofing contractors today. You might be blaming it on the new generation’s work ethic, but your team is disengaging.
Keeping your team accountable to show up, have great service, and come through for the customer means setting performance metrics in place for each team member and individual. Have clear expectations and clear ground level requirements. One business owner I know created tiers of excellence rewarded by a 25 cent hourly bonus for each tier of excellence. The first tier started with just showing up to work on time and in a clean uniform.
Whatever is your biggest struggle and most important to your roofing business’ future should be in your first tier incentive before being eligible for further incentives. Keeping your team engaged through accountability means your business will be more profitable. Gallup reports 22% higher profitability and 21% productivity for workers who were engaged in the workplace.
4. Customer Complaints & Negative Reviews Take Up More Than 1 Hour a Month
If you’re handling more than an hour a month of negative feedback from your customers, managers, project leads, digital reviews, (or community even), you have an accountability problem.
Your team should be responsible to represent themselves and your roofing business well wherever they go. If you wear the company logo, you wear the company values. This accountability needs to happen at all levels of the company internally and externally.
Many times, this is an area roofing contractors don’t equate with an accountability problem, but your customers will tell you otherwise if you listen! They know pretty specifically what it was that made them upset with your business if you take the time to ask. Did I mention that if you solve this one you will gain about a 90% level of trust within your local area? With 88% of customers trusting online reviews almost as much as a personal referral, you can’t afford to lack accountability.
5. You Have a Low Lead to Customer Conversion Rate
This is absolutely an accountability problem. No matter how many times your sales team tells you the marketing team didn’t give them quality leads, or your just aren’t getting enough leads period, you have accountability as an issue. It could be where you’re spending your marketing budget, it could be a sales person refusing to ask for the sale, or it honestly even be how your front office person answered the phone today!
A low conversion rate means your customers are going with someone else or refusing to buy, AFTER they became a business lead. You must track all parts of your customer’s life cycle and measure it against benchmarks in order to know where the accountability problem lies.
A low lead to conversion rate is probably the hardest problem to overcome as a roofing business (because there are so many moving pieces involved), but the most financially rewarding problem to fight. Did you know that in the construction industry the average sales conversion rate is 22%? I was actually a bit shocked by this one!
Creating strong accountability systems within your roofing business will save you from mistakes, give your more time, limit frustrations, and keep your best team members for the long haul.
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