The forecast for roofing contractors is at an all-time high.
By Michelle Mittelman, AccuLynx.
2017 was a good year: the roofing and exterior contracting industries have seen steady growth, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of roofers is projected to grow 11% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Most of the demand for roofers will stem from roof replacement needs and job turnover.”
With over 50,000 companies in the US providing installation, roofing, siding and sheet metal work, Brandon Gaille Marketing Research values the industry at $31.4 billion with the demand for residential roofing expected to rise to $10.4 billion by 2020.
The forecast for roofing contractors is at an all-time high. The jobs and the money are out there, and only increasing. The question is, what can you do to put your business at the front of this continuously growing market?
Provide Better Customer Service
Some of the biggest complaints registered by Brandon Gaille center around the inability to contact the company (25%) and poor customer service (11%).
Helping Customers Find You
First and foremost, you want to ensure that homeowners searching for your services find YOU, and not your competition.
- Is your website updated, mobile-friendly and easy to read? Does it detail the services you offer?
- Are you listed on Home Repair or Service Review Sites, such as Angie’s List, Home Advisor or Yelp?
- And, most importantly – is your contact information; phone number, email, the name of a person, readily available?
Homeowners want to be reassured that the company they choose to work with is available, knowledgeable and trustworthy. If a potential customer can’t reach you, that’s business you automatically lose, right off the bat, without even getting to take a swing. Make sure that your staff is responding to phone calls and emails in a timely manner, and you’ll see a dramatic increase in the number of digital leads.
Customer Service is Key
There really is no excuse for poor customer service. Your sales staff are likely to be the first person from your company that a homeowner will meet, whether from canvassing door to door after a storm, or during an inspection.
Is your sales staff friendly? Do they know how to explain damages, insurance issues and other related costs and answer questions to a homeowner in a way they can understand?
Using a CRM or other business management software can help your staff keep track of their leads, tasks, appointments and other necessary communication with potential and current customers, so no one falls through the cracks.
At the end of a job, happy customers are more likely to leave positive reviews on Service Websites that can generate more business – 7 of out 10 customers will leave a review if they are asked to [source], so don’t be afraid to approach satisfied customers for recommendations.
Use Software to Your Advantage:
With technology constantly changing, there are many different applications and benefits to using roofing contractor software to help run your business. Gone are the days when a few shared Excel spreadsheets were all you needed – CRM software in particular can be a great way for roofers to manage their entire business from a single platform, instead of sharing across several servers and file folders. Having a centralized location for your leads, customer information, job paperwork and everything else can save you thousands in printing, paper and storage costs, along with increasing department communications.
For a growing roofing business, this can be both challenging and frustrating – more than likely, there is no magic bullet roofing software that will do everything you want, exactly how you want it. The temptation to invest in DIY roofing software may seem like the best solution, but that can be costlier and time consuming than you expect. If you don’t have the resources to dedicate to an individualized solution, considering researching several job management software or CRM platforms to find which application is the best fit for your business.
Enabling Tools that Don’t Require Additional Subscriptions
Finding tools and integrations for low or no cost that work for your business can increase your production, improve communications and save you time as you complete projects.
Aerial Roofing Measurements – Not many companies offer free roofing measurement reports, but some integrations don’t require that you have a subscription account to order. Measurements that integrate directly into your Estimates and Contracts can save your sales teams time in the field during high production.
Photo Apps – Using a free Photo App is another way to save time and money. Using a photo application that is already integrated with your CRM when annotating, sharing and archiving site photos along with the rest of your documentation, allows you to immediately be able to reference exactly where an inspector found damage, share photos with the homeowner or insurance company, and provide before and after documentation for future reference.
Staying on Top of Material & Labor Costs
Delay or failure to start or finish a job on time is another of the largest registered complaint categories against roofers.
Know Your Costs
Having a firm financial tracking system in place is one way that roofing businesses can ensure that they are not overextending their capital on any given project. CRM’s that provide accounting integrations, and job costs dashboards are an easy way for business owners and general managers to keep tabs on where their money is at any given time, on any project.
Did you know AccuLynx integrates directly with QuickBooks? Learn More >
Order Materials Wisely
Ordering your materials through a trusted supplier is key, but also making sure that you order materials correctly can save your business both time and money.
When you are trying to get an estimate or order put together quickly, it can be tempting to use the blanket numbers we all know, like 10% waste for a gable roof, or 15% for a hip one. Instead, many roofers have discovered that looking at waste from an individual roof component view versus an overall one can result in a more accurate takeoff, more competitive prices, and less overage/short materials at the end of the job.
Additionally, having a foreman or an experienced representative onsite to ensure that installation is going according to your specifications and materials are not going to waste can be a critical part of saving you money. Make sure you provide your crews with explicit instructions, in their language – crews that are in a hurry or are lazy don’t always take the time to measure or install to your business’ specifications, which can result in delays and wasted materials. .
Knowing Your Sales Numbers
Having the ability to see real-time job profitability, view order costs and processed invoices in a comprehensive way allows your general managers to help teams to stay on task, and know where a project stands at any given moment without having to confer or make requests from the office staff.
Making your sales teams aware of these numbers and setting goals for them can also help increase your profits -Setting up leader dashboards, or providing other incentives to high production salesmen are other ways to bolster your business – and helps you avoid having to chase down reports when you need them.
AccuLynx is the most powerful tool for your roofing business. Simple to use software, industry-leading tools and the best customer support — AccuLynx makes it easy to grow faster than your competition. Learn more at www.acculynx.com.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared on the AccuLynx blog and can be viewed here.
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