Making More with Less; Increasing Productivity

The economy we all face today is full of shortages. Materials, labor, etc. It seems the only thing increasing is costs!

residential roofingHow is a roofing company supposed to make a living with these issues and uncertainties? Maybe by increasing another option – productivity.

Productivity is defined by how much is accomplished during a given time. The more tasks completed, the more productive you or your company are.  The more productive, the more profitable.

Ways to Increase Productivity

Regardless of how hard you work, there are only 24 hours in a day. Assuming you have any type of life or at least choose to sleep well, you are probably going to work no more than 12 of those hours. Making the most of that time is the key to increasing your productivity.

Software. Take advantage of software options to help reduce the amount of time you spend on various tasks. For example, if you aren’t using estimating software, you could be wasting hundreds of hours annually on mental mathematics. 

Another type of software you shouldn’t be without is a good CRM (customer relationship management). You can use this to not only track your customer base, but to trigger you for sending follow up sales email or even have them pre-written and ready to go. Though nothing beats the personal touch of a visit or phone call, by reducing that time to a fraction using automation, you can significantly increase your productivity.

Technology. Take advantage of modern technology to reduce the number of man-hours necessary to complete a task. If it takes 7 men 10 hours to lay and weld an area of roof, but a machine uses 1 man in 5 hours, that is a machine worth investing in.

Other examples include the use of drones and thermal imaging for roof inspections.  Not only safer for you and your employees, these technologies also look cool to your customer and at worse identifies those areas that requires a deeper hands-on inspection.

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    Better Planning. Have a big job coming up? First, congratulations! Second, take the time to truly plan out the best place for supplies in order to reduce wasted time back and forth. Pre-planning a job can eliminate tens to hundreds of wasted man-hours by simply having things where they need to be. This includes non-material items like water that your team will need to be productive.

    Another example of better planning is having handout materials available to your team.  If your team is on a roof and can see other buildings clearly in need of repair or replacement, having handout materials available for them to stop in and offer can be the key to getting that next project scheduled without you having to do a big marketing campaign that costs a lot of money. Offering a monetary bonus to your installers in the event of a new project can’t hurt either!

    Interns. In some areas of the country, local schools offer interns or job-placement programs for their seniors looking to move into a job after graduation. This is a great opportunity to get more hands on your projects without investing in additional employees.  It is also a truly irreplaceable way to assess skills if you may need additional help in the future.

    Marketing. Many of you still do cold-call marketing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it and, in the right hands, it is an effective way to drum up new business.  However, coupling that with a direct mail campaign, and using your CRM to generate email follow up automatically will dramatically increase the probability of a sale, without significantly increasing the time you spend.

    For more ideas, reach out to the experts at Top Roof Marketing. They have worked with 300+ commercial roofing contractors and offer package options that will make your efforts more productive. Call today at 800-795-2187.

    The Biggest Marketing Concerns for Commercial Roofers

    Attracting positive attention to your company is the purpose of marketing. No matter your industry, you started your business to make money. If people aren’t seeing you and your company, money won’t come in.

    residential roofingThere is no shortage of different marketing approaches and that leaves the door open to opportunities that will work for you. Determining which approaches will work best for you and your company to reach your goals is easier when you call on professionals.

    Marketing is a big world, and it is normal to have concerns regarding the marketing strategy your company should adopt. Marketing isn’t new for the commercial roofing industry but collaborating with professionals that are focused on your industry can certainly help you gain the attention you’ve been needing.

    Marketing evolves, just like everything else. This evolution changes what works and what doesn’t. We have gathered the top 5 concerns your company should address in your marketing strategy.

    Branding

    There is and always will be a lot of competition in the world of commercial roofing. Knowing how to set yourself apart and above your competitors is critical to ensuring you get the customers you need to succeed and keep your business in operation.

    If someone approached you and asked, “What makes your business different?,” would you know how to answer? If you are struggling to answer this question, then it is time you learn more about branding. Appropriately branding your business is necessary if you’re looking for an effective marketing approach.

    Not only do you need to make yourself stand out, but you need to do so consistently. Having a repetitive theme may seem like overkill, but it is one of the best proven marketing methods there is. When someone sees your logo, business design or even color combination, you want them to immediately associate that with you.

    Social Media

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      There is no shortage of social media platforms, and you should absolutely be utilizing them for your marketing approach. People are already on social media researching their corporate options; you simply must get yourself in front of them. More than 75% of consumers will turn to social media when they are considering hiring a company. This means they are searching for reputable companies on social media. That’s right, not Google, but on social media outlets.

      While Google rankings will always be imperative to your marketing, social media outlets are as also important. If your company does not have a strong social media presence, you are passing along your potential customers to your competition.

      Social media outlets can certainly be intimidating if you aren’t in tune with them. Fortunately, you aren’t left alone to figure it all out. Professional marketing companies will not only give you the tips and tricks you need to be successful, but many will take over your social media accounts for you, should you prefer.

      No matter who is doing the posting, the first step with social media marketing is determining which platforms make sense for your company. You don’t need to be active on every one of them to be successful but having a presence on one or two is crucial. Facebook is recommended for all businesses to have an active presence. It is the main social media source consumers will turn to when looking to learn about a company and their reputation.

      For business-to-business marketing for your commercial roofing services, LinkedIn is likely a wise platform to turn to as well. TikTok and Instagram are platforms more geared for young, trendy consumers and may not bring you the commercial roofing leads you are looking for. This is where knowing your target demographic is a necessity. With a targeted audience, it is easier to put out the right content they will appreciate and be caught by.

      Engaging content is an absolute must. Keeping your messages clear with correct grammar and sharp, clean pictures should be your goal.

      One of the most significant pieces of social media marketing is engaging. Stay active and keep your presence consistent. Posting once a month is simply not enough. You will not be seen on the consistent basis that is necessary for success. Posting at least once a week is recommended and it doesn’t hurt to post even more often. Be sure to use varying graphics, videos, polls and the like to get and keep your follower’s attention. Now more than ever, people get bored. Keep it interesting!

      Marketplace Expectations 

      There is no avoiding the fact that the pandemic changed the way people approach hiring companies. People are online more than ever, and your competition is stepping up their game. Having a social media presence used to be an option, but to be successful in today’s society, it is a necessity. Even if someone gives you a great review by word of mouth, a consumer will frequently go to Facebook to find your page and see what kind of engagement you have. If you lack a presence or have unfavorable reviews, you will likely end up with a lost customer.

      Let your followers know about you. Your website, social media platforms, and any other marketing outlets should highlight your online presence. While it may seem a bit redundant, it is beneficial.

      Do you use energy efficient products? Post about it, add it to your website, to your mailers, you name it. Put your efforts out there, make them known so that you can in turn, become known. Are you a big supporter of non-profits? Share that. Giving back to your community leaves a positive impression and your consumers love to see your efforts. Let them know what you are doing.

      Where to Spend Your Marketing Dollars

      If you are here and looking into the best marketing approaches, it is likely you don’t have an unlimited marketing budget. Let’s be honest, who does? Knowing where to allocate your money to see the greatest return on your investment is huge. Thankfully, you are not left to decide this alone.

      The first step is to determine your goal. Are you looking to gain a handful of customers and to do it fast? Or are you looking for long-term growth you can count on? Both? Whatever the case, determining your goal(s) is crucial. While the same marketing approach may not work for different goals, knowing the goals is the first key step.

      Once you have determined your goals, you can then work to begin to understand your target customer(s). Direct mail can be all it takes for some areas, while it might not work at all for others. If you do not know who you are aiming to target, no approach will be successful and investing in marketing will just seem like constant failures.

      Cue professional marketing companies. Finding a marketing company that truly understands and gets your industry is the best route to go. They will help you determine which marketing approach will be best, regardless of the goals you are working toward. Usually, to meet professional goals in a competitive market, you need to hire professionals.

      Time

      There is never enough time in the day, week or year. People are busy, and that includes you. While you are busy operating your business, taking care of customers and employees, taking care of your family, it can be hard to make the time for marketing. But marketing is often the key to any successful business.

      So how do you do it all? Well, thankfully you do not have to. Here’s where Choice Roof Contractor Group can jump in and help.

      We are backed by a team of marketing experts focused specifically on the commercial roofing industry. We have found the best ways to position your company and we are here to help you get yours seen. We tailor our marketing solutions to meet your needs and goals while staying within your budget. We offer website and social media management strategies as well as custom designed print pieces that can be used as examples to follow. Direct mail pieces like flyers and brochures still work to engage customers too. We can assist with integrating all these marketing tools seamlessly to ensure they work for you and your company.

      When you are ready, we are more than happy to sit down with you and offer our best solutions.

      Our goal is to be your marketing partner for years to come. We work to build relationships with our customers and love seeing you and your company thrive. With this goal, it has helped us help our clients grow in ways many companies can’t compete with.

      Have questions? Don’t hesitate to call us today at 800-670-5583 and learn exactly what we are about and how we can help you and your company get to the level you want.

      Should You Switch to Commercial Roofing?

      As the owner of a roofing company, you get to decide what roofs you choose to work on.  One of the questions we get frequently is “should I switch to commercial roofing?”.  Though this is a personal decision, there are many benefits to consider with commercial roofing, as well as a couple of drawbacks. 

      First and foremost, perhaps we should discuss what are the main differences between the two. 

      Commercial vs. Residential Roofing

      residential roofingIn the most basic definition, a “commercial” roof is one that sits over a business, rather than a personal home or multi-tenant building.  For most, that would include industrial buildings, strip malls, hospitals and the like.

      Residential homes tend to have steeper slopes, and are primarily shingle, tile or metal.   In this case, your clients are families, with little or no knowledge of roofing or how business truly works.  Residential roofs tend to be smaller than commercial roofs and can be very labor-intensive.  On the positive, there are a lot of them.

      Commercial buildings are frequently flat roofs, and may involve single-ply membranes, coatings,  EPDM, gravel, metal and other options, including the same shingles and tile you see in residential roofing.  Your clients are business owners or property managers.  Though they also may have little knowledge of roofing, they do understand business.  That can be a real plus when a material shortage or weather issue causes delays.  They are generally significantly larger than residential roofs and the work involved can be far less labor-intensive. Also, the profit margins are better in most cases. However, there are fewer commercial buildings than homes in the U.S.

      Benefits of Commercial Roofing

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        Now that we’ve clarified the two different types of roofing, let’s look at the benefits of commercial roofing compared to residential roofing.

        Income.  Researching Google shows a nationwide average cost to replace a shingle roof on a residential home of about $4.50 per square foot.  Researching the same concept, single-ply roofing comes up with an overall average around $6.00 per square foot.  Now, consider the average home of about 2,000 square foot vs. a commercial building of 20,000 square foot and you can see the huge difference ($9,000 vs. $120,000).

        Labor.  Installing shingles on a steep, residential slope is very labor intensive.  Each shingle (even 3-tab) must be individually nailed into place, taking its toll on your team’s back, knees and other joints.  Conversely, coatings are simply sprayed or rolled on.  Membranes are rolled out in sheets, then connected.  There are even machines that can help with the process.  This reduces both your labor costs, your time and the physical demands on the body.

        Time.  In this case, we are talking about your time.  Due to the significantly higher profit margins involved in commercial roofing, most commercial contractors actually work less and do far fewer jobs than residential roofers.  This allows for more personal time.  Time you can spend fishing, with the family, traveling or even growing your business more, if you prefer.

        Competition.  Unfortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not differentiate between residential and commercial roofing companies.  However, anecdotal data points from our commercial roofing contractor friends and associates report a substantially lower level of competition for jobs. 

        Drawbacks of Commercial Roofing

        commercial roofingThere are a few drawbacks when considering switching to commercial roofing.

        Cost.  There is specialized equipment to purchase, materials are more expensive, and you will usually need to invest more in marketing to get started.  However, you may consider used equipment (think eBay) or rentals if they are available in your area.  You may even be able to borrow some items from a commercial colleague (our commercial roofing network shares equipment among members all the time).  Material costs are offset by increased profits and marketing can be set up in stages to help reduce the impact on your company’s bottom line.

        Education.  There is no doubt you will need some training and education.  Though a roof is a roof, a roofing system is not the same thing.  To apply coatings & SPF or install membranes properly requires training, experience and knowledge.  The place to get this education is in classes and hands-on workshops, not on the top of your new client’s roof. 

        For additional information on commercial roof systems training, or to learn more about transitioning from residential to commercial roofing, talk to the experts at Choice Roof Contractor’s Group by calling 800-670-5583. 

        Top 5 OSHA Violations by Roofing Companies

        We cannot completely resolve all OSHA violations simply because accidents can and will always happen. If we work hard, we can all reduce violations drastically. In the long term, this will help protect our men and women from getting injured, becoming disabled or even dying on our watch. Additionally, it will save your company money.

        osha fine violationThese are the top 5 OSHA violations to consider when trying to reduce your number of violations and minimize how much of your time is lost due to a bad situation.

        1. Fall Protection
        2. Respirator Protection
        3. Ladders
        4. Scaffolding
        5. Hazard Communications

        Fall Protection

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          For the 11th year in a row, fall protection is the number one violation for roofing companies. There were a staggering 5,295 violations reported in 2021.

          This is an easy fix. The violations are a combination of inadequate equipment from the business owner and failure to use it properly by the employee. It is your responsibility, as an employer, to provide your employees with the equipment they need as well as mandating they use it properly and providing any necessary training. 

          Maintaining a consistent plan of action against failure to follow protocol with fall protection equipment will help reduce the risk of your company being cited for this violation.  Additionally, regularly inspecting the equipment on a regular basis, and replacing equipment that is no longer working at its best, will keep you in OSHA’s good graces.

          Respirator Protection

          In second place with a disheartening 2,527 violations is respirator protection. What does this mean? Simply using a face mask that is appropriate for the job at hand. Using incorrect masks or no mask at all allows the chemicals we work with to potentially cause serious and sometimes fatal results.

          Ladders

          Following the basic OSHA regulations on ladder length would significantly help in dropping the number of annual violations. There were 2,026 in 2021. Knowing these regulations will help you protect the men and women that keep your business up and running. Though this may be seen by some as common sense, not using the appropriate length is a problem that is easily resolved.

          Scaffolding

          As you are aware, scaffolding is as necessary as having the correct materials on the job. Yet it is the fourth highest on the list with 1,948 OSHA violations. Why? A variety of reasons such as guard rails not being the correct height, midrails not being placed at all, or exceeding the maximum capacity of the scaffolding. These violations are easy to correct but are overlooked by newcomers and old-timers alike. Yes, it is easy to cut this corner, but is it really worth the extra cost associated with violations? Most likely not.

          Hazard Communications

          In some workplaces, it is all about location, but in this instance, it is all about communication. There were 1,947 violations of communications when it came to hazards in 2021.  It’s important that containers have their necessary labels, employees are properly trained and safety data sheets (SDS) are available.

          Summarizing Things Up

          As an industry, we can greatly reduce the number of OSHA violations and related injuries.  Regular, thorough training is a good start.  The presence of appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) that is in good working order, having a strict reinforcement policy for OSHA’s rules and regulations, and keeping open lines of communication are other simple steps to follow.

          Working together as a community, we can improve our industry and help save lives. 

           

          Why Commercial Properties Choose EPDM for Flat Roofing

          Your commercial roofing prospect might already be set on getting a membrane roof. Why would they lean towards EPDM over the other options like TPO and PVC? There is much more to EPDM than you may be aware of.

          First, some science.  EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber.  Rubbers with saturated polymer backbones, such as EPDM, have much better resistance to heat, light and ozone than unsaturated rubbers. This makes it suitable for external harsh environments.  As such, EPDM can be formulated to be resistant to temperatures as high as 150° C, or 302° F for the metric challenged.  Properly formulated, EPDM can be used outdoors for many years without degradation.

          Benefits of EPDM

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            You probably aren’t going to share all the scientific information with your client, though it could impress them if you did! In this blog, we’ll focus on the benefits EPDM offers.

            Initial Investment.  EPDM is the least expensive of the most common membrane systems (PVC, TPO and EPDM) to install.  That up-front savings may be the most important thing for your client to consider.

            Part of the reason for the lower investment is based on the wider roll sizes, which means fewer rolls to purchase to cover an existing roof.  Part of it is also based on reduced labor costs, due to the presence of fewer seams; again based on the wider rolls.

            Durability.  EPDM is tough.  Properly installed and maintained, an EPDM roofing system can last for decades, depending on location.  It is important to note that maintenance is key to a good, long-lasting EPDM roof. 

            One of the drawbacks of EPDM is seam separation.  Regular inspection and ongoing maintenance of those seams is crucial to maximizing roof longevity.

            Weather Resistant.  EPDM is basically rubber.  This makes it extremely resistant to impact-damaging weather such as hail or high wind related debris.   Available up to 90 mil thick, EPDM is about as good as it gets in heavy hail areas. 

            It is also ozone resistant, with an ozone-resistant rating of ‘A’ up to 100º F.

            Maintenance & Repair.  Though we did mention the importance of maintenance previously, EPDM has a reputation for being easy to maintain.  Additionally, repairs are usually straightforward and easy to manage.

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            This helps reduce your client’s costs in the long run, making EPDM a good long-term return on investment.

            Energy Efficient.  Depending on location, traditional EPDM is well known for helping keep a building warm, by absorbing and retaining solar heat.  In warmer climates, EPDM is available in white to reflect solar heat and keep the interior cooler.

            Once that EPDM roof is finished, the materials are fully recyclable.  Not only does that prevent wasting limited resources, it also keeps our landfills clear of unnecessary debris.  Another environmental bonus!

            There are other benefits to EPDM not discussed.  However, these are the top 5 most likely to be important to your clients.

            If you’re interested in learning about TPO and PVC, visit the following blog:
            TPO or PVC – What’s the Difference?

            Remember, the ability to answer questions in detail on the various systems available not only reinforces you as an expert in their eyes, it also underscores the value you place on your client’s needs.  Contractors that consistently meet the needs of their customers are contractors that get repeat business, excellent referrals and grow their business.

            5 Reasons Ponding Water is a Problem

            As a trusted, professional roofing contractor, your clients depend on you to advise and direct them. Every bit as important as the quality of your workmanship, your thoughtful direction will make or break your relationship with these professionals.

            You may already know the primary problems they may face with their flat roof system. It is your responsibility to impart that knowledge in a clear, concise, and understandable fashion to your current or potential customer. What is the best way to do that? You can share the information on your company social media (think Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). You can share expertise via your website blog. You can have a flyer made to provide various details. There are many options. What is not an option is failing to support your commercial clients with the information they desperately need to make good financial decisions.

            In case you are newer to flat roof systems or are looking for more information about their potential issues, we are sharing the top 5 reasons ponding water on a roof is a problem.

            Why is Ponding Water a Concern?

            The very nature of a flat or low-slope roof causes ponding water problems. Without a significant slope to remove it from the roof, the water will pond in low areas. Why is this a problem? There are several reasons to consider.

            Gravity. If moisture has nowhere else to go, gravity will cause it to seek any tiny imperfection in the roofing system to move downward. This leads directly to leak development and resulting structural damage.

            Vegetation. Stagnant water is a petrie dish for the development of mold, mildew and other forms of vegetation. Many of these use a root system, which can penetrate the roofing system and cause the very defects that lead to the development of leaks. Additionally, some of this vegetation is extremely unhealthy for the people the roofing system is designed to protect.

            Pests. Standing water provides the opportunity for pests to gather. Not only is it a breeding ground for mosquitoes, it provides a gathering location for birds, rodents and other pests to find their necessary water.

            Weight. Depending on the size of the ponding area, it could be adding unanticipated weight to the roofing structure. A single gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. You can quickly see how large areas of ponding can add substantial weight to specific structural locations. Those locations may not be sufficiently reinforced to support that weight.

            Collapse. Over time, left unchecked that ponding water will lead to system failure and will eventually get into the structure. The structure will weaken and collapse. No roofing system or substructure can withstand the damage of unchecked water year after year.

            How to Address Ponding Water Issues

            There is no point in identifying a problem if you aren’t willing to offer some solutions. Here are a few ways to identify and address water ponding.

            Inspections. Scheduled inspections help identify the existence of a ponding water issue. Simply put, you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. The NRCA states water found standing on flat roofs for longer than 2 full days after a storm should be examined by a professional commercial roofing contractor.

            Maintenance. Appropriate maintenance of the flat roof system is paramount. This is how those small defects that may exist are corrected, reducing the risk of system compromise from the accumulated water.

            Repairs. Any repair should be made promptly and correctly. Though it doesn’t stop the water from ponding, it does reduce the likelihood of more extensive damage from occurring.

            Restoration. The application of a coating, spray foam or single-ply membrane improves the waterproofing of the system and helps seal any existing defects. If the ponding is due to collapsed insulation or other “low spot” in the roofing structure, it can also help fill in the area for a more even roof.

            Gutters. Gutters need to be cleaned and inspected at least twice a year. Debris build-up is another common reason water can begin to pond on a system. This is such an easy fix. There is no excuse for it ever occurring.

            Drains. The installation of drains may become necessary. Experts recommend a drain every 80 feet to allow for proper and efficient water removal.

            Replacement. If the problem is extensive or caused by issues like collapsing insulation, weakened structure or even a foundational issue, the only answer to the problem may be a full tear off and replacement to address the deficiencies.

            Remember, more than just an eyesore, ponding water is truly a hazardous condition to any flat roof system. Left unchecked, it will ultimately lead to system failure and the risk of a catastrophic loss to your client. Do them a favor, and make sure they know the risks. They will appreciate it.

            Why Are Roofers Dying?

            The roofing industry as a whole is a dangerous one.  I know we’re preaching to the choir here, but obviously some companies are simply not carrying the tune.  How do we know that not everyone is on board with safety?  A simple look at the numbers and trends will do it.

            Injuries And Deaths Are Increasing

            Looking at 2015 through 2019 shows a stark reality.  Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show the following fatalities for roofers, commercial and residential combined:

            2015 – 87 Deaths
            2016 – 115 Deaths
            2018 – 106 Deaths
            2019 – 134 Deaths

            In 2020, roofers had a work-related fatality rate more than 15-times the national average.  This makes roofing the 4th most dangerous industry in the United States according to the USBLS.  That is up from 6th place in 2015.  Remember, this is 2020 – a year many roofers had less business activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  How many would have died in a regular year?

            Injuries are not as directly tracked, so hard numbers are difficult to find.  The NSC (National Safety Council) links all construction trades, including roofing, together.  However, they also show a trend of non-fatal injuries ranging from 72,070 in 2015 to 77,560 in 2019. 

            Why Are We Dying?

            I don’t think anyone is surprised that falls are the #1 reason for fatality in our industry.  With an average more than 88%, fall fatalities are the single biggest risk a contractor faces. 

            Yet there is a plethora of safety items available to protect our teams. Harnesses, scaffolds, tie-offs, edge reminder systems and so forth.  It almost boggles the mind that there can be so many preventative options yet still have such an ongoing problem.  Clearly, there must be something beyond lack of available safety equipment behind the numbers.

            Demographics.  The average roofing fatality is in the mid-20s to mid-30s and is male.  There is a tendency among this demographic toward risk taking.  Even if the equipment is available, they may choose not to utilize it.

            Cost.  It’s no lie that safety equipment is expensive.  For an owner on a slim margin, the temptation to skip the cost or go with older equipment is ever-present.

            Convenience.  Particularly fall-prevention equipment like harnesses is inconvenient and time-consuming to team members.  Plus, it can be darned uncomfortable in hot or humid weather. 

            Lack of Knowledge.  If a young roofer is not schooled in the correct use and need for safety equipment, you can almost bet it won’t be used correctly.

            Changing The Trend

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              How can we turn the numbers around, change the trend and save our valuable people?  There are some steps every company owner or manager can take, regardless of the size of the organization.

              Safety Program.  Yes, it is an OSHA requirement; no, most companies do not do a very good job.  Your safety program should include safety equipment use, importance of that equipment and consequences for failing to use it.  Additionally, any time new technology or new equipment is being utilized, every person on the roof should be involved in learning how to use it safely.  This is a no-brainer as it meets your OSHA obligation, improves your insurance rates, and protects your most valuable inventory – the men and women on the roof.

              Equipment.  We all know equipment is expensive and you may not be in a position to purchase cutting-edge, brand-new safety equipment.  That does not mean you can’t ensure the equipment you have is in top condition.  Never send your workers out with sub-standard safety equipment.  The risk to them, and to your business, is simply not worth it.

              Safety Standards.  As a company, you should have written safety standards that all workers are required to know and comply with.  Written safety standards once again assist with your OSHA compliance requirements and can reduce your insurance rates.

              Safety Inspections.  If you aren’t on the roof at all times, your workers should know they can expect unannounced safety inspections by a senior member of the team.  These inspections should also come with known consequences should team members be found to be violating safety standards.  Those consequences need to be significant and in keeping with the risk of injury due to noncompliance.

              Model Safety.  Don’t be a “do as I say, not as I do” sort of leader.  If safety is to be taken seriously in your company, it is up to you as the leader to model it daily.  Don’t climb up on that roof without your own safety gear in place.  Make sure you are worthy of emulation.

              No one is going to change the risks associated with the roofing industry all on their own.  However, every single roofing business owner is responsible for reducing the risks within his/her own company.  If that responsibility is taken seriously, the trends will reverse automatically and more of our roofers will live to see another year.

              Benefits of Solar Panel Power for Commercial Building Owners

              Thinking of making the move to solar power?  We’re huge supporters of solar power and we applaud you. Solar power options are available for commercial, residential, and industrial roofing styles.  Not every roof is a good fit for solar; nor is every location appropriate.  It is imperative you work with a company that truly understands both the benefits and the limitations associated with solar panel power. 

              Benefits of Solar Panel Power

              Though solar power is not appropriate for everyone, for those who have the option, solar power has so many key benefits to consider. Here are just a few.

              Save Money.  This benefit is a no-brainer and probably your primary reason for considering the solar option in the first place.  By generating part, or all, of your electricity needs, you reduce or even eliminate what you spend on your local electric company each and every month…for a very, very long time.

              Control.  Solar panel power offers you control, financially, emotionally, and physically.  You have more control over rising energy costs, more control over your monthly finances and much more control should an emergency occur, and your electric grid is impacted.

              Incentives.  With the concept of net metering (where the local electric company can and does purchase excess electricity from you) and SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits), you can actually make money, in the form of cash or credits, while generating your own electricity.

              Investment.  The presence of solar panel power on a building increases its market value.  Depending on location, that increase can exceed 10% or more!  This can be a great investment.

              Environmentally friendly.  Many people are extremely concerned about the environmental impact of carbon emissions. Solar panel power offers a clean, sustainable energy source which will greatly reduce the carbon footprint of your business.

              Types of Solar Panels

              Free Guide: How to Switch to Commercial

              Commercial Roofing Book

                There are 3 different types of solar panels on today’s market.  Each is made differently, with a different look and different strength/weaknesses.  Here’s a quick overview for you to consider.

                Monocrystalline.  The oldest of the solar panel types, monocrystalline panels have solar cells made of pure silicon.  A panel consists of 40 of these square-shaped cells and is black in color.  Other pertinent information about monocrystalline solar panels:

                • Reaches up to 20% efficiency.
                • Most expensive type of panel.
                • Temperature coefficient of -0.3% C to -0.5% C.

                Polycrystalline.  An update from the monocrystalline panel, polycrystalline panels are also made of pure silicon, though it is silicon fragments that have been melted together. This is then sliced into wafers which are assembled into the panel, which is blue in color.  Other pertinent information about polycrystalline solar panels:

                • Reaches 15% to 17% efficiency.
                • Mid-range type of panel.
                • Temperature coefficient of -0.3% C to -0.5% C.

                Thin-Film.  The newest of the panel options, thin-film panels are not always made of silicon, but may be made of cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide or amorphous silicon.  The biggest difference is the panels are about 350 times thinner than the crystalline options. They may be either blue or black in color.  Other pertinent information about thin-film panes:

                • Reaches +/- 11% efficiency.
                • Most expensive panel style.
                • Temperature coefficient of -0.2%.

                Want to know more about solar panel power and your options?  Call us today at 800-670-5583 and schedule a no-obligation consultation. 

                Conklin Equinox® Breaks Temperature Barriers

                Many commercial roofers LOVE acrylic coatings.  They are easy to install, look great and usually represent a good investment for the client.  However, one of the biggest drawbacks for acrylics has historically been the limitations that ambient temperature can put on application.  If you happen to serve an area with a short summer, this limitation can reduce your market time and potential for doing business with this fine coating option.

                NO LONGER!  That’s right, our friends over at Conklin have re-formulated their popular Equinox® acrylic system to allow for a curing film development in the 36°F to 60°F range. 

                commercial rooferThis single modification has extended the sales window for countless commercial roofers across the United States.  The change has been so significant that Conklin reports between September and December 2020, sales “nearly doubled the best annual sales volume Equinox® had ever achieved in the previous 11 years in the Conklin product lineup”, according to an earlier article in Vision Magazine.

                For those who may be unfamiliar with the Equinox® product, it is an elastomeric, acrylic, monolithic roof coating in a bright white finish. 

                Equinox® is designed to waterproof a range of substrates, including metal, spray polyurethane foam, membrane roofs and Conklin’s Fabric Reinforced System.

                Applied at 1.6 gallons per 100 square feet, in the proper temperature range Equinox® has a dry time of 2-4 hours and dries to a 13.5 mils depth per coat, according to Conklin’s product spec sheet.

                Benefits of the Equinox® System

                Some of the benefits of the Equinox® system are:

                • Dark base coat for better heat absorption and improved moisture evaporation, even at lower temperatures.
                • Highly reflective white top-coat provides for 85% solar reflectivity, with resulting cooling cost savings.
                • Due to a high solids content, Equinox® requires about 20% less product per application than traditional acrylics.
                • The fully-cured membrane is extremely flexible and durable, providing for a superior waterproofing system.
                • Compatible with a wide arrange of substrates, including SPF, metal, and various single-ply membrane systems.
                • 10-year, non-prorated and transferrable warranty programs are available for material only and material/labor options, upon approval by Conklin.

                System Application

                Free Guide: How to Switch to Commercial

                Commercial Roofing Book

                  Conklin recommends the following steps to ensure the best possible Equinox® application outcome.

                  Preparation – Prep the existing roofing system to specification and guidelines provided.  This is not a step to overlook or cut corners on.  Like the building itself, the Equinox® system must be built on a well prepared foundation.

                  Staging – Though the new Equinox® formulation is less temperature sensitive that other acrylics, weather conditions do still play a role.  Conklin’s Equinox® sales sheet notes that “Excessive air flow, low humidity situations, and surface temperatures above 60° F increase the risk of flash drying, which will cause shadowing and telegraphed spray patterns on the roof surface effecting overall aesthetics”.  It is imperative you stage your project to allow for completion during optimal weather conditions.

                  Verification & Documentation – To ensure an excellent application, you must verify appropriate weather conditions with a cell phone application, as well as a temperature gun.  This information may be crucial in your warranty application.

                  Application – Your base coat and top-coat should both be applied only when conditions are right.  In this case, that is an ambient air temperature between 36°F and 60°F, relative humidity greater than 20% and air flow adequate to prevent flash drying and allow for wet edge maintenance.

                  Storage – Store your remaining Equinox at temperatures less than 80°F.  Do not let it freeze and it will remain fully usable for your next happy customer within 6 months of manufacturing date.

                  To stay informed and current on all forms of relevant information, why not join Choice Roof Contractors Group?  In addition to educational information, we provide mentorship opportunities, training information and membership in a national coalition of well-respected roofing companies.  For more information, please call us today at (800) 670-5583.

                  Weathering the Commercial Roofing Slump

                  The commercial roofing market has not been the best place to be over the last 16 months or so in many areas of the United States.  Though immediately after the “opening” of the country saw a spike in business, that demand is starting to drop off, leaving many looking for ways to keep companies moving forward.

                  There are a number of reasons the commercial roofing market is currently down.

                  Supply Issues.  We are all well aware of the supply chain issues our industry is facing.  Unfortunately, it is not just our industry, but a vast part of the nation as a whole.  Supply issues lead directly to cash-flow issues, particularly with commercial businesses. This is completely outside the control any of us have, and we will simply have to let the issue run its course.

                  Economic Concern.  Business owners throughout the country are aware of the fluctuations of the economy.  There is an extremely high level of uncertainty about the direction the economy will be moving over the next year or two.  This leads many owners to a decision to hold on to capital and reduces investment in improvements.

                  Small Business Decline.  As many as 1/3 of all small businesses have closed since the beginning of the pandemic.  Whether a temporary closure due to financial hardship or a permanent loss, the fact remains there are fewer commercial businesses out there.  Fewer businesses clearly mean fewer opportunities for the commercial roofing industry.  A recent study found up to 57% of small businesses still in existence could permanently close due to the Delta Strain resurgence.

                  Demand.  Years 2018-2019 saw an unprecedented number of commercial roofs replaced or restored.  This high level of work during that timeframe means all those roofs are not in need of service at this time.  This also reduces opportunities for the industry right now.

                  Ways to Keep Financially Afloat

                  In spite of all the doom and gloom, one of the strongest assets the commercial roofing industry has is the NEED for roofs.  Every home, business, industrial complex or building of any type requires a roof.  Those roofs must be installed, maintained, repaired and protected.  As a result, we have a built-in bumper against the issues that may plague other, less critical, industries. It’s only a matter of time until service is REQUIRED.

                  To weather the existing storm requires a re-evaluation of direction, both for your company overall as well as your marketing plan.

                  Here are a few ways you may consider keeping the income streams flowing in.

                  Residential.  Yep, we went there.  While the commercial marketplace is staggering, the residential market continues to jump.  With significantly more pent-up demand, a much larger potential client base and the unfortunate recent catastrophic storm events hitting regions of the country, residential roofing may be a direction to move, at least temporarily.

                  Most commercial roofing contractors began as residential roofers, so the learning curve really isn’t an issue.  The equipment needs are reduced as well, plus the timeframes for roofing materials are not as long as those in the commercial roofing arena.

                  Diversification is key in many industries, and it may be time to consider diversification in your own roofing business.

                  Niche Specialization.  Fancy words, but basically, we are talking about finding a specific area and focus your primary attention on that.  For example, if you live in the desert Southwest, combining solar power with roofing services may be a key niche in your area to consider.  Another option might be a heavy promotion of wind-resistant systems in an area recently hit with a lot of storm damage.

                  This step requires some research on your behalf into your local market.  The most important thing in niche specialization is a true understanding of what needs exist that aren’t being met, then finding a way to meet those needs effectively.

                  Those companies that meet unmet needs quickly and effectively are the companies that will not only weather the existing storm, but will actually grow and benefit from the situation.  Reduced competition helps ensure more opportunity for you to actually get the project, though there may be fewer projects available.

                  Marketing.  It is a natural tendency for business owners to pull back on marketing as “unnecessary” when faced with an uncertain time.  Consider this…if your competition is pulling back but you aren’t, which business will reap the benefit when an influx of roofing opportunities come up?

                  The difference is you need to carefully target your marketing.  Rather than a “here we are” approach, it is crucial your marketing sets you apart from your competition and truly addresses why you are the best choice.

                  Additionally, if you are expanding your services (such as pursuing residential options) or moving into a more specialized area, your marketing campaign truly needs to focus on those areas.  You want to shout it from the rooftops (so to speak), so anyone potentially interested in those services knows you are offering them.

                  A few inexpensive ways to increase marketing include:

                  • Increase the number of blogs or posts you put on your website or social media. If you aren’t a blogger, look through some of the blogs on the Choice Roof Contractor Group and upload to your own social media. You definitely want to show strong activity on social networking platforms. It will instill confidence when building owners research your company.
                  • Offer a “special” on certain services and promote the heck out of it via an email blast. If you aren’t certain how to do this, reach out to us. We have plenty of tips for you.
                  • Offer a discounted rate to referred customers and a thank you incentive to referrers. This can be promoted through your website, with 1-page flyers or with a mail campaign.  Give us a call for more ideas.
                  • Print up some flyers and place them strategically in your area. Quality truly counts when it comes to your flyers.  They will directly reflect on the perception of your business. Don’t take the cheap home-made route.

                  The good news is the commercial roofing arena is expected to improve drastically in the near term, assuming no additional pandemic issues arise.  Positioning yourself and your business to not only get through this time but be prepared for the upswing is the hallmark of a great businessman.