Winter is here! For roofers in many parts of the country, it’s time to scale back your operations and enjoy your successes from the past year. However, the off-season shouldn’t be an excuse for roofers to become complacent or rest on their laurels. The most profitable roofing companies use this time to observe best practices and prepare their business for the coming season.
1. Extending Your Business Season: Winter Roofing Consulting
Snow and ice can do as much damage to residential roofs as rain and hail. During the winter months, homeowners often don’t realize they have a problem until it’s too late.
“A large amount of snow can produce a lot of weight for a roof to bear. If your roof is old or already damaged, it could have weaker spots that are more susceptible to succumbing to additional weight. This becomes even more problematic as snow melts, becomes wetter and thus heavier.” [source]
If a homeowner calls with leaks or water marks on the walls or ceiling, the damage is already done. Often, water from ice melting on the roof is trapped and creates an ice dam on the roof, gutters and downspouts. The water can get under a roof system, or through flashings, which were not designed for to handle that kind of moisture [source].
It’s important to advise homeowners to avoid trying to clear their roofs of snow themselves during dangerous conditions. Using shovels, salt or calcium chloride can also damage shingles or even void warranties [source].
If your roofing business operates during winter months, it’s important to let your market know! Being that emergency roofer can mean higher margins during off-season, so evaluate the opportunity before you close up shop for the year.
2. Don’t Let Your Customers Forget About You
Before the end of your season, consider sending your past customers and leads information on what they can do to prevent winter storm damage before it happens.
Roofers can provide simple tips in flyers or on your website that can help homeowners. Or, you can offer end of year specials on gutter cleaning and waterproofing, marketing these services as winter storm damage prevention.
Once spring arrives, reach out to these people and offer spring roof inspections. Professional roofers are able to spot small problems before they become big ones, earning you customer trust and upselling opportunities.
The roofing industry is notorious for having a high turnover in employees, so the hiring process can be never-ending, especially right before high volume seasons. When these new hires come on board, it’s important to have a system in place to train them on your company processes, software platforms and team workflows in order to help them reach their maximum potential.
3. Train Your Employees
While business in the field is slow, your employees can take this time to brush up on, or re-certify themselves through available training programs with NRCA, or study for new certifications. Keeping your crews and projects managers at the top of their game ensures that your projects next season will be up to code.
Roofers can also take this time to study the market. New roofing trends are emerging all the time, and staying ahead of the curve, whether by attending industry trade shows, material supplier seminars, or research can have a big future impact on the success of your business.
The off season is also a great time to train your employees on your internal processes. Making sure that your field and office staff all understand your software, your production pipelines and how to properly manage their paperwork can help you hit the ground running as soon as the snow melts.
4. Understand Your Business Performance
Evaluating your business performance at the end of the year can be daunting. Depending on how you measure your ROI, pulling reports across several programs, disseminating that into noticeable trends and forecasting actionable opportunities is enough to take up your entire off-season.
New, comprehensive reporting tools have recently come onto the market that allow roofers to analyze their data through customizable, detailed reports, as well as the ability to manipulate the way that the data is grouped, calculated, displayed and shared.
The ability to structure, customize and analyze data is the most important tool that a roofer can leverage in order to make actionable decisions, strategize future production and gain a competitive edge.
Successful roofers see the value that comes from understanding business performance. The ongoing ability to monitor reports drives meaningful changes, and ultimately contributes to revenue growth.
5. Evaluate Your Goals for 2019
Most importantly, the end of the season is the time to evaluate your performance, and identify new opportunities for your company next year. For some roofers, this may include setting new revenue goals, expanding your reach into new markets, or it could be as simple as implementing a new software platform to help your business extend its potential.
Sit down with your entire team - both field and office - and collaborate on what was done well, what could be done better, and brainstorm solutions that will help your business be more successful. When everyone feels valued and included, the ideas will flow and your company can start the new season ahead of the competition.
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