While the material shortage is impacting the industry across the board, what I discovered is that some commercial contractors are not nearly as freaked out as others. Generally, they are not able to get material for their projects any faster, so why are they not worried? Do they have some sort of secret weapon?
Yes, they do.
They have a functional, effective service department. Typically, 15% to as much as 40% of their total company revenue is coming from service work. But service is not just a revenue stream to help them get through this (though clearly, it does that). These contractors are practiced and adept at helping owners extend the lifespan of a roof cost-effectively, so they are turning potential reroofs into major service repairs. Many owners replace their roofs far too early due to lack of reasonable maintenance making many roofs perfect candidates for this sort of solution.
The smartest roofers are also using their service department to close reroofing project sales, right now. Sales they otherwise would have to say no to. How? They are using a simple script— “Yes, Mr. Customer, it’s true that we can’t get material right now and we aren’t really sure when that will change. But what we can do is take responsibility for maintaining your roof while we wait for the materials at no cost to you.”
Contractors are doing this and doing it effectively, but only if they know their service department can manage and handle it. It is often done at a surprisingly small investment in repairs. But this is all a big “if” for many.
Those roofers who are generating the high service revenues mentioned above are not doing it by merely fixing active roof leaks. They are doing it by the sale of preventative maintenance, accounting for 75% or more of their total service revenue. So, they already have the expertise, experience and demonstrated track record to be able to confidently take on the maintenance of a problem roof.
This just isn’t hard for any of you to do. It requires a change in focus and usually, the owner(s)/leadership in the company need to help their service department think differently because most service department staff think service is about fixing leaks. It is not, repairs are what you do to a roof. Service is what you give to a customer.
Making the effort to do this will not only help you better survive through the material shortages, but it will also pay long-term dividends for your company. If you do, more than a few of you will look back at the pandemic and remark that, “The best thing about the pandemic is that it finally forced me to put my attention on growing our service department. Something I should have done a long time ago!”