Every business has their own best practices, tips and tricks when it comes to responsibly saving money on the job. It can be easy to brush these aside when you’re in a rush, but when you factor in making small, but meaningful changes to the way you manage your materials, labor and technology, you can eventually see those changes reflected in savings for your business by the end of the year.
Buying Materials in Bulk:
If you have the space, and the overhead, buying pallets of items that you use on every job site, such as nails, flashing, or underlayments, can improve your purchase rate. Rather than purchasing these materials job-by-job, having a stockpile on items you use all the time makes a lot of sense for your crews, and your wallet.
Refine your Waste Factors and Material Calculations:
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.
Spend the time now to figure out how much waste goes into a valley, rake, or hip, and you might be surprised at how much more accurate your work becomes! Roofers that spend the extra time researching how much waste goes into the different line types on a roof, and order materials correctly instead of relying on blanket numbers see their cost savings go up.
The Time Factor:
The saying “time is money” is true for any business, and can be especially important when it comes to your labor and crews on a job site. Running out of material at the end of the day means work will have to stop to send a runner out for an extra box of nails or more shingles. Oftentimes, the crewman who are sent will charge a trip fee, costing you money, and slowing down the job overall.
On the flip side, if you order too much material, you either have to eat the costs, or someone’s time returning and getting credit from a supply house. Creating more accurate calculations and orders will cost you a little more time upfront, but save you countless hours and dollars in the long-term.
Set Expectations From Your Crews:
Finding a crew means more than just looking for bodies that can do the work. When you are bringing a new one on, make sure you are very clear on how YOUR company does things, and what they expect. Many roofing companies will prefer one or two material manufacturers, and each of them will have recommended installation instructions. Make sure you provide your crews with those 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.
Clearly defining your expectations is a necessary step in saving time and money. Stipulating what and how you want things done will avoid communication errors, material misordering and the waste of your resources. Most importantly, it will help ensure that the job is done in the way that best represents your company.
Have a Foreman:
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. When your company’s name and reputation are on the line, you’ll be glad you had someone keeping an eye out for your best interests.
Communicating Special Requests:
Making sure you have photo documentation can help you and your labor crews make accurate decisions before a job begins, rather than being reactive to potential problems not documented by Sales Reps or Insurance Adjustors. If there are areas that need special attention, make sure your sales rep provides clear photos showing what needs to be done, and where. It’s also a good idea to have photos of the entire job site, not just damage or work areas. You may have that someone on your team with more technical expertise that can recognize issues before you order materials, or go onsite. This can help you be a more proactive contractor, when you don’t need to slow down work or contracts with Change Orders for issues that could have been resolved earlier.
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