2020 presented unique challenges to the roofing industry. In order to keep work moving forward while keeping customers and employees safe and navigating coronavirus restrictions, all of us in the industry had to adapt. Innovative strategies from resilient and creative contractors made it possible for their businesses to not only survive, but thrive, during this time.
While some of the adaptations and changes made in 2020 were temporary measures, others made life easier for contractors and homeowners or solved challenges that existed before coronavirus—so they’re here to stay. Here are the top 5 ways 2020 changed how contractors do business, and our roofing industry analysis of why those changes will be long-lasting.
2020 Roofing Industry Analysis: How Contractors Adapted
#1. Connecting With Customers and Prospects Virtually
Traditional in-person meetings, door-knocking, and neighborhood canvassing took a backseat in 2020. In order to keep everyone safe and comply with restrictions, most customer and prospect interactions were done virtually. With phone calls, online canvassing, Zoom meetings, and more, contractors found ways to get in front of prospects and connect with customers when they couldn’t meet in person.
Depending on the comfort level of your customers and the restrictions in place in your state, you may still be meeting with homeowners virtually. But even when homeowners are willing to meet with you in person, offering digital methods of connection will still be a smart business move. A Zoom meeting or an online chat can easily fit into a homeowner’s busy schedule, doesn’t require them to be at home, and takes less time than setting up an in-person meeting. Finding ways to canvass that go beyond door-knocking will attract more customers to your business. And offering virtual meetings to customers will demonstrate your commitment to providing quality service that reflects customer preferences.
#2: Getting Paid Electronically
Roofing industry analysis shows that many roofing contractors adopted electronic payment processing for the first time this year. With many office staff working from home, many homeowners expressing a preference to pay digitally, and a general climate of financial uncertainty, electronic payment processing made sense as a fast, reliable way to get paid on time.
But electronic payment processing is more than just a temporary solution for when your staff is scattered and your customers are stuck at home. Increasingly, customers have come to expect the ability to use credit, debit and ACH transactions to pay vendors—and to take their money elsewhere when those options are not available. The ability to process payments electronically and accept a wide range of payment methods helps you meet these customer expectations and keep from losing out to your competitors. Plus, you’ll get paid on time more frequently and process transactions more quickly.
#3: Collecting Signatures and Approvals Over Email
Electronic signature technology took on new importance during 2020. Without the ability to meet customers in person, electronic signatures became vital to keep a project moving forward and get approvals from afar. Without this technology, many projects would have stalled or been scrapped altogether.
Now that customers and contractors alike have experienced the convenience of electronic signatures and sending documents for approval over email, this technology will continue to be a foundational part of how roofing companies do business. Electronic signature technology saves contractors significant time, since they don’t have to drop by a job site to collect an approval. It also makes the job approval process smoother for homeowners, who can review contracts on their own time and sign off on the project whenever they’re ready. Overall, electronic signature technology reduces project delays, creating a win-win scenario for the homeowner and the roofing business.
#4: Communicating Frequently and Promptly
Communication has always been the cornerstone of great customer service. But in order to gauge customer comfort, inform homeowners of changing schedules and regulations, and receive approvals at a distance, roofing contractors had to step up their communication. In particular, the ability to get important updates in front of customers quickly and receive a prompt response was essential.
Customers prefer timely, informative communication at all times, not just during crisis situations. Make it a priority to keep customers in the loop about the progress of their projects, answer questions in a timely manner, and check in every time the schedule changes. This will help you reduce errors and delays and provide top-notch customer service.
One important component of communicating frequently and promptly is reaching your customers using a method they prefer. More and more homeowners would prefer to receive updates from businesses via text message, so adding texting to your communication toolbox will help you serve these homeowners more effectively. However you communicate, take the lessons you learned during the pandemic and apply them to more routine communications with customers.
#5: Managing a Roofing Business From Anywhere
Paper files and whiteboards have served contractors well for many years, but they weren’t up to the challenges of 2020. Many employees at roofing businesses had to work from home, and accessing physical files wasn’t always easy or safe. With so much uncertainty and with each project taking on a new importance, roofing industry analysis showed staying organized and working efficiently was paramount. Roofing businesses needed to find innovative ways to keep work moving from anywhere. Many contractors turned to business management software like AccuLynx to accomplish this goal.
But business management software can benefit your roofing company even when you’re all working in the same office. AccuLynx streamlines every aspect of your business, so you can save time on routine tasks, improve your processes, and get more done. Our cloud-based software platform stores all your information in a single, easily accessible location, so it’s always up to date and secure. When everyone on your team is using the same technology to get their jobs done, it helps you stay in sync and improve customer service. AccuLynx business management software is more than just a way to ease the difficulties of collaborating during a crisis—it’s a comprehensive technology that gives you all the tools you need to grow your business, no matter the situation.
A Brighter Roofing Industry Outlook in 2021 and Beyond
Adapting to the many challenges of 2020 took a lot of work and ingenuity. But the solutions that many roofing businesses found to succeed during these times have changed the industry for the better. From faster communication to improved business management to new ways to serve customers, contractors have new tools and strategies at their disposal thanks to 2020—and they’ll reap the benefits for years to come.