Why do some roofing companies fail? Running a roofing business can be a difficult undertaking. There are so many different components to keep track of when running a roofing company that it can be easy to let things that may seem unimportant slip. However, the most common of these (seemingly small) slip ups can stack up quickly and cause a roofing company to lack profitability. Luckily, there are ways to avoid this.
Through our experience as the leading project management and CRM software for roofers, we speak to roofers every day about what makes their businesses successful, or in this case, unsuccessful. We’ve compiled a list of the top reasons that roofing companies fail and strategies for how this can be avoided.
Roofing Fail #1: Lack of Established Processes
One of the biggest mistakes roofing contractors make is disorganization. When we say there’s a lack of organization, we don’t mean that your physical desk is messy, papers are scattered, and files are not labeled. Roofers that do not have an organized set of processes in place often struggle when it comes to on-boarding new hires, managing new leads, and keeping track of expenses throughout the pipeline. Unfortunately, this kind of disorganization almost always leads to failure in the roofing industry.
Contractors often want to hit the ground running and get started on jobs right away, and do not prioritize having any structured process to guide them. Avoid this by establishing a set of steps that everyone in your company follows to take a new lead all the way through the pipeline to completion. It can be beneficial to set up standardized checklists that you follow for each job that includes your standard procedures and timeline as well as all safety and OSHA regulations that have to be met. When all contractors at your roofing company are held to the same standard and operate in the same way it is much easier to follow job progress, avoid OSHA violations and meet your client’s needs.
With AccuLynx roofing software, we have designated pipeline steps throughout your portal to help guide you through the process. Check in on current leads, current customers, and prospective opportunities to increase sales opportunities and close more jobs.
As an added checkpoint, having accessibility to a mobile roofing app for your crews can help your organizational process by letting your crews check in and out of job sites, update checklists, share photos and status updates from the job site right from the field.
You should also ensure that you are assigning job ownership to a Project Manager or GM, setting deadlines, and delegating tasks and follow-up communications, everyone who touches that job is on the same page going forward. These processes ensure all the appropriate actions are being taken, and you’re not wasting time wondering what to do next.
Roofing Fail #2: Failure to Invest in Marketing
Marketing is a huge asset for a roofing company, and is essential to getting your name out to your targeted area and bringing in business. Marketing can be tricky – many contractors are not sure where to invest or what the best marketing strategies are, and as a result, find themselves investing their time and efforts poorly with little to no returns.
The first step to ensuring you have effective marketing is to spend your money in the correct place. While it might seem “cool” to sponsor the local shuffleboard team, you’re not likely to get a good return on investment from it. Investing in social media or trade shows and ensuring your website is up to date will help get your company’s name to the right audience in a way that uses your budget wisely. In short, to really make sure your marketing is effective, identify the ideal customer for your products and target that demographic with your marketing in order to really maximize your reach.
Another avenue to invest your time (and money) in is online reputation management, like Angie’s List or Yelp. More and more, customers are validating their choice of a roofing contractor not just by the marketing materials that the contractor puts out, but by the reviews that past customers have left online. This faction of marketing can be both frustrating and time consuming because it is outside of your direct control and there are multiple outlets for customer reviews for you to monitor, but putting effort into online reputation management may provide the greatest ROI for your roofing company. You should make an effort to solicit positive reviews, respond to negative reviews, and create profiles on multiple review sites with your contact information.
Roofing Fail #3: Not Hiring The Right People
Managing employees is one of the hardest parts of being a business owner, and another area where roofing contractors can fail. The wrong employee can be detrimental to your company, so it’s important to make the effort to find people who really fit and contribute to the atmosphere you have created throughout your company. A bad employee doesn’t have to be someone who makes a few mistakes – it could just be someone who brings negativity and dissent to the team.
Many contractors are looking to get up and going so fast that they hire as soon as they find a qualified individual. However, just because they are qualified does not mean they are right for your company. Take the time you need to find someone who will be a valuable addition to your company not only from a skill standpoint, but a character standpoint, too.
The same goes for current employees. If they have a negative impact on your roofing company, it is time to let them go and find someone who adds to your roofing company culture. Your employees are often client-facing and you should be comfortable at all times with them being the face of the business. This means that they should be respectful to homeowners, their property, and their timeline and should do all of this with a high standard for quality of work. When customers write bad online reviews it could be due to a quick interaction that they had with one of your contractors at the job site when you aren’t present. Even though you aren’t directly responsible, the bad review could linger and prevent the next customer from hiring you.
Roofing Fail #4: Lack of Proper Employee Training
Not investing in the initial and continued training of your teams and crews is a widespread reason why many roofing contractors see huge employee turnover, and ultimately fail. Many companies believe their new employees are ready to jump into the fray as soon as they are hired. However, new employees (and old ones) should be trained in the expectations that you have for their role, as well as the processes you’ve established to uphold your company’s quality standards.
Proceeding without doing so could mean your employees are not working up to their potential, or even worse, making mistakes that could be easily avoided. Training could mean anything from giving them a demo of your product or services to sending them to a coach or mentor within your organization who can help them define their role and succeed.Some successful roofing companies invest in training rooms for their employees in their offices. This means designating space to have replica roofs and reproductions of common weather damage employees may see out in the field. Making this investment allows new employees a chance to prefect their skills and practice on all equipment before they even enter a job site.
There are a number of great resources out there to help train your employees, so do not be too proud to reach out and work with others. The little bit of time and money it takes to train your employees is a small price to pay to ensure your roofers know what they are doing and are living up to the company’s standards of excellence.
Roofing Fail #5: Not Embracing Change
The last failure committed by roofing contractors is opposition to change. The urge to keep things the same can be strong and it can be easy to subscribe to an, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” attitude. However, what worked for you as a small startup company might not be what your flourishing company needs now. Keeping things the same can stunt your company’s growth and cause frustrated employees to leave. Be aware of what your roofing company needs to remain healthy, and take steps to ensure that you have the tools and people to help you grow.
This means that the technology you use in the office and the field, your employees, job processes, and even building space needs to be flexible as your company’s needs change. While it can be difficult to move out of what is comfortable into what is bigger and unknown, it is a necessary step to keep your company thriving.
Successful roofing companies are those that take the time to invest in themselves, their employees, their equipment and their technology. What may seem like an additional upfront cost can prove to be a very profitable return on investment
These five mistakes take down roofing contractors all the time. While they may seem small, they can have huge repercussions in the long run. Ensure that your company continues to prosper by watching out for these five warning signs of a failing roofing business.