This piece was written last year while we attended Western States Roofing Expo and wanted to touch on it again. It is important because as an industry we can grow it by looking to these contractors. I feel like there is much more I would like to say regarding the issue of contractors who do not work with metal. I’m amazed and baffled by the lack of motivation I see from
some contractors in building their businesses. Then again maybe they don’t know how to grow their business or take it to the next step. The perfect example I like to use with some of these industry professionals is a real world company that had success with one product. The difference is that most of these companies that were successful with one product is that they needed to create more product or services to grow their business further. Many contractors I have seen here the last few days continue to do your standard asphalt, shingle, ceramic roof etc. So again I continue to ask why aren’t more of you looking into metal? Some say it is too expensive for consumers – I think that is a bogus answer and I will tell you why shortly. Consider a shingle roof and it’s warranty, what 15-20 years? Well, a metal roof for example carries a lifetime warranty so in those 60 years you may live there you’ll replace our roof three to four times. So cost is not an argument! If manufacturers could start teaching and educating the contractors that have never used metal more effectively then we could see an influx of metal products and growth in the market.
This debate/topic is something that I could write about daily and I possibly will. I will leave you with one more thought for the day to consider; If a homeowner is remodeling their home such as a kitchen, living room or dining room wouldn’t it make sense to put a sustainable, high quality roof on their home? Doesn’t the homeowner want to protect the investment they have made in the remodeling? It’s almost like tires on your car, if your tires are balding you don’t get the same performance, or safety out of the car. For all of you contractors and manufacturers take what I’ve said here and apply it in your strategy in growing your business, trust me it works.

One Comment

  1. As many would know, AppliCad has been promoting our Roof Wizard software in North America for over 20 years now. We have spent years reviewing this and asked the same questions, and I think I have the answer.
    I believe that just about anyone can create a proposal for a shingle roof. You don’t even have to be accurate, just order more bundles than you need, easy. The supplier will credit me what is not used and the customer has paid for them anyway. So shingles are a no-brainer on the estimating side and mistakes are cheap to sort out. Evidence of how simple this can be is the service offered by Eagle View where they generate a report for estimating that takes the basic footprint area of a property and multiply by a fumble factor and there’s your bid – $’s per square. Frankly, nothing could be simpler – and more fraught in my view. This is another discussion for another time.
    Metal roofing on the other hand is not so forgiving – ANY error in estimating is usually very expensive. Metal roofing by definition is a lot more complex to estimate, to order and to install. Frankly, I think it scares the crap out of most shingle estimators and the risk of losing their shirt on just about every job is what keeps them away from metal. If they cannot reliably make a profit on every job, they will stick to what they know.
    Now if I may suggest – the answer for them is to use estimating tools that takes the drama out of the estimating process for a metal roof. A software program such as AppliCad’s Roof Wizard, has the estimating rules for your metal panel and trim built into the process. It is designed to take account of all the things that will trip up the uninitiated. That is not to say that we can stop a completely ignorant estimator from putting the wrong things together, but whatever they put together will include the cost to supply and install every single item from the panels to the trim and all accessories. It will even pick up the underlayment and the fall protection as well, if specified.
    A well designed software program has the required checking tools built in so that costly errors are spotted early, before it costs money. Bids are accurate, fast and reliable. You can count on your job margin if the process is correct and correctly applied.
    Let’s face it, metal roofing can be complicated and some engineers and designers seem to go to extraordinary lengths to make it even more so. Everything that we can do in software to simplify this makes metal more viable as a roofing option. We all know the merits of using metal on a roof, but getting into it as a roofer without going broke seems to be the challenge. If you can’t bid it, install it and make money you will not use it. You need an estimating system that is efficient, accurate and reproducible – a good software program will do this for you.
    An interesting fact for the North American roofing industry to ponder – in Australia and New Zealand, where most of us live in very similar styles of housing as those of you in North America, metal roofing is installed on between 60 and 70% of all residential structures (depending on region) and as much as 95% of all commercial structures. Add the amount of metal used in cladding on commercial structures and that is a lot of metal being used. What do you think they are doing differently in Australia? Useful question to get the answer to don’t you think?
    Yes you can absolutely further build a roofing business if you get into metal, but you need to right tools at every level, not just the cheapest material supplier. You need software that works!

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