Roofing is one of the oldest professions and, perhaps, one of the most noble. It provides anyone with the ability to “put a roof over their head”. Roofing contractors enable people to feel as though they have accomplished something bigger than them, that they have succeeded at doing something beyond their capabilities. Times may change, materials may vary, but that basic need to keep the ones closest to us safe from the elements will remain.
The Wave of Change
While those needs are consistent, it makes sense to address the things that are changing; the things that contractors look at when they take a step back and plan for the future. There are artisan roofers that specialize in thatch, slate, or working with copper. Their numbers are few compared to contractors that, while artisans in their own right, have moved into more modern mediums. PVC hybrids, Polyurethane Coatings, and Architectural Shingles all dot the landscape with new and improved colors, designs, and applications.
The one consistent thing in roofing seems to be change itself. Change is constantly being seen in safety regulations. Roofing has been the 4th deadliest jobs in Canada in 2018. Safety requirements are frequently implemented in an effort to improve the industry, but we all know there’s still a lot of work left to do on that front to protect our guys out in the field. Change also comes with the way you run a roofing business. Ledgers and file folders used to be the standard, with boxes upon boxes of archived information sitting in storage and filing cabinets lining office walls. That process still works, much like hand nailing and torch-down still works, but we all know how much easier things get when you use more powerful, modern tools to get the job done.
It used to be that in order to be out in the field, you had to have someone available to answer the phones. Answering machines came along and helped free-up valuable office staff. Pagers were a big help in the event of an emergency, as long as you had a pocket full of quarters to make the call out. Access to a computer brought email and Excel spreadsheets.
Today it has evolved to smartphones in our pocket. They have more computing power than the average home computer had just 10 years ago. The disks we used to feed into our computers, now reside on the “cloud,” and access to company tools can be had from just about anywhere in the world.
The Inevitable Horizon of the Future
So where does it go from here? What does the future hold? The artistry of the build is up to you, the contractor, but change will come for your business by way of new technologies. What used to be done with files and whiteboards, can now be done with the aid of computers. But what does that mean to your average roofing contractor? It means that the number of times a job is lost because it “fell through the cracks” is reduced to almost none.
The disconnect that comes from being on vacation is no longer there, because you can check on your company from the comfort of your local beach resort. Technology also accounts for the transparency and visibility needed to run a company more efficiently. If you count the amount of time it saves, and the work it helps to maintain, the right software can actually make you money. When you put a dollar amount to existing customers that are easier to market to for maintenance, or the fewer number of calls you have to make due to bad numbers, or the time savings in putting out an estimate right in the field; investing in this future is well worth it.
Even though roofing is an old and noble profession, there is no reason to be afraid of embracing the future. It is here and it has been designed to help you maximize your company’s ability to make money and lower stress. As you embrace the benefits of change, you’ll continue to find success in the eternally important and ever-rewarding business of putting a roof over the heads of families, who can’t do it for themselves.