Author Archives: Roof Scoop

Recognize the Need for “Free” – Use Free Inspections to Land More Business

roofing-contractor

A Guest Blog Post by FCS Roofing Software

During the years, many roofing contractors have had continuous growth as a direct result of increasing their business while also providing exceptional customer service offerings.

These successful roofing contractors all understand one thing – to have a steady pipeline full of prospects for their sales team and to increase their service work, they needed to offer free, no-obligation roof system inspections to get potential customers in the door.

Roofing contractors offering free inspections end up getting closer to potential customers faster. They start off the relationship by positioning themselves as advisers, identifying current and future problem areas on roof systems from the start.

Provide Detailed Inspection Reports

Providing a detailed roof system analysis upon completion of a roof system inspection is an effective way to stand out from the competition. An inspection report instantly gives more credibility and also will allow a prospective customer to make informed decisions about roofing work. These reports will provide the condition of the roof system’s membrane, flashings, perimeter edge and fascia, expansion joint covers, pitch pockets and penetrations.

Inspection reports also should indicate the exact locations of recommended repairs in addition to describing and prioritizing the roofing work needed (emergency vs. remedial) with any related costs and photos. These reports also can be used when preparing and submitting requests for warranty repairs.

Offer Ongoing Service Agreements

Inspection reports also should be accompanied with an ongoing roof system maintenance plan recommendation or service agreement that will maximize the capacity and longevity of roof systems.

Consider offering a dedicated service agreement that includes a two-hour emergency arrival time and locked-in rates customers can incorporate into their roof system maintenance budgets.

Get Ready for More Inspections

As the demand for roof system inspections grow, it is important to manage them efficiently and offer an experience that keeps customers happy. Below are some suggestions for becoming more efficient and profitable:

  • Follow up with inspection inquiries as soon as possible. The customer may be requesting a free inspection from multiple roofing companies in the same day.
  • Track free inspection results and how many new customers are produced.
  • Create a template of inspection results that include photos, date stamps and recommendations for each deficiency.
  • Create a service agreement template that outlines the various roof system maintenance options offered.
  • Store and track warranty information.
  • Go paperless by granting customers online access to project management tools that help track job progress, expenses, costs and historical information for budgeting and future reference.
  • Provide automated inspection and service/repair status updates via text or email.

 

 

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NRCA ProCertification™ Qualified Assessor Applications Now Being Accepted

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In the first step in launching its highly anticipated NRCA ProCertification initiative, NRCA is now accepting applications for Qualified Assessors to serve as performance exam proctors, responsible for evaluating and verifying hands-on skills for those seeking to be certified through NRCA ProCertification.

NRCA ProCertification is designed to create a competent, sustainable and high-performing roofing industry workforce. Experienced roofing workers can demonstrate their skills and knowledge to become certified roof system installers in specific roof system applications and disciplines.

Qualified Assessors are uniquely equipped by meeting eligibility requirements, completing two self-paced online training modules and passing a proctored online exam.

NRCA ProCertification’s Qualified Assessor Program will teach candidates observation and assessment skills and the policies and procedures required to fulfill their roles in the NRCA ProCertification program. This role is ideal for Registered Roof Observers (RROs) and roofing manufacturer and distributor representatives.

Benefits of being a QA include expanding current business offerings by assessing ProCertification candidates; generating additional revenue by charging ProCertification candidates an appropriate fee for conducting their performance exams; gaining access to NRCA ProCertification materials for specific roof system disciplines; and earning a digital badge and professional recognition as being one of the leaders in the roofing industry.

Application materials may be found at www.nrca.net/NRCA-ProCertification.

NRCA Member Frye Roofing Inc. Featured on Mike Rowe’s Returning the Favor

Frye Rooding

NRCA member Frye Roofing Inc., Bluefield, W.Va., recently appeared in the season finale of Mike Rowe’s Returning the Favor, a web-based television series that follows television personality Mike Rowe as he travels across the U.S. in search of people who are giving back to their communities. Each show concludes with those being profiled receiving surprise donations that enable them to continue their charitable works.

Frye Roofing was featured in “Standing With Coal Country,”an episode profiling the Five Loaves & Two Fishes Food Bank Inc. in Welch, W.Va. The Food Pantry serves 15,000 residents in McDowell County, a once thriving coal mining region. With most of the areas coal mines now closed, its remaining residents suffer from high unemployment and poverty.

Two years ago, Frye Roofing bid on a project to replace the Five Loaves & Two Fishes’ Food Bank’s failing roof system. The roof system had deteriorated so severely, the food pantry was in danger of closing.

When the Five Loaves & Two Fishes Food Bank caught the attention of Mike Rowe and his production team, they stepped in and got the job moving.

Frye Roofing donated the labor for the project, and NRCA members ABC Supply Co. Inc. and Carlisle Construction Materials donated materials. All were instrumental in completing what normally would have been a two-week project in just two days and providing the food pantry with a new $80,000 roof system at no charge.

To see “Standing With Coal Country” in its entirety view the link below.

NRCA Commends U.S. Congress Approval of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

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NRCA commends the U.S. Congress for its bipartisan approval of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The legislation is designed to reform and reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act of 2006.

The legislation will now be sent to President Trump’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.

NRCA believes the legislation will provide expanded opportunities for work-based learning and incentives to encourage the development of industry-recognized credentials. The legislation also will provide for more effective engagement between roofing industry employers and educators in the development of CTE programs in the future.

“Workforce development is one of the most difficult challenges facing our industry,” says Reid Ribble, NRCA’s CEO. “Reforming career and technical education is critical to helping our members address their future workforce needs. I commend Congress for coming together to pass this important bipartisan legislation, and especially want to commend Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) for their strong leadership on this issue.”

NRCA Member Wagner Roofing Co. Restores Skylight Above 17-Story Bethesda Metro Center

BMC 1In January 2016, Wagner Roofing Co., Hyattsville, Md., began working on a skylight replacement project on the Bethesda Metro Center, a 17-story commercial office building located above the Bethesda Metro Station. The tower provides 368,000 square feet of rentable office space and is a hub for major financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch and Bank of America Corp.

The facility includes a 16-story atrium with composite skylight panels that had begun to deteriorate, resulting in significant leaks. The panels were eroding so much, glass fibers were being released and collecting in the building’s main gutter.

The project’s scope required Wagner Roofing to replace more than 200 fiberglass panels while reusing the skylight’s existing framing system, as well as a complete evaluation and overhaul of the perimeter gutter, flashings and water management systems.

To access the atrium to begin work, Wagner Roofing worked with Scaffold Resource LLC, Lanham, Md., to engineer a scaffolding system that would enable building operations to remain functional for the project’s duration while providing safe, secure access for personnel to work on the skylight and adjacent gutter systems.

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Workers accessed the  12th floor by removing a skylight panel and installing a temporary hatch.

Workers removed one existing skylight panel on 12th floor and created a temporary “hatch” to install a work platform on the atrium’s underside to transport all material and equipment. This location was strategically chosen because the 12th floor communal balcony area was located about 7 feet below the base of the main built-in gutter and provided safe access for workers.

To provide easier access to the 12th floor balcony, a 160-foot-tall scaffolding system to support the mechanical hoist was erected on the building’s exterior and tied to the building’s floor slab edges through precast concrete cladding panels. This suspended scaffolding system provided workers with safe, sturdy access to the underside of the existing skylight system.

To protect pedestrians while work was being done on the skylight, workers erected side-walk shedding protection over the building’s lobby. In addition, all interior set up work was performed at nighttime to protect the building’s heavy pedestrian traffic during the daytime.

In addition, a cable system with debris netting was installed to provide placement for tools and construction debris that may escape the scaffolding system.

After the scaffolding and netting were securely in place, Wagner Roofing broke down, packed and transported all tear-off debris. Workers then carefully pre-measured all existing panels and developed a manufacturing cut list. Because of the atrium’s odd shape, nearly 100 skylight panels had to be made in different dimensions.

As old skylight panels were removed, workers replaced the new panels with new EPDM gaskets and retainer caps throughout the skylight’s interior areas.

Once the skylight panels were replaced, a new two-stage gutter system was designed to manage exterior rain water. Wagner Roofing also worked with Curtainwall Design Consulting Inc., Dallas, to develop a new liquid-applied reinforced polymer membrane waterproofing system that integrated properly with the new skylight system.

For exceptional preparation and outstanding work on the Bethesda Metro Center, Wagner Roofing received the 2018 Gold Circle Award in Innovative Solutions: Reroofing as well as the 2018 award for Safety Preparedness and Performance from The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress.

This project is featured in the July 2018 issue of Professional Roofing magazine. Visit www.professionalroofing.net/Articles/Window-to-the-sky–07-01-2018/4272.

 

 

NRCA Commends U.S. Senate Committee Approval of Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

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NRCA commends the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions’ approval of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The legislation is designed to reform and reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act of 2006.

NRCA believes the legislation, approved June 26 will provide expanded opportunities for work-based learning and incentives to encourage the development of industry recognized credentials. The legislation also will provide for more effective engagement between roofing industry employers and educators in the development of CTE programs in the future.

Workforce development is one of the most difficult challenges facing NRCA members. Reforming CTE programs that operate under the Perkins Act is critical to helping our members address their future workforce needs.

We also are pleased to see policy recommendations from NRCA and other associations have largely been incorporated into the legislation.

NRCA will continue to work with key lawmakers to ensure this legislation is passed in the U.S. Senate.

When the Job Ladder is an Actual Ladder

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200,000 construction jobs and still no takers

A Guest Blog Post from GAF

First posted in June 2017, this article has been updated with 2018 data including findings from the GAF Contractor Labor Shortage Survey conducted at the 2018 GAF Wealth Builder conference, current industry trends, and insights from NRCA CEO Reid Ribble.

It seems everybody wants to climb the job ladder, but no one wants to climb a ladder on the job.

According to a Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 200,000 construction jobs sit unfilled in the U.S. The demand for residential homes is far outpacing our capacity to build them. A recent survey by HomeAdvisor lays it out in bleak terms: Of the firms surveyed, 93 percent said they believed the labor shortage is standing in the way of their growth.

Those findings were precisely echoed by the GAF Contractor Labor Shortage Survey, which found only 7 percent of contractors surveyed reported the labor shortage was not having any effect on their businesses. The biggest issues identified were finding talent and project delays.

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Today, thousands of small businesses from coast to coast are feeling the effectt. Of the more than 1,000 construction firms participating in the 2018 Construction Outlook Survey, 75 percent predicted a need to expand their headcount in 2018 — up two points from 2017. Unfortunately a majority of firms expect it will either become harder or remain difficult to recruit and hire qualified workers in 2018.”

In other words, three out of four of these firms see opportunity on the horizon, but only one in five believe they’ll be able to hire enough professionals to capitalize on it.

The GAF Wealth Builder survey suggests a similar trend. More than two-thirds of responding contractors reported the labor shortage has had a moderate or significant impact on their business. Difficulty finding talent and project delays were the biggest negative impacts.

Because there are so many more roofing jobs available than crews to install them, it has become, in many ways, a seller’s market for labor.

Where have all the workers gone?

There are possibly as many theories about the vanishing labor force as there are jobs waiting to be filled. But labor and industry experts often cite these three factors as driving the phenomenon:

  • The Housing Bubble – During the housing crisis of 2006-08, the construction industry lost approximately 40 percent of its workforce to other career paths, and those workers have, for the most part, not returned. Despite steady growth in demand for new houses, there is a lingering perception that construction — and residential construction in particular — is not a stable career choice. Making matters worse, when a million professionals walked away from construction, they took their hard-earned expertise.
  • Youth Perception – In recent decades, the perceived value of craft careers, and the training they demand has suffered a dramatic downturn. Not only has vocational education funding dried up in schools across the country, but the emphasis on “college for everyone” has created an impression that the trades are somehow less worthy career paths. Despite the popular desire for every young person to earn a college degree, more than 30 percent of U.S. high school students never complete four years of college. That means they enter the job market with neither a college degree nor the skills-based training they need to thrive in roofing, construction, manufacturing, or other non-degree careers. And the general dismissal of craft occupations appears to be self-perpetuating. The fewer people we prepare for careers in the trades, the less attractive those careers become. According to a 2017 poll of 2,001 young adults, ages 18 to 25, conducted for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), only 3 percent of those with career plans saw themselves working in construction. When asked what motivated respondents to choose a career, 76 percent overall said the career was something they were interested in and 48 percent said it suited their skills and abilities. Could this explain the lack of enthusiasm for craft careers? Can we expect students to dream of using skills that we no longer teach in their schools?

When asked what can be done to help the labor shortage, contractors participating in the GAF Wealth Builder survey most often indicated that focusing on trades in high school would be valuable.

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When asked to rate their agreement with ways to improve the labor issues, shifting the perceptions of roofing with young people had the greatest level of agreement among respondents.

  • Changing Demographics – As political and law enforcement spotlights burn brightly on the complex challenges of the U.S. immigration policy, one fact remains indisputable – as the Baby Boom generation ages into retirement, new immigrants currently account for all of the growth in the labor force. Research from NAHB indicates nearly 30 percent of the U.S. construction labor force is foreign-born and even higher for roofing workers at 43 percent. NAHB’s findings show overall 53 percent of the immigrant labor force was born in Mexico. Yet immigration (authorized and unauthorized) has slowed significantly in recent years, putting additional stress on employers looking for skilled construction labor.

National challenges demand national solutions

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has been confronting these issues aggressively under the leadership of CEO Reid Ribble. As a former roofing contractor and former U.S. Representative from Wisconsin’s 8th District, Ribble has studied the problem from professional and policy perspectives.

“Listening to some of the national rhetoric about immigration some have a tendency to demonize the immigrant who wants to work here,” Ribble says. “I understand the difference between an undocumented immigrant and one who comes here legally. The latter — the one coming here legally — came here to work. And that’s a good thing.”

Ribble adds when sheer demographics are considered, 10,000 U.S. workers are retiring every day, and the workforce must be supplemented with immigrant labor. Combined with declining birth rates, there simply will not be enough workers to grow the economy without them.

He also has made industry perception a key focus of his work, recently concluding a nationwide tour of allied industry groups, trade gatherings such as the International Roofing Expo, and manufacturer conferences. His consistent message has been a call to reevaluate how we see ourselves.

“We can’t expect anyone to respect what we do until we respect what we do,” Ribble says. “As we begin to shift our own attitude on what we do and the importance of our work, the marketplace will automatically begin to follow us.”

Ribble is calling on the roofing industry to change the way those in the U.S. think about roofing.

“When you walk into a room and flip a switch, you just expect the lights to go on. When you flush a toilet or turn a tap, you expect the plumbing to respond. And when you call an electrician or a plumber, you look for a certified contractor,” he says. “We expect our roofs to perform, as well, so why don’t we look for master-level certification of our roofers? The roofing industry needs to increase the perceived value of what we do.”

To that end, NCRA is spearheading an effort to establish a nationally recognized professional certification program, with uniform standards, for steep- and low-slope roofing workers.

“Our goal is to be on par with our professional competitors in the other contruction-related fields,” Ribble says. “And we’re decades behind them in this regard.”

This year, Ribble and NRCA are embarking on a campaign to promote the good things the industry does.

Ribble points out the only time people hear about roofing contractors is when there’s a fall or an accident. People become aware of roofing when there’s a rainstorm and the building leaks or a snowstorm and the building collapses.

However, the facts about roofing professionals and their proud industry are less dramatic but far more positive.

“Many of our people are roofing the most prestigious buildings in the country,” Ribble says. “Some of our members are the most philanthropic businesspeople in their communities. We need to begin to tell their stories.”

This is not just a public relations effort, according to Ribble. Instead, it is a mission to elevate the industry — including its own self-perception — to the level it has earned through skill, hard work and professionalism.

“As roofing professionals, we’re a self-effacing, almost self-deprecating group of folks. We tend not to talk too much about the good things we do,” he says. “As a result, the public will see a story about a roofing fire but won’t hear about the contractor who quietly donates a roof to a church or puts up four or five roofs to support Habitat for Humanity. Those stories go untold because we are not sharing them. As we begin to tell the positive stories, collectively we will begin to reshape the perception of who we are.”

To catch more fish, cast a wider net

The construction labor shortage appears to have grown out of a complex mix of political, economic, demographic and educational factors. This means there might be no quick fix. But that’s not stopping the roofing industry from doing what it can to help build bridges between underemployed workers and open opportunities.

The skills and temperament necessary for roofing success can be found in any number of other professions.Thanks to creative outreach and training programs, military veterans, oil and gas workers, and former white collar workers are discovering fulfilling second careers on roofs.

Getting the message out

The current labor shortage is not a short-term glitch and won’t be solved with a specific program or campaign. Training programs can help as will elevating the professional standards expected of roofing crews as championed by NRCA.

Skilled, underemployed craftspeople need to be made aware that good-paying, steady work is waiting for them. The next step on their career ladder is a rung on an actual ladder. And from up there, the sky is, literally, the limit.