PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: HailTrace
In this month’s ROOFPRO Partner Spotlight, we sat down (virtually, of course!) with Derik Kline, founder and CEO of HailTrace, IKO’s most recently added strategic partner. Derik has been an avid weather lover since childhood and has witnessed some of the strongest storms to hit this planet. All of this led to the creation of HailTrace, his weather forensics data company, in 2010.
Question: HailTrace is a “weather forensics” company — what is that?
Derik Kline: “Weather forensics” means that we analyze past weather data to digitally investigate the locations and impact of severe weather. Like crime scene investigators, we are looking for radar evidence of hail or wind impacting a specific area.
Q: Who are the weather experts on your staff, and what data do they use to produce weather forecasts?
DK: We currently have five meteorologists and three weather forecasters on our staff. While we use many tools to track weather, we are mostly commonly looking at radar data. Specifically, we use GR Analyst and GR Earth. GR Analyst gives us a microview of a specific storm and its severity, while GR Earth gives us the macroview of activity around the country.
Q: How can contractors be prepared in advance of a storm to enable them to act quickly when a storm occurs?
DK: Have a system already in place to react when a storm does happen. That means having a plan and supporting technology that allow you to get to areas impacted by a storm as quickly as possible. The day after a storm is not the time to come up with that plan.
Q: What tools does HailTrace offer that can help contractors make strategic prospecting decisions?
DK: One of the most commonly used tools we offer is the ability to track the weather activity at the location of your existing and past customers. This allows you to be aware of any weather that may impact their home improvement needs, allowing you to reach out quickly and precisely after a storm occurs. In addition, we offer “canvassing,” which allows our subscribers to also map and track potential high-value prospects for the same reasons.
Q: How can contractors use HailTrace forecasting to develop and protect longer-term relationships with homeowners?
Our data can help contractors understand areas that consistently see severe weather. By tracking data like roof install date, roof type and weather history, contractors can make better assumptions about customer needs and prioritize sales calls accordingly. Doing a biannual client audit, which helps contractors know which of their existing clients have been impacted by weather events, facilitates more positive customer touch points that lead to lasting relationships.
Q: How can a contractor include these tools into their day-to-day sales operations to grow their business?
DK: It’s critical that contractors establish a process on how and when they plan to use their HailTrace data. This includes: who on the team will use it, getting them access and training to do so, and setting appropriate notifications for locations in their service area. When a weather event occurs, they can see the data live on our map as it happens as well as export a list of customers who may have been impacted.
Q: What special offers is HailTrace offering our ROOFPRO members?
DK: As part of our partnership with IKO, we are offering ROOFPRO contractors exclusive discounts to our services. All members get a free setup, training and consultation with a meteorologist, plus eligible tiers will receive a discounted subscription to our Hail Maps, Residential Data and Apartment Data packages.
Q: Any predictions for severe weather in 2021?
DK: One of the biggest factors in forecasting weather is the ENSO phase, a recurring pattern of warming and cooling on the ocean surface. Many of the most severe weather seasons in North America have occurred during La Nina years, the part of the cycle during which the ocean is cooling. Both 2011 and 2012, which included the two most active hail seasons in U.S. history, were La Nina years. We are currently in a moderate La Nina, meaning that it is certainly possible that 2021 could see some more-active-than-normal weather.
Q: What’s the coolest weather anomaly you’ve ever seen?
DK: I am so lucky that I get to see so many weather events. I have seen over 350 tornadoes (including three F5s), nine hurricanes (including one Category 5 and two Category 4), hail larger than 5 inches, and much more. I think the 5-inch hailstorm is one of the most intense storms I’ve seen in recent years. The hail was so large, it literally knocked the paint off of my truck!
Want to learn more about HailTrace and how weather forensics can help you grow your business? Check out our webinar interview with Derik from earlier this year, here. Ready to get started? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-334-4245 to learn how to set up a new account.