To Safely Balance Your Project Schedule and Customer Roof Care
Are you a commercial roofer struggling to keep up with all your projects, including new work and roof repairs? The stress that is often created by a windfall of work during warm weather months can be alleviated with some simple organizational tools to keep a balanced and manageable workload.
While there are helpful project management tools available for your business to capture job photos, assign work orders, prepare estimates and more, establishing and following a specific plan and annual schedule is your best bet. And although new business may vary year to year in terms of new and re-roof projects, your stable of existing clients will need you to be ready to help with their ongoing inspection and repair needs.
Keeping your completed low slope commercial roof projects in top shape is vital to keeping customers and keeping their businesses operational. No business owner or building manager wants to shut down their retail or production facility because of a leaky, damaged, or potentially dangerous roof. Your building owner customers can avoid these problems by having their commercial roof cleaned, maintained and repaired by a licensed roofing contractor. That’s where you come in!
As a contractor/owner of a commercial roofing business, you may or may not be familiar with project management. And, as your business grows, you will need someone to efficiently manage all the projects and inspection/repair work. Finding the right individual(s), whether it be from within your organization or from the outside, will be key to smooth business operations. Having the right resources will make the job easier as well. Consider a project management tool for commercial roofers, like JobNimbus.
Stay on Task
The following four areas are important to include in your overall business plan as you balance all that’s on your plate this time of year:
1. Roof Inspection
Flat commercial roofs are susceptible to seasonal damage and stress. They should be carefully examined by a certified roof inspector on an annual basis to remain weather tight and energy efficient. By maintaining an inspection schedule for your commercial roof customers, you will get out in front of problems before they become major issues. Additionally, a quick inspection after any major storm or wind event is always prudent. Commercial roof maintenance services by a licensed roofing contractor include general cleaning and debris removal, snow removal in winter, cleaning drains and gutter systems, inspecting edge metal and flashing components, as well as repairing damaged areas, such as cracks, ridges, blisters, rips and split or separated roofing material membrane components.
The obvious function of a roof is to keep the contents of the building dry. As referenced above, checks for damage should follow any severe weather, including: heavy rain, snowfall, high winds, or hail. Certain problems may be visible at the roof surface level while some water intrusion damage can go undetected, particularly on a leaking flat roof. A thorough assessment requires an experienced and trained roofing professional to investigate and identify the extent of damage to a roof system. Professional inspectors will provide a comprehensive roof evaluation at critical check-points to determine next steps for repair. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety is another resource for learning more about the importance of commercial roof maintenance and repair. See their article on Protection from the Top: The Importance of Commercial Roof Cover Maintenance and Repair.
Manpower is always a consideration, with more hands-on-deck personnel necessary during the busy season. Trained and experienced commercial roofing installers are in high demand during this time. Make sure you have a core group of contractors available to meet your needs for both installation and maintenance. If you need to find more manpower, help host a job fair through one of your local contractor associations. Use the slower off-season to train the new roofers and offer a comprehensive training program that provides everything they need to know about roofing products, equipment, tools and safety.
4. Play it Safe – Plan for Safety
During the busy roofing season, everyone on the project site is working hard, long hours to meet deadlines. Without an intentional focus on safety, it’s easy for a roofer to hurry along to get the job done, perhaps overlooking an important piece of safety equipment. Obviously, one of the biggest concerns for roofing contractors is a fall from the roof. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) offers numerous easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, many designed to raise awareness in the field about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs.
The Inquiries Service at CCOHS answers questions in two ways – through its online OSH Answers fact sheets, and through its person-to-person information service. If you don’t see the answer to your question on OSH Answers, e-mail or call the Inquiries Service. It’s a free and confidential person-to-person information service available to all Canadians.
How Can I Do It All Well?
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your business! This is not a race. Consider these recommended tips and processes to provide you with a solid start to becoming a great roofing contractor and running a well-managed business. Make sensible decisions, prioritize your work objectives and don’t be afraid to consult others in the industry. There are many individuals in commercial roofing who are willing to act as mentors and share their tips for successful planning. Membership in groups such as National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), Canadian Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA) or National Women in Roofing can provide numerous mentoring and business development opportunities for both men and women interested in elevating their careers in commercial roofing. Be confident and manage your assets well.