As a roofer, you’ve probably spent years perfecting your craft. You’ve studied the best techniques, determined which roofing products work best under which conditions and worked hard to install attractive, lasting roofs for your clients. You’ve probably also built up a strong customer base through good, old-fashioned networking, flyer distribution and word-of-mouth.
With all that, it might be hard for you, as a roofer, to picture how new technologies fit into your daily work.
But in today’s connected world, like in many other industries, roofers are finding plenty of opportunities to embrace innovation to make their work more efficient and help their businesses run smoother. Take a look at some of the examples below to get a sense of how you can grow your business, improve your client experience and achieve a better final product.
a. Aerial photography from airplanes
Aerial photographers continue to refine their craft, offering photographs of properties and buildings that roofers can request and purchase to use for measurements and estimates. Because these require the cost of a pilot, these images can be more expensive; but aerial photographers emphasize that the quality of their photos, using the human eye and fundamentals of composition and lighting, allow them to produce high-quality images that other unmanned options might not.
b. Drone photography
One of the most talked-about technologies of recent years is drones. These unmanned aerial devices continue to capture the public’s imagination as organizations and everyday citizens consider how to take advantage of their capabilities. The roofing industry is no exception.
Both third-party service providers and individual roofing contractors have started to use drones to capture aerial imagery and related data to use in roofing projects. As one Midwestern roofer told his local news station, he’s been able to save hours on estimates and inspections by using a drone to take photos and video of client’s roofs — without him needing to climb up and capture them manually. Please make sure you adhere to any local laws regulating the use of drones in your area.
Regardless of the source of the photos, the power of aerial photography comes when combined with software programs designed specifically for roofing professionals. These programs allow for the photos to be combined with other satellite imagery and property information to give 3D models and recommendations for everything from measurements to amount of materials a roof project may need.
For example, Hover analyzes and provides measured, customizable 3D models. Meanwhile, EagleView Technology uses aerial photography from low-flying airplanes to feed into a vector-based measuring software program that provides roofing measurements.
Using software to create advanced renderings of a roof project allows roofers to streamline their work — automating tasks that were once manual and heavily time-consuming, such as manual measurements. Some also allow roofing professionals to show clients ahead of time what a new roof would look like. These types of programs give the roofers the opportunity to work with the client to choose styles, materials, even colors before work has even begun on the roof. As the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) notes, being able to show clients an accurate representation of what their new roof could look like is the “ultimate show and tell.”
An important part of every roofer’s work is putting together an accurate and fair quote for your client before the project even begins. You can reduce the time it takes to produce a quote by taking advantage of software programs that do the calculations for you.
You can start by exploring free online tools, such as 150 Points or Roofcalc, which give you a very basic estimation of the cost to install a new roof according to the specifications you enter. For more detailed quotes, consider purchasing an app or program, like AppliCad, The Estimating Edge, Exact Roofing, Stack, RoofSnap, Roofing Calculator App or Top View. These give you more functionality, including incorporating custom material and labor costs, as well as some modeling and presentation features after you’ve entered your data.
These types of programs allow roofing contractors to generate estimates in less time and can be completed on a tablet or smartphone — which means no running back to your home or office to use the computer (or a notepad and calculator). You can draw up an estimate quickly and accurately, even on-site, while the client waits. This gives you a faster and easier way to get customers important details they need to get started on their roof.
It’s easy to see the impact that social media has had on the world — it’s transformed everything from everyday social interactions to politics to retail industry sales. But how can a roofer take advantage of this type of tool? Although, at first, it may seem intimidating, social media can easily become a new way for you to market your offerings to your target audience. Just think of it as a digital version of word-of-mouth marketing you’ve been relying on for years — with a much wider reach.
First, consider what social platforms your prospective clients might be using. For example, a homeowner who’s looking for roofing recommendations or who’s in the middle of home renovations might use the popular social site Houzz. Create an account for your business here to showcase your best work — and be sure to include before and after photos, and even video of repairs or new builds you’re particularly proud of.
Millions of homeowners also use Facebook every day to keep in touch with family and friends, and to keep current with news and trends. Be sure to create a business page for your roofing services where you can share real-time photos of your best work, and encourage comments and testimonials from happy customers.
The important thing to remember about using social media is to keep your profiles current. Post updates often so you can stay top of mind with your audience. Social media is also highly visual. That means you should always be thinking about what rich media you can capture on the job site. This doesn’t have to be elaborate — just get into the habit of snapping photos and capturing video with your smartphone or iPad whenever you are on a job. (Remember to do so safely!) Also, let the homeowner know that you will be posting your work — and avoid publishing identifying details about the address, location or client’s name without permission.
Technological advancements don’t always have to be digital. Besides the managing of a job, and marketing your roofing skills to a wide crowd, new innovations in roofing products continue to emerge on the market.
For instance, a roofer can improve the performance of a new roof system by taking advantage of products, like high-performance asphalt shingles, which offer more colors, an enhanced look and easier installation. IKO’s Nordic IR Shingles offer an advanced design — including an enlarged nailing area to make installation faster, easier and more accurate.
There are also environmental innovations, such as shingles with reflective granules, which reflect a greater amount of solar energy than conventional roofing granules. This allows less solar radiation (less heat) to enter the home through the attic. As a result, IKO Cambridge Cool Colors shingles help to lower the roof’s temperature on sunny days throughout the year, potentially reducing overall cooling loads on the home and energy costs associated with air conditioning.
Innovation is all around us, and roofers shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of its benefits. By combining technologies that improve the way you do business, and using new roofing products and materials to improve your work, you can make sure you’re keeping up with your competitors and continue to impress and inspire your customers.
As a bonus, you may even find yourself having fun while you’re doing so.
** In this article, we have endeavored to refer you to helpful apps and resources. However, IKO does not guarantee the third-party products or services referenced herein, and is not responsible for any failure of those third-party products or services or any loss or damage resulting from their use.
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