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Designing the 'Best' Roof... How do you do it?

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December 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm

RoofYourWorld

Obviously there is no 'best' roof system.

What are some components that you feel are absolutely critical to address when designing roof systems to fit your customer's needs?

I wrote a blog on this topic which has 4 critical areas that I always include. What do you think?

http://roofyourworld.com/bestroof/

-Eric

December 15, 2011 at 6:52 am

Roofguy

I think roofers try to make this more complicated than it really is. By necessity, they do. You sell what you have. They drag out charts and graphs and show how their whiz bang roof system will save them so much energy that after 8 years the power company will be sending THEM a check every month. They talk about green roofs, energy star, Title 24, and everything under the sun...except what a roof should do.

Cutting through all the hype, I think a low slope roofing system has just 1 job to do: keep water out of the building. I take that back, there are 2 things: It has to keep water out of the building, and last a long time. Ok, 3 things: Keep water out, last a long time, and not cost a lot.

In that regard, I know of not a single other roofing system that accomplishes those goals as well as chopped glass emulsion. I know of no other roof system, whether it is new construction or reroof/retrofit, which costs less to buy, and can last 25-40 years. Not one! In fact, I don't think anything comes even close to chopped glass emulsion in terms of raw value.

If a roof costs less money to install, and lasts longer...what else is there?

December 15, 2011 at 6:53 am

twill59

That is really something wonderful you have there Eric. Those 7 day/ 80 hr. weeks on the roof sure takes a toll. Too bad you weren't even making enough working all those hours to survive!

December 15, 2011 at 7:04 am

Roofguy

Obviously there is no single roof system that is best for all situations. Rather than finding roof systems that meet the criteria of the job, I find jobs where chopped glass emulsion is a good candidate. If it needs torn off, I let someone else do it - it's not what we do. Need shingles? Sorry, you'll need to get someone else.

I think there is huge leverage in specializing. There is huge leverage in having vastly more experience in "your" roof system than any of your competitors have. And while not every roof is a chopped glass emulsion candidate, most are, and we become the go-to guys when a chopped glass emulsion roof is called for.

Leverage!

December 15, 2011 at 7:15 am

Roofguy

Getting back to the energy savings hype that SPF has made popular. Our customers are investors - they own strip shopping centers and warehouses. Typically, they're shrewd businessmen who know where to invest money. If I tried to approach them with a speadsheet that showed them that it's a good "investment" to spend $80,000 more for an SPF roof, and then showed them a breakdown of how many years it would take to get that $80,000 back, I'm sure most of them would have their receptionist escort me to the door for insulting their intelligence.

I can imagine some of them telling me: "Look, I asked you for a roof quote, I don't need your help deciding where to invest my money. If I want to 'invest' $80,000, I'll buy another small office building, not a roof. You keep the water out of my building and let me worry about how to invest my money."

December 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

RoofYourWorld

Roofguy Said: I think roofers try to make this more complicated than it really is. By necessity, they do. You sell what you have. They drag out charts and graphs and show how their whiz bang roof system will save them so much energy that after 8 years the power company will be sending THEM a check every month. They talk about green roofs, energy star, Title 24, and everything under the sun...except what a roof should do.

Cutting through all the hype, I think a low slope roofing system has just 1 job to do: keep water out of the building. I take that back, there are 2 things: It has to keep water out of the building, and last a long time. Ok, 3 things: Keep water out, last a long time, and not cost a lot.

From a functionality standpoint, I agree with you. However, at the end of the day the customer may have more goals for the roof system (above and beyond the 3 things listed) that need to be accounted for.

December 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm

RoofYourWorld

Roofguy Said: Getting back to the energy savings hype that SPF has made popular. Our customers are investors - they own strip shopping centers and warehouses. Typically, theyre shrewd businessmen who know where to invest money. If I tried to approach them with a speadsheet that showed them that its a good investment to spend $80,000 more for an SPF roof, and then showed them a breakdown of how many years it would take to get that $80,000 back, Im sure most of them would have their receptionist escort me to the door for insulting their intelligence.

I can imagine some of them telling me: Look, I asked you for a roof quote, I dont need your help deciding where to invest my money. If I want to invest $80,000, Ill buy another small office building, not a roof. You keep the water out of my building and let me worry about how to invest my money.

Another good series of points. Just another example of the importance of knowing what your strengths are and knowing what the customer is trying to accomplish.

December 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

RoofYourWorld

twill59 Said: That is really something wonderful you have there Eric. Those 7 day/ 80 hr. weeks on the roof sure takes a toll. Too bad you werent even making enough working all those hours to survive!

I was surviving, just not living! Working those hours on hard jobs (assuming you are the laborer and not Foreman) simply can't be sustained long-term.

December 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Roofguy

From a functionality standpoint, I agree with you. However, at the end of the day the customer may have more goals for the roof system (above and beyond the 3 things listed) that need to be accounted for.

True. We generally give our customers 3 options, but they're all emulsion roofing options. :cheer:

I'm a firm believer in focusing. We've been certified to do TPO, and mod bit, and we've done a ton of metal and cutback, and started out doing shingles 44 years ago. But we find we can achieve more leverage if we focus on one system that has broad versatility and it allows us to invest in more of the best equipment, volume material purchasing, and a level of experience that our competitors can't come close to.

When I'm sitting down with Mr. Prospect and I'm bidding against Joe Blow Roofer, there is a tremendous leverage that comes from being able to show him that we've done 29 million sq. ft. of it, and that I can take him to see some I personally installed 27 years ago which still look good and are still watertight. What is even more fun (effective) is when Mr. Prospect lays a competitor's proposal on his desk who is also bidding chopped glass emulsion, and he askes me why we're better than the other guy...and I get to tell him: "Oh, yeah, he's ok, we trained him to do this system about 2 years ago." Man, if you can't close that guy you better find another line of work. :unsure:

December 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

RoofYourWorld

Roofguy Said: Im a firm believer in focusing. Weve been certified to do TPO, and mod bit, and weve done a ton of metal and cutback, and started out doing shingles 44 years ago. But we find we can achieve more leverage if we focus on one system that has broad versatility and it allows us to invest in more of the best equipment, volume material purchasing, and a level of experience that our competitors cant come close to.

I agree. I'd much rather work with a Contractor who specializes in one thing than a 'jack of all trades, master of none.' In fact, one of the processes that helped me the most in my sales career was breaking down every single component of projects that I had won and lost over a period of a few years. This data helped me to better identify 'real' opportunities and allowed me to spend my time with customers that were more likely to buy from me.

The reason you are successful with this approach is because you know what types of customers can truly benefit from your system(s). You understand your strengths, you qualify their needs and then you start your sale (if you decide to move forward).

Contractors mess up when they start thinking that there system/company is a fit for everyone. Nobody is a fit for everyone and proper qualification can help avoid a lot of headaches!!!

December 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm

twill59

RoofYourWorld Said:
twill59 Said: That is really something wonderful you have there Eric. Those 7 day/ 80 hr. weeks on the roof sure takes a toll. Too bad you werent even making enough working all those hours to survive!

I was surviving, just not living! Working those hours on hard jobs (assuming you are the laborer and not Foreman) simply cant be sustained long-term.

How did you ever overcome this terrible adversity?

December 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm

RoofYourWorld

How did you ever overcome this terrible adversity?

I sense the sarcasm, but I will answer. I did my job, got a promotion, and was able to work in easier positions (in the roofing industry) that paid more money. More importantly, I was doing things that I enjoyed and that reached a larger number of people.

My time on a crew was not 'roofing.' I did not have the privilege of doing detail work (something I later learned on my own). My job was to get inside dumpsters filled with coal tar pitch and make sure the chute was full (after I filled the shoot up).

I love ROOFING. I can, do and have worked 80 hours a week and thought nothing of it. When you do what you love the time is nothing!

December 16, 2011 at 5:34 am

twill59

Eric you can ask anyone here.....I am not sarcastic! OK maybe I am, but I am not a liar. Just full of BS.

The thing that I question is the 80 hr work week: #1) Not sure who can pysically endure it for multiple weeks and #2) with weather and scheduling of jobs, customers and materials, how could this amount of work even be consistently available? #3) how many other crew members are gonna say "Yeppers! Let me work 80 hrs w/ Eric this week too!" #4) Overtime: Answer was provided. If you are starving after putting in 80 hr. weeks, then your boss really can afford it B) #5) I've been doing this close to 30 yrs. now myself, and this is the 1st time I have ever heard of working 80 hrs.per week in the field......let alone consistently doing it. After 20 + yrs. in Biz, I know the men are hurting pretty good after 50 hrs. 80 is an incredible number Eric

December 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

RoofYourWorld

twill59 Said: Eric you can ask anyone here.....I am not sarcastic! OK maybe I am, but I am not a liar. Just full of BS.

The thing that I question is the 80 hr work week: #1) Not sure who can pysically endure it for multiple weeks and #2) with weather and scheduling of jobs, customers and materials, how could this amount of work even be consistently available? #3) how many other crew members are gonna say Yeppers! Let me work 80 hrs w/ Eric this week too! #4) Overtime: Answer was provided. If you are starving after putting in 80 hr. weeks, then your boss really can afford it B) #5) Ive been doing this close to 30 yrs. now myself, and this is the 1st time I have ever heard of working 80 hrs.per week in the field......let alone consistently doing it. After 20 + yrs. in Biz, I know the men are hurting pretty good after 50 hrs. 80 is an incredible number Eric

There may be a little confusion on the '80 hours.' I'm assuming you got that number from my 'About me' in the blog. When I mention the 80 hour weeks I'm talking about working those long hours as a salesman, not in the field. I would have literally died putting in 80 hour weeks in the field (or developed a taste for pitch).

Sorry for the confusion on that one!

December 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

Roofguy

When I was a newbie at roofing sales I realized I had to find an angle. I didn't have experience to draw from, I wasn't smarter than my competitors - all I knew to do was to out hustle them. I cold-called 40 business owners ever single day, bid 2 roofs, sold 1. Every day. Average commission $400 (this was 1989 and I was 29).

I didn't knowingly realize what my formula was until one Saturday morning. It had snowed 6" and was still snowing, it was about 10am and I was trudging through the snow in downtown Littlefield, Tx in slacks, leather shoes, a sport coat and tie, trying to sell roofs. I was conscious of the fact that the chances of me finding any business open, let alone selling a roof, was almost zero. But the important part was that it was emblematic of what I knew I had over my competitors, and that was the willingness to hustle my butt off to a degree they weren't.

December 19, 2011 at 9:52 am

RoofYourWorld

Roofguy Said: When I was a newbie at roofing sales I realized I had to find an angle. I didnt have experience to draw from, I wasnt smarter than my competitors - all I knew to do was to out hustle them. I cold-called 40 business owners ever single day, bid 2 roofs, sold 1. Every day. Average commission $400 (this was 1989 and I was 29).

I didnt knowingly realize what my formula was until one Saturday morning. It had snowed 6 and was still snowing, it was about 10am and I was trudging through the snow in downtown Littlefield, Tx in slacks, leather shoes, a sport coat and tie, trying to sell roofs. I was conscious of the fact that the chances of me finding any business open, let alone selling a roof, was almost zero. But the important part was that it was emblematic of what I knew I had over my competitors, and that was the willingness to hustle my butt off to a degree they werent.

HUSTLE - I love it! If you've got the mentality that you will succeed no matter what, you're probably right!!!

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