Disclaimer: These comments are applicable to commercial not residential contractors.
I’ve been a roofing consultant for approaching 20 years, so I am writing as a “buyer” of roofing services. I’ve been involved in a lot of roofing projects during that time, most of which have been reroofs. On virtually all those projects, we have used the lowest bidder and there have been many occasions when the low bidder has been 30% (or more) below their competition. Do you know how many “bad” roofs I’ve had installed using that methodology? Zero. In fact, probably the lowest QC score received on those roof installations was a 9. The vast majority were perfect 10s.
Major Lesson 1 It is easy to hire and get a great, high quality roof installed in today’s market. If you try to sell on “we do quality work,” you are wasting your time. Ditto for “we work safe” and for “we will create minimal disruption.” I am aware that not all roofers are quality oriented and not all work safe, etc. They are not your competition. If you are stuck competing against them, generally speaking, you are playing in the wrong sandbox. So, if I have 6 bidders on a bidders list and I expect to get a perfect 10 QC score from all of them, why shouldn’t I take the lowest bidder?
If you are not going to be the lowest bidder, just how do you get the work? You are going to need to find a way to bring other value to your customer. Something that they want. As a “buyer” of roofing services, what do I look for when selecting a contractor for our bidders lists? Let me give you a hint. It is going to take you perhaps 30 days to do a quality install of that new roof. My client and I are then going to spend the next 20 years living with it. Where do you think our focus is going to be? We are going to be more concerned about what happens after the roof is installed. If you want to work for me, you better have a good service department.
Major Lesson 2 In today’s world, everything is about service. The roofing industry is no different. You better have a service department and, if you want to be considered for a project when you aren’t the lowest bidder, you need to have a GREAT service department. I understand that you may be more excited about that $250,000 reroof than the $650 leak repair. That only makes sense. But if you want to be getting more than your fair share of those big reroofs, if you want to be considered when you aren’t low, then you have to be giving them something others can’t. The easiest way to do that is to be killing it on the service side. That is where you can differentiate yourself in the marketplace and actually bring value that your customers want and need.
Greg Hayne is the owner of Hayne Coaching Group. See his full bio here.