By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.
Many roofing contractors get started in residential roofing and after a few years of success are interested in getting into the commercial side of the business. We decided to interview the experts at Estimating Edge who work with commercial roofing contractors across the country to share some of their tips for breaking into commercial roofing.
We had the chance to interview Estimating Edge Director of Product and former contractor Ryan Bogert, and Director of Sales Dave Chapman. Ryan and Dave both agreed that one of the first places to get started is to reach out to commercial roofing manufacturers. “From my experience in the industry the roofing manufacturers do a phenomenal job at educating contractors on how to install their products,” said Ryan. “Most of them host training events and can teach you and your crew the proper way to install the roofing system.”
Ryan also noted that contractors can take advantage of the many training opportunities that are offered through the National Roofing Contractors Association and once they gain experience, consider sending their teams through the new ProCertification™ program.
Sales and estimating
In addition to learning about the products and their installation methods, Dave shared that it is important to understand the differences between residential and commercial in terms of selling and estimating. “Residential is more transactional; you get there, show the price and get it closed,” said Dave. “In commercial, it’s much more about relationship building with general contractors and being invited to the bidding process.”
Ryan noted that contractors may want to consider working with a sales coaching company that specializes in commercial roofing sales. They should also review industry trade shows’ educational sessions to find classes on everything from sales to marketing to business classes.
Understanding the differences in estimating is especially important said Ryan. “Pricing the job out is very different; you can’t bid the way you do in residential because the profit margins are very different.” He noted that the roles for estimators in commercial roofing vary greatly from residential as well. “In residential, the salesperson may also be the estimator, but in commercial, sales and estimating are two distinct roles.”
This is where a tool like Estimating Edge can help since it comes preloaded with all commercial roofing products from every manufacturer. The Edge team works with contractors during the onboarding process to customize pricing and the entire system.
Learning from others
Dave and Ryan both agreed that there is tremendous value in learning from others in the industry who have been established and are running successful commercial roofing companies. Get involved in industry events and organizations that can connect you with these businesses. “Groups like the Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) provide a space that you can get in and ask questions that will truthfully be answered,” explained Ryan. “Take advantage of every opportunity to talk to contractors that are experienced and can share their wisdom.”
Learn more about Estimating Edge in their RoofersCoffeeShop directory.
About Dave Chapman and Ryan Bogert
Dave has been with The EDGE for almost 20 years working primarily with roofing and interior contractors. During this time, his focus has been on sales and implementation and he has sold or trained over hundreds of users. His specialty is understanding the trends in the industry, but more importantly, being able to diagnose and solve any customer challenges. Over the years, his customers have raved about his passion for his customers and their business success. Dave Chapman's LinkedIn account.
Ryan Bogert is the Director of Professional Services and has been with The Estimating Edge for over seven years. Prior to working at The Estimating Edge, Bogert held various roles within the roofing industry for over 15 years. During that time, he also served on the board of directors for the Roofing Contractors Association of South Florida (RCASF) for many years. Ryan has a degree in computer systems and a passion for construction. Ryan Bogert's LinkedIn account.