By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.
Karen Edwards, RCS COO, meets with experts for a LIVE Coffee Conversation, sponsored by SRS Distribution, to discuss how 2021 changed the roofing industry. These manufacturers, distributors and service provider experts celebrate the industry’s pivot to embrace technology, new partnerships and shifting markets throughout the pandemic.
A major theme in the conversation was the way partnerships and growing customer bases are huge successes of the past year.
“The highlights for us this year was just the number of acquisitions that we were able to do. So, as we look at 2020, we had a record year for acquisitions then, we bought 12 companies. 2021, we bought 31,” says Jeremy Goldschmeding from SRS Distribution. “We are so thankful to be able to partner with a lot of great companies. Put some investment behind them, watch them grow, see some opportunity for their employees that they may not have had in a smaller business. That's one of the most-proud things that we have to look back on 2021.”
Christian Zimprich of Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings told RCS that the biggest change of the year was a focus on innovation, not only on the product front, but from the industry as a whole. “The nimbleness with how the industry has reacted, and the partnerships that you build with your customer base, that is what really helps everything keep going,” says Christian. “I think one of the big successes is adapting to those changing conditions and then really highlighting the ways you can work with your customer, partners, and all the way up and down the stream, to help us all be better.”
From an economic standpoint, 2021 was a year that saw the market shift, and home renovation become much more popular. Mischa Fisher, chief economist from Angi, breaks down how the market changed. “People turned off their spending on other things, and that happened in 2020, and 2021, where people were taking specifically their restaurant budget or vacation budget, their commuting budget, pushing that into home improvement spend,” says Mischa. “The other thing that happened was, interest rates dropped. Then, on top of that, you also had home equity go up. Thus, the amount of value people get out of a home project has gone up.”
Mischa also adds that in 2021, the 30-year-old Angie's List brand was turned into Angi, integrating everything, which was a major win for the company.
The market wasn’t the only shift of the last year, plenty of companies also went online, making the internet the place to go for things traditionally done in person like training.
Trent Cotney of Cotney Attorneys & Consultants talks about the company’s new shopcotney.com digital trainings. “We focused, first, on estimating training. There really wasn't anything in the market that focused on roofing-specific estimating training,” says Trent. “So, we put this plan together, and what we did, is we developed it from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced, to certification, and it's done incredibly well. You're basically a pro even within 62 days.”
Trent adds that these trainings are a game changer in terms of a holistic approach to problem solving legal matters, “one of the things that's consistently said is that when people call me with a legal problem, they really have a business problem that wasn't solved, and that caused that legal issue.”
2021 certainly was a year that changed the industry for the better, making companies more resilient, full of new partnerships and customer connections, focused efforts on going more digital and bringing everyone’s attention to the importance of the home.
Watch the entire LIVE Coffee Conversation for more insight into how the industry adapted to 2021, and what changes that were made are here to stay.