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Use Inspections to Instill Customer Confidence

Rae July Inspections
September 17, 2021 at 3:30 p.m.

RCS Influencer Rae July says an inspection strategy should be designed to provide comfort to buildings, contractors and homeowners. 

Editor’s note: Continue reading or listening to learn what Rae July has to say about including inspections in roofing contracts. You can read the transcript below or listen to the podcast.

Megan Ellsworth: Hello, everyone. My name's Megan Ellsworth, and we are back again for a Influencer Response, and this month is September. And the topic we have this month is "what is your strategy for including inspections in your roofing contracts?" And I'm here with Rae July from Chinook Roofing. Hey, Rae. 

Rae July: Hey Megan. 

Megan Ellsworth: So what is your strategy for including inspections in your roofing contracts? 

Rae July: So we have a couple of strategies. Because our company is diversified, we do residential, new construction and commercial. For our residential new construction. These are the single family tract housing, national builder communities. We offer to our contractors what's called a roof final inspection. And so what that is, it's for a fee and it's included...we can include it in the contract, or we can do it after contracting. But what that does is we go back right before the home is turned over to a homeowner and we walk the entire roof and we look for trade damages. 

Megan Ellsworth: Mm-hmm. 

Rae July: And so it's a base price that we include. And it's for usually two hours and a couple of bundles, because there's always damages from pump jacks with the siders or some paint overspray or something. And so when we go back, we do that roof final inspection. If, for some reason, there's more damage than we would have included in that initial base price, we just send them a change order along with a photo report of all the damages and what the additional costs will be. And then we get that report for them. So that's what we do for our single family, new construction, residential communities. 

And then for our larger projects, the multi-family projects, commercial projects, we typically include a five star warranty. If it's a shingle project, it's a five star warranty, or we work with a manufacturer to include a comprehensive system warranty. And so that covers whether if there's any additional damages that occur. And we also try to make sure that our...the language in our contracts also state that any [inaudible 00:02:33] not covered under warranty. And so that's additional change orders that need to be issued. 

Megan Ellsworth: All right. Interesting. Okay. So what does the process look like for your sales people when they're explaining this to homeowners? Is it pretty self-explanatory in your contracts or how do you spell it out for them? 

Rae July: Yeah. So, because I do a lot of the residential new construction work, I bid a lot of that work and manage a lot of those accounts. I typically just explain to them and say, "look, when you're building a new home, what's going to happen is you've got a lot of trades coming after. And so you've got the siders who are going to nail their pump jack star shingles. You've got the painters who are going to get up there and access the roof. Sometimes the plumbers are coming in late and they're cutting in an additional pipeline hole. And we don't we have to know that they've cut the hole so we can get up there and, and put the boot on." There's all things that happen after the roof is installed. 

And so we want to make sure that when they turn that home over to the new owner, that owner is moving into a brand new home with a sense of ease, that there's nothing that's going to go wrong. We live in Seattle. So it rains a lot here. And, you know, when you move into a new home and it's leaking, you lose confidence. And part of offering that roof final inspection is to provide comfort to not just our builders, but also to the homeowners. Even though we're directly contracted to the builders, we're providing that comfort and saying, "okay, somebody purchases a home from you. They can trust that the product that you sold them is a good, sound, working product. It's not poorly made in any way." 

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. That's great. Really reassuring them and going above and beyond. That's great. 

Rae July: Yeah. Honestly, it just makes sense because here's the thing, if you...we typically don't do residential reroofs because that's just not our business model. But for the residential new construction homes that we do, if we aren't being proactive by offering those final inspections before it's turned over to the homeowner, there's a lot of issues that can occur after the fact. Right? 

Megan Ellsworth: Right. 

Rae July: So we have to be able to not only protect ourselves, but also protect the builders. The builders are protecting themselves by doing this as well, because if something goes wrong with the roof, they can come back and show that report. And we always provide them with a photo report of everything that we did at the final inspection. That report is not only...a lot of builders will give it to the homeowner as part of their moving packet, and they also save a copy. So let's say a year from now, the homeowner comes back and says, "oh this vent is broken and it's all your fault, blah, blah," or whatever happened. We have evidence that that's not the way we left it. Like "we turned this over to you and here are the pictures and everything was fine." 

Megan Ellsworth: Right, right. Brilliant. Covering everyone's booties, I guess. 

Rae July: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And you kind of have to, when you're in construction, because it's always going to be the blame game. Right. 

Megan Ellsworth: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. 

Rae July: And we get this a lot. A sider will go up there and there's holes left from the pump jacks and they didn't fix it and patch the holes. And the first rain hits, now they've got a leak and it's because of the pump jacks. And so the sider's like "it wasn't me," but it's like "well, who else could it have been?" Right. 

Megan Ellsworth: Mm-hmm. 

Rae July: And so I think spending a couple hundred dollars to do a final inspection versus spending thousands of dollars after the fact... because if they don't pay to do the final inspection, even if it's a siding issue that caused the leak or somebody else's issue that caused the leak, that builder is going to have to pay thousands of dollars to repair drywall, to repair carpeting, to repair all these things. So it's like "do I want to spend a couple hundred bucks today and not spend thousands of dollars tomorrow?" 

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. That's great. And that's like you said, it's what's best for you, it's what's best for the homeowner, and it's what's best for the building owner and really protecting... 

Rae July: Yeah. 

Megan Ellsworth: Your tomorrow. 

Rae July: Exactly. Yeah. 

Megan Ellsworth: I love it. Well, any, any last thoughts on this topic? 

Rae July: I would only recommend everyone do this. Honestly, it's been beneficial to our business and if you've the capacity and you can offer inspections, especially if you're doing new construction work and you can offer final inspections, you protect yourself, you protect your business if you do this and not just your contractor that you're working for. 

Megan Ellsworth: Right. Right. Well, thank you, Rae. So well said, as usual. That was brilliant. Thank you. 

Rae July: Thank you. Thanks, Megan. 

Megan Ellsworth: Perfect. And everyone, we'll see you next time. All right. That was great. Perfect.  

Rae July: Awesome. Well, I will see you next month. 

Rae July is an Estimator at Chinook Roofing & Gutters in Fife, Washington. See her full bio here.



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