Residential Roofing: Your Future is Calling.
That is the title of an article I wrote in the November 1997 issue of this publication. It was there that I stepped out and put forward the notion that a new program for residential roofing contractors then being introduced by GAF would usher in a “changed industry … where all segments will band together to bring a high-quality roofing, moisture control and ventilation system to market. Not just an industry that sells roofs.”
Well, change comes slowly, but indeed it does come.
Now three years old, the GAF initiative is alive and well. It continues to grow and change, still touting itself as “not just another warranty program,” but a true contractor support and partnership initiative. Contractor support programs by two other manufacturers, CertainTeed and Owens Corning, have likewise grown, increasing in size and scope.
Each of these manufacturers offers a variety of services to its roofing contractor partners. The roofing contractor can pick and choose from a menu of available options, which include items such as lead generation and marketing support, sales aids and training, enhanced warranty programs, financing — the list just seems to go on and on. These are all things that individual roofing contractors might have a difficult time (to say the very least) generating on their own; not to mention the obvious benefit of tying your name to one of these nationally recognized powerhouses.
Speaking with several roofing contractors around the country over the past few weeks, I have gotten mostly positive answers to the question, “Do they work?” — referring to their experience with one or more of these programs. Russ Kaller, who operates Russell Roofing in greater Philadelphia, says, “Absolutely!” He reports strong results from his partnerships with manufacturers. Kaller says, “You always look for ways to differentiate yourself … particularly going against the big guys.” Mary Dodd, of Dodd Roofing in greater Atlanta says she has changed to different levels and has worked with several manufacturers, taking advantage of the components that fit the best with her firm and her market.
What’s the bottom line? You can argue that the industry hasn’t really changed that much in the past three years, and these contractor support/partnerships are not all that big of a deal. But remember: while the manufacturers are all quick to point out the many ways their programs differ from the others, they mostly agree on one point: “Our program isn’t for every roofing contractor out there.” Thus, most roofing contractors probably do not participate.
For my part, I am proud and delighted to see these manufacturers maintaining the tremendous commitment of time and resources in developing warranties and programs to help the residential roofing contractor succeed. Further, I am encouraged by the instinctive response to the offerings by roofing contractors, and their willingness to try new ways to better their business.
Last, but not least, I think the cornerstone of all these partnerships is delivering a high quality finished product to the consumer. If you have not examined one of these programs, or have not visited them lately, I strongly urge you to do so soon. Look at two or three and compare. They all offer more than they did three years ago. If you are in the residential roof contracting business, you may find it advantageous to avail yourself of some of the best tools and resources the industry has to offer.