Now is the time to narrow our focus and get back to the basics of running our businesses.

These are some pretty thrilling times to be in business, particularly the roofing business.

On the one hand, the volume of business has been turning down. That makes many of us (justifiably) anxious. The good news is that in these phases we can narrow our focus and get back to the basics of running our business. Wasteful processes and activities can be trimmed, our mission redefined, and a fresh new sense of how we operate can consume our various enterprises. This can be very good for the long-term health of our businesses.

But look at the great new opportunities for sales we have before us!

When economic conditions cause other businesses and individuals to slow down on routine retrofit of their building assets, it seems to follow that this would bode very poorly for those of us who provide those retrofit services. When it comes to roofing, folks, they never really quit keeping their buildings up. They just change how they do it. Therein lies the first new opportunity in an otherwise diminishing market.

With all the buildings genuinely in need of a complete reroof, there are many that could stand a high level tune-up instead. The question is: Are you prepared to get out there and offer it? If reroofing is what you do and what you are geared for, but no one is buying re-roofing, what are you going to do? Quit? Some of us aren’t quite ready for that. Roofing contractors need to get out there and sell these owners some remedial roofing solutions that will keep the flow of roofing products going, keep their buildings dry, and keep you and your people busy until that building and its owner are ready for a complete new roof.

If you discover significant perimeter and penetration problems, you may want to consider giving an owner multiple options as to how to “get by.” This would not only provide you with some work, it would also certainly put you high on the list when it does come time to reroof. You may need to reconfigure your business to get involved in some new retrofit systems or methods, but you need to seek out these opportunities and act on the ones that make sense for you and your clientele.

Another great opportunity is in up-selling insulation and/or highly reflective “cool roof” systems. Energy prices are up, going up, and from what the experts say, are going to stay up. Roofing is enjoying quite a bit of press and is being recognized as part of the solution for stemming the tide of rising energy costs for building owners. You must get out there and talk up the program. Building owners really do want to hear how your roofing system can save them money. Be prepared to offer them some hard facts.

I will admit to having taken a rather dim view of the Energy Star program as it related to an individual roofing contractor’s ability to turn it into real profits. I change my story right here, right now. You need to learn all you can about selling energy-efficient roofing, and these folks have gotten in front of the curve. You should also take advantage of cool roof membrane and coating material manufacturers’ training and marketing support.

Don’t wait around for another company to take your place on the roof just because it proposed a more energy-efficient or more economical, albeit temporary, solution. Get in the new game. Profits are good, even when they come from places they never came from before.