I sold kettle parts to Brice’s dad when he was a kid in school. That was a long time ago, and he has long since carved out a niche of his own in the commercial roofing world. Running into Brice around the business has always been a real pleasure for me. A few weeks ago, however, he chewed me out for five minutes straight about what a terrible job I and the rest of the trade and mainstream media have been doing reporting on the state of the nation’s economy. In spite of the fact that business is not all bad, especially in some markets, the media does tend to report on the negative.

Maybe we had it coming, and maybe not, but it did get me thinking about the importance of perception in markets. It also caused me to focus on emerging business opportunities. Not just the type that will forge our future (clean, green, reflective, solar, sustainable, etc.), but the type that will forge our present. We do have some great business opportunities heading our way.

Tax Relief for Individuals

The checks the IRS plans to begin mailing soon will not pay for a new roof, but they will hopefully provide the change in attitude that will get homeowners back in the home improvement market. Instead of competing in a market where all the potential customers are on the sidelines, you will be back competing with all the other temptations that consumers must face when considering major purchases.

If the tax relief for individuals does what it is designed to do, you should plan on getting your piece of the pie. This might be a great time to hike up your marketing efforts. This should be a good time to invest some time and resources in drumming up leads that will carry you through the summer.

Government initiatives to stem the tide of foreclosures may also benefit contractors by speeding recovery in the housing sector. This should help reroofing contractors as well as sales of existing homes, accounting for a good deal of reroofing activity and a return to respectable levels.

Tax Relief for Business

Uncle Sam is also trying to lure you and other businesses into investing in new equipment. Temporary enhancements to the tax code will allow some American businesses that buy new equipment this year a deduction of an additional 50 percent of the cost of their investment in 2008.

These incentives could benefit roofing contractors two ways. For one, businesses that increase investments in infrastructure will address additions and improvements to the buildings that will house these assets. Also, some roofing contractors may take the opportunity to upgrade their own equipment or add new computer systems to increase volume, production, and/or profitability.

Let's Roll

Bottom line is, and I think this was Brice’s point, we can win the battle of attitude. Business is not that bad and promises to get much better. If, indeed, the business in your market has suffered setbacks in the past year, this may be the time to prepare for a reemergence of sales and a return to profitability. Do not get so caught up in all the rhetoric about a slipping economy that you miss opportunities that are springing up right in front of you.