Defects happen. No matter what you buy, from the fanciest flat screen television to the cheapest sweater you can find, there’s a chance your product will have a defect in it. The same goes for shingles and roofing products. There are always going to be defects that creep up after a job is complete. A good percentage of these defective products seems to come from the low end of the cost and quality spectrum, but there are always going to be some mistakes made by even the best manufacturers. The exact same thing can be said of the contractors that put on these roofs for homeowners. There will always be some mistakes involved with labor, too, but professional companies, just like high-end manufacturers, take steps to prevent it and guarantee client satisfaction.
One of the steps we take to protect our customers, and ourselves, is periodically inspecting the roof to check for both shingle and labor defects that might have arisen over time. Catching a problem early can both save the homeowner from disaster and protect your reputation.
Studies show that the average roof leaks anywhere from two to four years before it shows up inside the home as a stain on the ceiling. Think about all the layers water must pass through and saturate, including perhaps 12 to 16 inches of insulation, before causing a stain on the ceiling. This means serious damage is happening without anyone being aware of it.
The best way to protect both your customers and your company is by offering an inspection program. While very common in commercial roofing, it’s not very common on the residential side. A thorough and well-documented roof inspection can catch any defects early, allowing for proper action to be taken and saving the homeowner a lot of unnecessary aggravation.
I’ve heard from numerous sources that residential roofs tend to be replaced as much as 50 percent earlier than necessary simply because homeowners don’t maintain their roofs. I would have to say I agree 100 percent! But why is it that homeowners aren’t getting their roofs inspected? Simple - we aren’t educating them on the importance of an annual inspection.
Set Yourself ApartIt’s our job as the contractor to educate homeowners about the importance of roof inspections, in turn helping to prolong the roof’s service life, as well as catching minor problems early before they turn ugly and cause damage to the home.
Here are some items that will help you protect your clients and your company from defects:
• Conduct annual roof inspections: The NRCA, manufacturers and industry experts alike all suggest inspecting a roof twice each year (in both spring and fall). Educating your customers on the importance of this overwhelmingly disregarded item will help protect their investment and prevent potential problems.
• Offer strong guarantees: One of the most effective ways to put your clients at ease with their choice of your company is to offer them guarantees that protect them in the event of a mistake by your team or a problem with your installation. This peace of mind goes a long way.
• Back your guarantees: Anyone can offer a guarantee, but to show customers that you mean business you have to back it up. If you’ve ever had to follow through on one of your guarantees with a client, be sure to share that with clients in your selling presentation. Let them know that on the rare occasion when a problem does occur, this is how you handled it.
• Participate in certified installer programs: Many of the best manufacturers have certification programs that teach the precise application methods for installing their products. The classification the program gives you can show your clients that you have an extra level of training that will give them the confidence in your installation.
An Ounce of PreventionThese are just a few ways that you can set your company apart and let your clients know that you really care and stand behind the work you do.
Even the best manufacturers will have issues with defective product, but they also have the warranties to back up their product when that happens. Make sure that you have the same level of protection in place for your clients when it comes to workmanship.
Just as there will always be defects, there will always be contractors ready to point the finger at manufacturers as the source of the problem. In some cases, it may be the fault of a defective roofer rather than a defective product. But regardless of who is at fault, a strong inspection program can help prevent a catastrophe from happening.