Having spent over a decade selling productivity solutions to roofing contractors, I always look forward to our annual Tool and Equipment Guide.

Having spent over a decade selling productivity solutions to roofing contractors, I always look forward to our annual Tool and Equipment Guide (which begins on page 31, with more detailed information available online atwww.roofingcontractor.com). It never ceases to amaze me how we continuously improve on the equipment and processes that we use to make and install roofing. The decade I refer to was “back in the day” when productivity solutions for roofing contractors took the form of feltlayers, gravel spreaders, bigger kettles, and other black-coated monstrosities.

These days most of the productivity solutions are found in the roofing systems themselves, which do not require as much in the way of tools and equipment. Today’s roofing equipment is arguably a lot cleaner and more sophisticated. It may be different than “back in the day,” but it is the same in many ways - primarily, the reason you invest in it.

You invest in tools and equipment to increase the productivity of your roofing projects, to make them safer, and to enhance the quality of your finished work. This should ultimately lower your costs and increase your profits while reducing risk.

You spend a lot of time and money acquiring tools and equipment and even more training operators. It is always a good time to focus on maintaining the tools of your trade. Allow a washed-up equipment peddler to make a few small suggestions that could make your equipment perform just a little better.

Start out with a full-scale inventory. You have to admire contractors who keep a tight rein on all tools and equipment, right down to the small toolboxes with hammers and screwdrivers. Armed with a good inventory you can initiate a good spring cleaning. Pull everything out, get it cleaned up and check to make sure it is in good operating order. You will find some that is not, so this is a good time to decide whether to repair or replace it. You may decide on neither, but if it is out of order and no longer needed the best thing to do is get it out of there and off your list. While you are at it, make the space where tools and equipment are stored clean, orderly, and well lit to give you the ability to maintain order year-round.

Next, if you have not done so already, put a preventive maintenance schedule into place for each piece of equipment. Some may need to be looked at every day while others may need a once-over following every project. Some pieces of equipment may be put on a quarterly schedule while others may only need to be looked at once a year. The annual checkup should be the minimum. Write the schedule down, put someone in charge of it, post it on the wall and check up on it regularly.

Last but certainly not least, train, cross-train and retrain the operators of your tools and equipment. The best tools and equipment in the world will not make you a cent without competent operators.

These are simple suggestions, but they can make your operation more efficient and profitable. The tools and equipment of any given era in the roofing industry may be different, but the roofing contractor who is armed with the best tools and equipment is always going to be tough competition. The tool and equipment guide you find here and online at www.roofing contractor.com is a great place to find productivity solutions for your roofing business.

Rick Damato
Editorial Director