My good friend, Tom, caught me by surprise the other day. My pastor needed some help with the storm-damaged roof on his home and I was on the phone with Tom discussing how he might help out. He said something to the effect of, “You still writing the ‘good news’ editorial in the roofing magazine?” I bit my tongue, and instead of responding with, “Yeah, why the hell are you not reading it every month?” I asked what he meant with the “good news” comment.
Tom says I write an upbeat message even when things are not so good. In spite of the fact that he had obviously not picked up his latest issue of Roofing Contractor, I took his comment as something of a compliment. Not because of any kind of great writing (he did not say it was great) or anything, but because I do try to put a positive spin on things and at least one roofing contractor noticed. Now here is a compliment for you roofing contractors: I get this attitude from you. Most of the roofing contractors I know are raging optimists.
Many roofing contractors are facing some of the toughest times I have ever witnessed. In fact, I have to go all the way back to the middle 1970s to recall a time when things were this tough. But there is still a lot of good news for the roofing industry as well as the homeowners and building owners we serve. This business cycle will see an upside, and when it does roofing is going to soar.
The tough times people have gone through with the closing of businesses and foreclosures have changed the way people look at built spaces. I believe a more conservative approach to construction will develop. Owners will demand more sustainability from their home and building construction. The green movement has shined the light beyond environmental interests to show that a better built, better insulated, and more sustainable structure can actually save money over the life of the structure. You roofing contractors have preached this for years and now your clients are demanding it.
This down cycle has given us all the time to stop and take stock of what we are building. In the height of the construction boom there was no time to consider these things. Now that designers and consumers have the chance to re-evaluate, they can see the advantages that exist on top of their structures: gardens, solar panels, skylights, metal roofing systems, longer lasting insulated “cool” membrane roofing and asphalt shingle products. Roofing that may cost more in the beginning but performs a job beyond great thermal and moisture protection to include the tasks of adding day lighting, making hot water, generating electricity, and even storm water mitigation.
But you must survive in order to take advantage of a surge in roofing business opportunities. Get and keep your business in the right shape and size to weather the storm. Take the time now to discover a place for the future of your roofing business. Pay attention to where other tenured roofing contractors and manufacturers are investing their time and money. It will be wise to invest your time to study all options on the front end. And I sincerely believe this is the front end of many exciting business opportunities about to come for the roofing industry.