The weather this winter was brutal in some parts of the country, which has led to a nice little uptick in roof repair and remediation work this spring. Now we are entering the storm season and there is no way of knowing how, when, what, or where the next weather event will strike.
How prepared are you in the event of a natural disaster hitting your roofing business? Business consultant and Roofing Contractor columnist Monroe Porter recently wrote on the topic of preparing for and recovering from any disaster (March 2011, page 20). If you missed it, this would be a good time to circle back and give it a read. It’s online www.roofingcontractor.com.
In addition to planning for disaster in your roofing business, how prepared are you in the event of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or hailstorm striking many homes and businesses in your market? How prepared are you to meet the needs of your existing client base in addition to a suddenly expanded client base? What if suddenly the potential business in your market went up by a factor of 50 or 100, or even more?
These types of storm events present a variety of problems for the roofing contractor with a long-term investment in a market. On the one hand it is a great opportunity to “select” work rather than “settle” for whatever work is available. On the other hand, there will be new competition coming from all over and when the work is done they will leave your market with diminished re-roofing prospects for the future.
Following a damaging storm some roofing contractors simply want to take advantage of a good market while it is there while maintaining the size and scope of their roofing business. Others seek to take advantage of the opportunity to ramp up their business and go for all the work they can land. If that will be your choice, this is a good time to begin making preparations-not after the storm hits.
Advance planning should include consulting with the insurance companies that serve your clients. Find out how they work storms today and how you can work with them to advance your agenda along with theirs. Know what you bring to the table and how you will present it when the time comes.
Addressing the cash needs of a rapidly-expanding roofing business can take up valuable time after the storm hits. Meet with your financiers now to discuss ways of addressing the potential need to put your hands on some additional cash fast. Another contact you may want to make is with your supplier. What will they want from you to quickly and dramatically increase your credit lines to keep product flowing?
How about contacting some of your fellow roofing contractors from outside your market? You may need help and they may be in a good position to loan you some of their workers or even partner up to provide services that you sell. Better to make those arrangements in advance with the idea that it could swing either way.
Seems a little morbid to make plans to meet the needs of folks whose homes and businesses have just been hit by a natural disaster. But this is a major part of our job. Whether the roof wears out, gets beat down, or blows off, it is our job to repair or replace it.