Roofing Contractor Editorial Director Rick Damato moderated a panel discussion that explored ways to excel in service work. Titled “Why Investing in Your Maintenance Division Pays Off,” the panel featured Steve Little, president of KPost Company in Dallas; Richard Nugent, CEO of Nations Roof in Lithia Springs, Ga.; and Anthony Schena, CEO of Schena Roofing & Sheet Metal Company in Chesterfield, Mich.
All three companies have successful maintenance departments, and all three panelists recommended running service work as a separate profit center. “I feel very strongly that a maintenance organization should stand alone. We have separate P&L’s for our maintenance organizations,” Nugent said. “We feel strongly that maintenance should be scheduled and run by maintenance people. They really have different personalities than a contractor. It’s not the same skill.”
Schena agreed that maintenance should be set up as a separate division, but stressed that the re-roofing and service divisions should complement each other. If the company excels in repairs, for example, it should be first in line for re-roofing opportunities. “Quality maintenance is what can really set you apart. It is your best marketing tool,” Schena said. “Providing excellent service in a timely fashion — within 24 or 48 hours — is the best thing you can do for yourself.”
Little noted that service work also allows the company to interact more often with its clients, making it easier to stay on top of their needs and establish trust. “We believe in investing in our maintenance department because we sell to a lot of multi-facility clients,” he said. “We can touch base with these clients every month or every quarter.”
“It’s also a great incubating area for employees,” Little continued. “It’s a great place to start new people in the company. We’ve had several people come out of maintenance and go into our production division.”
Nugent named three reasons why roofing contractors should invest in their maintenance departments: “Margin, margin and margin.” Additional benefits include flexible scheduling of work and possibly allowing older workers to stay with the company longer by moving them over to service work. “It’s a good cultural thing at your company because it drives customer satisfaction,” he said. “So I think that there are a lot of spin-off benefits to it, but the primary reason without question is we don’t get a margin like that with anything else that we do.”
Scheduled revenue can be a powerful boost to the bottom line, even in residential contracting, noted Nugent. “A lot of residential contractors don’t think of it in those terms, but if you had 500 gutter cleaning contracts, that’s 500 customers whose gutters you clean in the spring and the fall that will come to you for re-roofing or new gutters,” he said. “There are always new things that you can sell. And if you have a shingle crew that’s done at 3 o’clock, for example, they can fill in with a couple of gutter cleanings. It maximizes margins in a lot of ways.”
“Why Investing in Your Maintenance Division Pays Off” was presented as a live webinar. To view the archived version on demand, just click here.