This issue of Roofing Contractor focuses in part on the latest in garden roofing. As you look at the garden roof projects and products featured this month, I think it’s worth thinking about all the ways garden roofs can help grow and strengthen your business. Very frankly, the potential volume of new business may be small. At best, garden roofs may account for a very tiny portion of new roof construction; but getting involved in garden roofing may offer a number of advantages beyond the dollar volume.

Improved Recruiting and Retention

Garden roofing opens up a whole new pool of potential employees for your firm. As garden roofs have expanded across the country, more and more people with interest and experience in plants and landscaping have gravitated toward the roofing industry. For management positions, you have the opportunity to recruit landscape architects, civil engineers, horticulturalists, city planners, and many more professionals who might have otherwise never considered roofing. And for your roofing crews, I think you’ll find that landscape workers offer a new and important recruitment opportunity. Landscapers share a very important trait with roofers — they both like to work outdoors. Enjoying outdoor work may be one of the best indicators of long-term job satisfaction and employee retention for both trades.

Better Access to Architects and Specifiers

Architects and building designers tend to be generalists. Their primary expertise revolves around the application of broad principles of architectural design, supplemented by the input of other professionals when it comes to the specifics of the built environment. This means the more your company can offer in the way of specialized expertise, the more valued your input will be. The more input you have, the better your chances will be to ultimately secure a profitable roofing contract.

Expertise in the key aspects of garden roofing — from drainage design to plant selection — can only increase your credibility when it comes to the final selection of products (and ultimately the contractor) to be used on any architecturally-specified roofing project.

Enhanced Community Relations

Getting involved in garden roofing offers new opportunities to improve your company’s visibility in the community. Yes, traditional community activities such as sponsoring youth or recreational sports teams or helping with a fund-raising drive are always helpful, but a new green roof installed on a prominent community building almost always generates an amount of publicity that’s hard to match. In fact, whenever I’ve had a chance to talk with contractors who have become involved in garden roofing, one of the first benefits they mention is the amount of free advertising they received from local media outlets after installing their first garden roof.

Expanded Business Opportunities

I’ve mentioned in this column many times before that one of the best ways to grow your business is to expand the number of products you supply and firms you partner with. Moving into garden roofing offers many opportunities to expand your product offerings and business partnerships. Some examples of new business products and services that green roofing can bring to you include:

  • Plants and planting media
  • Irrigation and water collection systems
  • Drainage/protection mats and paver systems
  • Ongoing garden roof maintenance contracts

After reading about the garden roofing products and projects featured in Roofing Contractor this month, I hope you’ll take some time to think about how garden roofing can help grow and strengthen your business. And please don’t hesitate to send me an email about your experiences in garden roofing that I can share in future columns.