My work with Roofing Contractor has mainly been as an observer of the roofing industry from the inside. Since I’m not a roofing contractor, my roles in the industry have centered on service to roofing contractors as a seller of equipment and as a manager in the wholesale distribution side of the business.

For this column, however, instead of sharing observations of what’s going on with you roofing contractors, I’m going to share some observations from the opposite side of the desk: as a consumer of construction services.

Much of my time these days is spent as a facilities manager for a chain of wholesale roofing yards. Some of the most challenging things about being a facilities manager for a large company are scale and geography. I’m responsible for a lot of property scattered among numerous cities and states. This model of the facilities manager with a lot of real estate in his portfolio has become fairly common.

So my observations here are from that vantage point (not unlike many of your commercial roofing clients).

The message, to those of you whom may not have already considered it, is very simple. Show me what’s going on. Send me a picture, send me lots of pictures. Show me what’s going on before you get to work; as your work is progressing; and what my now-cured problem area looks like when your good work is complete.

And if it will help me understand what’s going on, send a video, too.

Not too long ago, performing this feat might’ve been too costly to consider. These days, cameras are everywhere and come equipped with ways to easily share the photographs and videos they produce.

In addition to the camera being readily available at all times, the ways that you can upload, edit, share, deliver, and store photos are virtually endless. Among others, there are a number of tools available from roofing manufacturers to use photos in the sales arena, and providers of aerial roof measurement services likewise offer tools to enhance photographic images.

Storing and sharing images may have been difficult and costly a few short years ago, but no more. The best enterprise computing systems for roofing contractors have built-in modules for storing images. There are apps to upload images by location, and untold ways to share still and moving images by way of social media.

This is all well and good for the facilities manager, but what’s in it for you? I can think of several benefits right off the top of my head, including faster project approval, draw payments, and project completion payments. Even punch lists are more easily managed with photos.

And last, but not least, many arguments and disputes may be easily dispatched with photo or video evidence. Spending less time chasing payments or in disputes should translate to spending more time selling and performing on the next project. What would you rather spend your time doing? Speaking with my facilities manager hat on, I can tell you that the choice is clear: show me what you’ve got so I can quickly approve it and move on to the next one.