Scarcely a week goes by when we don’t receive notice of a new product designed to make roofing work cleaner, safer, faster, easier, or just plain better. More often than not, the new ideas come right off the roof. Solutions to the daily problems of roof removal and installation work are often invented and marketed by roofing contractors.

This month’s issue of Roofing Contractor keys in on tools and equipment. While they’re not the only way we solve safety and productivity problems in roofing, better gadgets are perennial favorites of progressive roofing contractors. In all my years in the business, I have known very few roofing contractors who weren’t either working on or very interested in the proverbial “better mousetrap.”

Many of the innovations we’ve seen over the past several years are in the areas of safety and roof measurement.

Safety is always a concern with any type of construction. With a keen focus on fall protection in recent years, roofing contractors have upped their game, including inventing some innovative new ways to protect workers from falls. Ladders have been modified to be easier to secure to the roof, dismount on the roof, and a new “lock-out” device has been invented to prevent using the uppermost step on a step ladder, to name a few.

The idea of aerial measurement for roofs isn’t new, but new ways of achieving results faster and with a greater degree of accuracy continue to be introduced to the industry. Perhaps one of the best safety devices we’ve ever seen, aerial measurements keep roofing estimators and insurance inspectors safe by keeping them off the ladder in the first place.

Not to diminish the importance of safety, but I believe the pendulum may swing in favor of productivity for new tool and equipment offerings in the next few years. The shortage of labor will continue to keep pressure on labor costs. This will provide an opening as the value for labor-saving devices will rise with wages. It’s even conceivable that roofing contractors will turn to equipment that may not offer great savings over manual labor, but simply as a way of getting work done with a reduced workforce.

So, who’s going to create and market the next great thing in roofing productivity? I feel like the time is right to seriously consider getting that great idea you’ve been dreaming of off the drawing board and into the marketplace.

As the leader of your roofing business, you’ll always be on the lookout for better ways of doing just about everything. From contracts, hiring and bookkeeping, to welding seams and nailing shingles, there are improvements around every corner.

While I think you should remain focused on your personnel and clients, spending some time and resources to focus on better production methods is always worthwhile. And, if you end up developing that next great thing, you may not only up your own game, but find yourself on the way to a new enterprise that helps all roofing contractors.

P.S. — Be on the lookout for the Editor’s Choice feature in the May issue of Roofing Contractor. We will be introducing even more new tools and equipment to make your projects safer and more productive.