Director of Operations, AccuLynx
RC: Please describe the state of the roofing industry right now and what tech’s role is within the space.
LF: We've seen roofing contractors embracing tech more than ever, with most people using some sort of CRM or ERP system. Contractors have understood the value of this for a while, but now we’re seeing a lot of point solutions for specialized business functions. If these systems aren’t integrated or talking to each other, you’ll run into data issues slipping through the cracks.
RC: How does AccuLynx fit into that discussion?
LF: With all of the solutions [available], you need a single source of truth. That's where AccuLynx comes in. AccuLynx is built specifically for the roofing industry, so it works the way roofers do and integrates with the tools these guys use daily. So if you have your favorite canvassing app, you don’t have to stop using it because you’re using AccuLynx. Instead, you can keep your favorite tool and then seamlessly pass your data over to AccuLynx, where you can [then] manage your entire roofing business.
AccuLynx is also packed with built-in features that allow contractors to consolidate the apps they’re using if they choose to. Our mobile Field App allows contractors to take, annotate, and send photos that are then stored back in the job file. Our digital estimates tool pulls in customer information and real-time pricing from SRS, ABC, and Beacon so that you don’t have to pull prices or retype data manually.
RC: With so many technology choices in the marketplace, how do roofers best assess the ROI?
LF: When assessing value, you want to look for software with a proven ROI. The numbers don’t lie. AccuLynx has data to show that new users see a 32% increase in job profits after one year with our system. We also know that for every AccuLynx user, companies save about 468 hours per year.
Of course, individual ROI will vary, but with over $50 billion in contracts managed through our system, we have a lot of data to go off.
RC: What areas of tech are growing within the roofing sphere?
LF: With all the buzz around ChatGPT and other AI systems, it’s no surprise that I’m going to say ‘AI.’ It’s new to the roofing industry, and I think there’s a lot of mystery about how it’s going to fit into the way these guys work. I’m also seeing an increased interest in integrations via APIs. Users want data to be pushed over seamlessly; an API connection allows for that.
RC: Where do you believe technology makes the most significant impact in roofing?
LF: The [most significant] impact I’m seeing is from the ‘front of the house,’ with the customers’ experience. There’s so much competition nowadays, so how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? An easy answer for roofing contractors is customer experience; tech can help. Things like a customer portal, digital presentation tools, texting, financing, and online payments are easy ways for roofers to better serve their customers without adding extra work to their plates.
RC: Complete this sentence and then explain: Roofers may regret not immediately _____________ regarding technology.
LF: Embracing it. Technology is here to help to simplify your life so you can focus on [routine] daily tasks that a CRM or business management system can’t do. I think something contractors often get wrong is that they don’t take the time to set up their technology correctly from the start.
A system like AccuLynx, for example, is built for roofers, so it works the way you work, but you still need to invest time in getting it set up so it’ll help you in the long term. We’re the only business management software that integrates with the 3 largest material suppliers. Our contractors must set up their material ordering templates to take advantage of real-time pricing and ordering. [It] only takes a few minutes to do, but if someone isn’t taking the time actually to do it, they won’t [realize] the full advantage of the features available to them.
RC: What makes you feel optimistic about using and adopting technology in roofing?
LF: Everyone is aware of it now. When AccuLynx started in 2008, we had to educate people on what [functions] a CRM [served]. Now, we can dive into the minute details of what our product can do. We get a lot of questions about how our software is better than what they’re currently using and how it can improve their processes even more. Today, roofing contractors understand the value of technology, and they’re now looking for the best roofing software backed by the best team of engineers and support— that’s AccuLynx.
RC: What will the roofing tech landscape look like in five or 10 years? Will we recognize the industry?
LF: I’ve been in this space for 12 years, and I never predicted so many changes would happen. I do think we’ll continue to see AI insert itself more into our space, though I don’t know to what extent. I also think we’ll see some consolidation in the tech space. There are a lot of solutions available, and not all of them are going to last. I think we’ll see that more comprehensive solutions will stick around.