Kay and I officially became “empty-nesters” a little over three years ago. Right around that time we sold off our big house in favor of a townhome. The yard (the official size of our lot is 1/20 of an acre) and other exterior maintenance is all done by the HOA. Since we were never that big on landscaping or yard maintenance we generally subbed that out even when we were at the big house, but this really is easy.
and I officially became “empty-nesters” a little over three years ago. Right
around that time we sold off our big house in favor of a townhome. The yard
(the official size of our lot is 1/20 of an acre) and other exterior
maintenance is all done by the HOA. Since we were never that big on landscaping
or yard maintenance we generally subbed that out even when we were at the big
house, but this really is easy.
kind of “cooperative living” does have some drawbacks. You cannot just do
anything you want on the exterior. We take that to be a good thing since the
neighbors’ tastes in exterior appointments may not suit us any better than ours
would suit theirs. This place has one thing that the several homes we have
inhabited over the years did not have: a deck with a view.
is not a big deck and the view is not over water or mountains or anything. In
fact, we can still see the retention pond (not really a pond … it is a
high-tech ‘dry’ system), and will be able to for at least another year until
the cypress trees hide it completely. But we do have hills and a meadow (nearly
overgrown now) and a small running creek that cannot be seen, but can be heard
following a good rain. And we have birds. As many as we want to feed. In fact,
we have counted 38 different species from our deck, which sits a floor above
the patio below. I suspect as we grow older we will have even more time to
spend with our feathered friends on the deck.
the hell does this have to do with the roofing business? Just the fact that
empty-nester baby-boomer folks like Kay and I really like the outdoor spaces
and we like them even better when we can access them from our back door. My
good friend, Bill Collins, got me thinking about this a few years ago. The next
great home remodel is the exterior of the home, including the backyard. Folks
who really like where they live (everyone doesn’t sell the big house in favor
of cooperative living) and who have some money to improve their home will want to
upgrade all facets.
and bath upgrades are hot, but conventional home additions are really expensive
and modern building codes do not allow for just anything like they used to.
Building a great backyard deck is, by comparison, a great way of adding living
space and is growing in popularity year after year. Many roofing contractors
who peddle their reroofing wares to homeowners have the opportunity to expand
on their offerings. Let’s face it: one of the toughest things to come by in
this business is a paying customer. Once you have done work for a homeowner,
you can and should offer them more. Do you really want to work off an annual
inspection for the next 20 years before you sign another contract with a good
account? They have needs, you have crews, tools, and expertise, you trust and
need each other - why not offer replacement windows, doors, siding, and decks?
do you begin? My suggestion is to seek out a non-competing residential roofing
and remodeling contractor (one from another city or state) and find out how
they do it. You may also find that your supplier is already in the business.
Members of roofing trade associations have an easy time locating another
contractor to consult on such matters. Several of the top manufacturers of
asphalt roofing products also have a line of composite decking and other
exterior products such as cultured stone, cement-fiber and vinyl siding. Their
business is exterior products and it is a natural fit for them. It is a natural
fit for many roofing contractors as well.
your good customers are just waiting for you, their preferred contractor, to
bid the installation of (the rest of) their upgraded and improved exterior.
Damato of The Day Is ... "We Love Our Deck"
By Rick Damato
Rick Damato is the editorial director of Roofing Contractor. He has held a number of posts in the roofing industry since 1974 and has contributed to the magazine since its inception in 1981. He can be reached at 770-331-7858 or on Twitter @RoofsByRick.