Building owners and facilities managers may finally be learning that a regular maintenance program can stretch their roofing investment in hard times. It’s one of the few positive lessons coming out of the recession and spells “business opportunity” for motivated roofing professionals.
A properly designed roof maintenance program is a revenue source for your company and an opportunity for ancillary sales. Also, selling the program rather than providing a “free” service establishes value with the customer and provides for better revenue opportunities for you.
A dedicated roof maintenance department can also keep your office staff and crews busy during slow seasonal periods and balance workloads for your foremen. Maintenance programs are also one of the best ways to limit your liability for roof-related errors as the systems you install start to age. After all, no roofing installation is ever perfectly executed.
Most roofing contractors already have a maintenance program of some sort in place. The key is to redefine it, and in the process, make the program of greater value than what your competitors are offering.
One of the best ways to do this is to differentiate your maintenance program from other forms of service contracts or service calls that you or your competitors may currently perform. A true maintenance program is proactive — it doesn’t just react to roof leaks, it prevents them. Selling the program requires a more difficult “relationship” sale. However, a successful close will build customer loyalty and pave the way for future work.
A reinvigorated maintenance program also requires “buy-in” at every level of the company. It is essential that the spirit of priority service, problem prevention and asset preservation carry through to the team that will execute your program.
A maintenance program also offers the opportunity to partner with other service-oriented trades (HVAC, glazing and masonry, for example) to expand your capabilities.
Below are answers to common questions from roofing contractors when considering a new maintenance program:
1. What type of equipment is required at start-up?
That’s solely dependent on the type of services you plan to offer. It may be easier than you think, as your crews most likely already have many of the resources and equipment. Listed below are a few of the common start-up considerations:
• Minimum two-man field service crew; allocation of time and material costs for that crew, as well as inside schedulers and telemarketing/administrative efforts.
• Time allocation of sales reps who are offering the maintenance program.
• Basic equipment (depending on intended services) including, but not limited to, pressure washer, coating rig, truck loaded with roof installation/repair tools and supplies used for the specific roofing systems you will maintain. For example:
- Heat welders
- Extension cords
- Propane torches
- Garbage bags
- Caulks and sealants
- Repair membranes
- Mechanic’s tools
With good planning and pricing strategies in place, maintenance programs can add about 25 percent net to your bottom line.
2. How do I establish a client list?
Start with your existing customer list and extend your efforts with these marketing suggestions:
- Telemarketing scripts
- SIC (Standard Industrial Code) mailing lists that target specific businesses
- Various field sales cold-calling efforts
3. How do I establish relationships with my consultant/contractor partners, if any?
• Begin with any contacts you work with on a regular basis, including snow removal companies, etc.
• Talk with roofing manufacturers and suppliers. For example, GAF just introduced a Certified Maintenance Professional (CMP) program designed specifically for roofing contractors.
• Network at local industry events including trade shows, RCI (Roof Consultants Institute) meetings, CSI (Construction Specification Institute) meetings, or local contractor organization events.