Studies say we only get 6.5 seconds to capture someone’s attention before their mind wanders off to some other message. If I had 6.5 seconds to communicate the wisdom of looking into commercial roof maintenance, I’d simply say “Potential margins of up to 60%.” That’s about 2.5 seconds. So, I’d say it again, more slowly: “Potential margins. Of up to. 60%.”
In my experience, that number is enough to grab the attention of most savvy businesspeople.
Among all the benefits of expanding into commercial roof maintenance, higher revenue is number one. But those revenues are, by no means, guaranteed. A successful roof maintenance program requires dedicated tools and personnel, a commitment to building long-term business relationships, and a business plan.
Let’s take those one at a time:
Dedicated Tools and Personnel
Chances are, if you install commercial roofs, you already own the tools required to maintain them. That reduces your initial capital outlay when branching into maintenance. You probably also have skilled employees who understand the fundamentals of the roofs you install. That means less incremental training. However, as the maintenance side of your business grows, I recommend creating a dedicated team, with their own equipment and maintenance-specific training, to ensure that your maintenance customers receive the same level of service as your new roof and reroof customers.
A Commitment to Building Long-Term Relationships
As you work on a new roof or a reroof, offering a maintenance contract gives you a unique opportunity to take “ownership” of that roof for the foreseeable future. Whether you build maintenance into your installation agreement or add it later, you can make the strong case that you know the roof inside and out, and are uniquely well-suited to take care of it. In fact, many contractors find it helps to offer upfront service at no cost for a specific time period, in order to demonstrate the value of the ongoing relationship. Turning a project into a long-term relationship enables you to grow your current business with existing clients. Down the road, you may find opportunities to restore the roof using coatings, or be the natural choice to eventually replace the roof.
Offering maintenance can also help you get your foot in the door with new clients. Including maintenance services in an initial new roof or reroof bid can help differentiate your company from other contractors.
Let your prospective client know that studies indicate a proactive maintenance program can lower the average life-cycle cost of a roof to $0.14 per square foot, versus $0.25 per square foot for a reactively maintained roof (that is, one where a contractor is brought in after a problem is discovered).
Have a Business Plan
Don’t dabble. When you’re ready to get into roof maintenance, make sure you have a plan and the right resources to carry it out. Commit to offering your existing customers a maintenance contract at every appropriate opportunity:
At the bid, incorporated in your proposal
At the 1-year inspection
During a warranty exchange
Until they say yes
To identify new customers, target organizations that are likely to embrace the convenience and value of proactive maintenance, such as:
Owners of multiple facilities
Owners of large roof systems
And think in terms of buildings that cannot conveniently close for extensive repairs, such as:
Make sure your marketing campaign for commercial roof maintenance is as comprehensive as your new roof acquisition plan. Consider e-mail, direct mail, telemarketing, and social media. You may find it makes financial sense to offer two years of free inspections as an incentive.
Once you’ve decided commercial roof maintenance makes sense for your business model, you might also consider becoming a GAF Certified Maintenance Professional (CMP). Only a GAF CMP can offer the GAF WellRoof® Guarantee Extension to the GAF Diamond Pledge NDL Roof Guarantee. With the WellRoof® Guarantee Extension, GAF will extend the length of eligible GAF Diamond Pledge NDL Roof Guarantees by up to 25% — with no additional guarantee fee.
Look for more information on the WellRoof® extension in an upcoming post! Until then, feel free to reach out with questions in our comments section.
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