When property owners suffer a loss, whether from fire, flood or other natural disaster, they want to fix it fast. Today’s consumer is used to convenience and speed, accustomed to instant information. They expect it, even when the work they are requesting is for routine repairs, maintenance or restoration. This means contractors need to be able to respond quickly and accurately to customer inquiries.
Being first to bid often means winning the job. Gathering project knowledge through site visits before preparing proposals simply takes too much time and often results in losing the job to the contractor who was there first with a job estimate. So how does a contractor secure reliable, accurate information about a property without a site visit?
Fortunately the advances in technology that are fueling consumers’ need for instant gratification have also created new tools for the contractor. Aerial measurement technology was introduced to the industry in 2008, a powerful tool that delivers precise roof measurements to contractors. Relied on by contractors across the country, the roof measurement reports have changed the way many do business by providing accurate, detailed information about a property’s exterior before setting foot on site. The reports have even opened the door for companies who specialize in areas outside of roofing to confidently prepare an estimate for a roofing job.
But can it be delivered faster? A detailed, full measurement report typically delivers in 24-48 hours, but the restoration contracting communities have said that’s not fast enough. Now there’s a new “QuickSquares™ Report” to deliver the approximate square footage and predominant pitch of a residential roof, and up to one detached structure, within one hour of ordering, allowing contractors to deliver project estimates faster than ever before.
Recognizing the advantage of speed, McAllen Valley Roofing, based in McAllen, Texas, started using the reports as soon as they were launched and quickly integrated them into their business process. Brian McSteen, managing partner at McAllen Valley Roofing, explained, “We order this report on every single lead that comes in. The speed of the report allows us to tell the customer the same day what the roof is going to cost.”
McSteen said that incorporating the reports into their process has allowed them to make more money each day. “All we need when we actually go to the property is the squares and this report gives us that information. We can take the time that was associated with having to measure and spend it visiting more homes in a day’s time.”
Tigard, Oregon-based Homemasters use it to complete roofing quotes before their sales representatives meet with the homeowners. “The report has allowed us to increase our sales because it ensures we are using the correct measurements,” explained Richard Lundstrom, owner, Homemasters. “In the past, sometimes our sales reps would overestimate and end up pricing us out of the sale.”
According to Lundstrom, his company has realized an unexpected cost savings from using the reports. “It has made a huge impact on safety and our insurance costs. By not allowing the sales reps to go on the roof, the cost of our liability and worker’s compensation insurance has decreased.”
In addition to providing the basic information needed to deliver a roofing bid quickly, the report can be a powerful sales and marketing tool. It includes the option to customize a cover page with a logo and contact information. The $18 price point lends itself to the report being used as a lead-generation tool. Many contractors will order a report on every house in the neighborhood, sending a sales person to each door, armed with a report and estimate.
McAllen Valley Roofing has benefitted from the professional presentation that the report provides. “We use it in the sales process every day. We show up with a file with the customer name, date and time of their appointment, insurance documents and our references,” said McSteen. “Because we already have the measurement, we can do the walk-around with the homeowner and take photos. It really sets us apart from the competition.”
McSteen says there are jobs that he has closed on the spot because he had all the necessary information ahead of time. “When you show up, are prepared and have everything ready prior to meeting the homeowner it’s very impressive. That is one of the main reasons we’ve been so successful.”
Lundstrom agrees. “We use the homeowner version of the report and the customers appreciate the attention to detail and the time we have taken to cover everything,” he explained. “They like it too because it helps in their personal record keeping of repairs, maintenance and completed work.”
After closing the sale, contractors can easily upgrade to the full report. The speed of the report combined with the accuracy of the premium report allows contractors to not only close the sale quickly but then receive the details needed to place precise material orders, confirm payments for subcontractors if needed and plan the job production.
“As soon as the job is sold, we upgrade to the PremiumReport,” said McSteen. “We use that for our material order and with our laborers – it breaks down everything and provides exact measurements so there is no running back and forth for materials and no arguments with labor over the size of the roof.”