Choosing a shingle manufacturer to partner with in 2015
What motivates you as a roofing company to make this choice?
We are all in business to make money, that is no big secret. It is our other motivating factors that truly determine what kind of company we run. For many, the ball stops here and it is all about the bottom line. Roofing companies like this tend to make questionable decision when it comes to product quality and will also cut corners wherever they are capable of getting away with it. These fly by night types do not plan on staying around to long so they try to get as much money upfront and close as many deals as possible quickly. Many good roofing contractors turn into this reprehensible kind because they have cash flow issues. When we were conducting our annual review of shingle manufacturers we were pleasantly surprised to see that Certainteed is offering an entire book and training program on how to properly structure and run the business side of a roofing company. This shows that they have a long term commitment to their customers and to the contractors and that they are focused more on training then on marketing.
Shingle manufacturer reps are pretty sharp individuals and most are not as kind to try and helping a roofing contractor get out of their financial problems but would rather take advantage of the situation. They do this by offering all sorts of incentives, such as cash back, vacations, and other swag. There is nothing wrong with a company showing their customers a little appreciation, but the problem is that it is presented in a completely different fashion to individuals incapable of realizing the implications. If you become dependent on a rebate check quarterly, you are going to do everything within your power to try and sway a customer into using that product. Many times, this is not going to be the best option for a homeowner. Many times, we have found that these companies spend a fortune on marketing to make it seem like they have the best product since sliced bread, when the reality is that there quality control and product innovation is sub-par at best.
As a contractor do yourself a favor, and take a objective look at who you decide to partner with. Hopefully you are planning on being a roofing company for a long time and are concerned about your customers satisfaction and well being. That means you should do your research and help them choose a product that is going to perform above everything else. Having a cute logo or making some outrageous warranty claim is great, but our customers depend on us to do the heavy lifting taking the time and effort to cut through all the BS to find them the best product and the lowest possible price. If you can not make that commitment you should fully well know that it will catch up with you in time. Short term, your margins may increase. You will get away with putting an inferior shingle on some of these insurance jobs or other unaware or trusting customers may not notice. But as they age, these shingles will fail more often then not and it will be your responsibility to service these issues. You want to find a quality partner that you can grow with, that will provide you with the proper training to install their products right the first time, and that doesn't charge you for this training. Many times, we have found that these manufacturers want a substantial investment upfront, of which they then pay you a considerable amount of money to continue using their products. This again can put you in a tough situation that is better off to avoid all together so that you are unfairly influenced by any of these extraneous factors.