When to walk away from a roofing job
As a business person, you obviously want to capture as much business as frequently possible. This is just simple logic at work. Why you are not closing the right amount of deals or getting in front of enough customers is a topic discussed in other articles. For now, we want to discuss one of the toughest decision that a roofing contractor needs to make, when to walk away from work. There are situations in which you will just never see the problems coming, but there will be even more in which you can clearly see the warning signs up front.
If there is any concern that you, or your crews, are not capable of performing the work then it is best to just bow out ASAP. Some jobs are going to require carpentry and siding work, and trust me when I say that it is always the little details that will kill you here. Functionally, most roofers are capable of performing the job admirably and keeping the home from leaking. As far as fit and finish goes, you need to know who it is that you have working for you and exactly what you can expect from them. Put the right crew to the right job, some will inevitably be better at working with a certain clientele. For instance, maybe you have a job that has elaborate and expensive landscaping. Not every crew is going to be great at cleanup so make sure that you put your cleanest and most detail oriented on that specific project. More to the point though, if you do not have a crew that is capable of satisfying the customers needs it is not worth the problems. It will inevitably end badly, and you will get yourself into a situation in which you will make little to no money.
While on the topic of money, if you feel like the customer is going to be a problem collecting from be very careful. This goes for situations in which you have a feeling that they are not going to pay at all and in which you think the customer is going to continue to try and negotiate after the fact. Always check the property records before building a job, as many cities are not diligent enough to make sure that the individual that signed the contract is actually the homeowner. Any indication that the money is going to be a problem, mentions of post dated checks or borrowing money, means that you should get enough up front to cover all your costs. The tougher customer to predict is the one that pretends to have a problem after the install just to get more money off. Sometimes this will just catch you completely off guard and it is best to have a game plan before you are in the heat of the moment. Things can get ugly quick and you need to know exactly how you are going to handle it before getting into the situation. If it is a small request, no matter how ridiculous, it is much easier just to do it and get it over with. Larger demands are tricky and you are going to have to draw the line somewhere or another. When someone outright threatens you, or says they will leave a bad review if you do not discount the price, it is best to just consult an attorney and have them handle it. No matter what, do not engage the customer or exasperate the drama as it will just make the situation worse.
It is always a good feeling to win a bid from a competitor, but if you have to drop the price so low that you are not going to make much money, it can be a bad decision. Unknowns will always come up when you least expect it and at the most inopportune times. It is always the job that you underbid that you end up having to perform extra services on. UNless you need the practice, have a bottom line in mind before you place the bid in case the negotiations commence. You have to have a point that you are going to stop, where it makes more sense to just move on. Do not let your competitive spirit cause you to take a job you could potentially lose money on or waste previous time to make little to nothing. Roofing is a seasonal business and there are only so many clear days in a year in which to work.