Considering the constant changes warranted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult for roofing contractors to know how to advance or what direction to take.
My hope is that our industry will come together to take the necessary actions to navigate what is certainly uncharted territory. There’s a clear medical effect that we are seeing the impact our communities and small businesses, but what will impact our lives and businesses, even more, is the economic ripple effect.
Who knows how long this will last? No one has all the answers, and there remain too many unknowns. However, many of us have seen economic recessions before, and we can take the right actions.
When interviewed, roofing industry leaders compiled the following useful best practices on what roofing contractors can do to thrive during the COVID-19 crisis.
1. Take Care of Your Employees and Inform Them
First and foremost, every roofing contractor has emphasized the need to implement policies that will keep their employees safe and healthy. Many of these may be familiar by now.
Practice social distancing, clean and sanitize workstations and equipment, work remotely if possible, and encourage employees to stay home when they feel sick.
Roofing contractors are also making sure they are communicating with their workers to provide a sense of normalcy and continuity.
One entrepreneur stated that he first tried to ensure calm among the employees. You can do the same by putting out a memo to your employees and be in touch with them every three days, bringing them up to speed with the information that you have.
Pro-tip: Another approach is to produce five-minute videos every week to communicate with employees. These types of videos can be a great way to get your message across.
Roofing contractors encourage everybody to be as visible as they possibly can to everybody in their organization.
2. Go Digital
With shelter-in-place rules enacted across the country, contractors have lost the ability of in-person interactions with clients. The solution? Go digital.
Roofers can use aerial assessments and measurements to provide inspections that don’t require clients to be present. For in-person inspections, use apps like FaceTime with the customers so they see what the inspector is seeing while they remain inside.
One chief operating officer said that her company has gradually replaced desktop computers with laptops over the past 18 months so people can work remotely.
Pro tip: Check the AboutTime program for field workers to track their labor, and use programs like Slack and Zoom to communicate regularly with employees.
What they’ve seen happen is improved communication compared to their office interactions because in this case, you have to be so intentional.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or look up information on how to use new digital technologies like Zoom. Even experienced CEOs admitted that, despite running companies licensed in several states, they had to play catch-up too.
3. Stay Informed
It can be difficult to digest the bombardment of news regarding COVID-19. Items like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or new OSHA reporting guidelines can complicate what is already trying time.
However, roofing groups like the RT3 and National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) have created webinars and resource pages for contractors to receive relevant information as it comes through the pipeline.
They believe communication is the single biggest thing that they can offer in this unprecedented time.
Pro tip: You can also create your own coronavirus coverage to keep contractors up to speed with the latest news and information.
4. Invest in Training
Work may not be as plentiful as before, but that also opens up training opportunities. If some online courses or seminars can be completed, especially to improve digital communications, now is the time.
Pro-tip: The whole landscape is changing now, there’s a whole different approach, so you need to really be training your team.
5. Re-evaluate Your Marketing Efforts
Social media platforms have exploded in use thanks to people being at home. Experienced CEOs say now is the time to concentrate on social media marketing, including creating personalized content, sharing supportive messages, boosting or promoting content, and running ads.
Pro-tip: Be empathetic and reach out to some of your old prospects and connect with them socially. You can see massive opportunities on social media.
Regardless of the marketing channel, make sure clients know you’re open for business.
6. Prepare for the worst
It’s difficult to know when things will return to normal, let alone predict the lasting effects the crisis will have. That being the case, roofing contractors are encouraged to prepare for worst-case scenarios.
One roofing contractor said his company created new budgets in light of the pandemic, including one where they cut their current budget in half.
Pro-tip: Try to create a worst-case scenario. What does this look like? And make sure you are prepared, line by line, to make any necessary cuts to meet that.
7. Keep an Eye Out for Opportunities
With people at home instead of work, they may be looking to take care of significant repairs and renovations that they otherwise haven’t got round to due to work schedules. And roofing projects lend themselves to social distancing.
Homeowners may want to reconsider an extensive kitchen remodel that would need numerous tradespeople and crews to be in and out of the house. However, most roofing installers and contractors need limited access to any home, helping minimize any type of direct contact.
This is also a great time to look for new hires. There will be a lot of people looking for work due to the lack of business and non-essential businesses closing down. Crews are going to be laid off by companies that can’t afford to run them on the payroll.
Don’t be afraid to navigate COVID-19 changes. Consider them as an opportunity.
You should continue with servicing old, existing buildings and share a mapped out virtual, digital, COVID-19 safe, contact-free process. Never cease to communicate, market, and sell. While you are getting ready to endure a medical and economic storm, have courage.
We are here for you and we want to hear from you. Contact us today as this is a time to get better and pivot.