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    6 Dumbest Decisions Contractors Still Make

    Here’s my list of the 6 dumbest mistakes that close-minded contractors still make.

    I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes. I like to share my mistakes with people as well. As a matter of fact, I talk a lot about my failures. I want to share with you the 6 dumbest mistakes that I see contractors do.

    I don’t do these mistakes, but I want to talk about them, I want to call them out. I know this is going to be somewhat controversial. So, if you agree or don’t agree with me or any of my points, you can comment below.

    I find it’s very effective to learn from somebody else mistakes. So, when you talk about mistakes in business it gets your wheels turning. You start thinking about it, wondering if you are making these mistakes.

    Treating Your Sub-Contractors Poorly

    Number one, treating your subcontractors like crap. I see it all the time. A lot of subs have been coming to me over the years complaining. I see it in almost all the markets. Where some big hotshot paper contractor sells the job and they find the sub-contractors to do the work. They just shift paper from here to here for the workers.

    They treat the subs like crap and don’t pay them on time. A lot of contractors do this. If it’s you be very careful because without subs, you’re not going to be in business.

    So, you must treat them well. I don’t like the idea of even punishing subs for mistakes. I’ve seen a lot of contractors not paying an entire bill or an entire job because oh they didn’t clean well. I see contractors punishing their subs for throwing materials in the dumpsters like oh they wasted two bundles. Now we’re not going to pay them thousands of dollars owed to them for the job.

    I know you have reasons for that. Nobody likes stealing or being wasteful, and all that stuff, there is a reason behind it. But stop treating your subs like crap. Stop punishing them with unreasonable amounts for performance. If they didn’t clean the job, fine them $150 bucks. As a matter of fact, what I like to do in my business, I don’t like to punish subs, I like to reward them.

    We have an incentive program where for five good jobs we give them a cash bonus. If they don’t have complaints on five jobs, on top of their price list, the top of their invoices, we just give them a little bonus. It works way better than trying to punish them for jobs they didn’t clean.

    I want you to think a little bit bigger about subs as a business commodity. Also, consider this, word of mouth goes on not only to customers but also goes on amongst your subs. If you treat your subs badly nobody in town will want to work for you. However, if you’re good to your subs you’re going to have a line of people who want to work for you. It’s going to be great for your business so treat your subs well.

    Installing Subpar Products

    Number two, I see a lot of roofing business owners installing subpar products. I hear contractors saying to me, we want to install cheap asphalt shingles from Home Depot. We know that they are going to get trashed with a small hail event. Then we’re going to be replacing the roof again, that is how we stay in business.

    I have heard that over and over again, just appalling. As a matter of fact, we did the F-Wave review last week and I got a lot of comments from close minded roofers saying why would you install something like that you’re going to be out of a business.

    Well for me that’s a very close-minded roofing contractor. Don’t be thinking just because you install low quality shingles, if they have another hail event, you’re going to be the one replacing them. If that was my house I don’t think so.

    As a matter of fact, numbers don’t lie. People only stay in their house for about five years. The likelihood of them being there and having a second claim is not that great of a chance for you to get the job. Even if it hails the very next year do you think they’re going to be calling you again or do you think maybe they’re a little bit tired of dealing with the insurance claim and all that hassle they must go through.

    I approach things differently, open-mindedly. If I install the best of the best product and maybe that’s the only roof that survived the hail damage in that neighborhood who do you think that homeowner will recommend. That person is going to be telling his neighbors hey your roofs are smashed and mine didn’t have any damage.

    I’m just saying there is a better way. Stop putting low quality products on roofs that cannot withstand wind and hail.

    I believe that the best products always win. Your profit margins are going to be greater; people will love you more and refer you more people. We need to install absolutely the best roof. People are going to brag about you and they’re going to pay you top dollar to do it. When your roof performs well people are going to spread the word around about your business.

    Buying an Expensive Work Truck

    Number three, buying a big fancy lifted humongous truck. I see it all the time some young hotshot in his big ass ridiculous truck. So uneconomical and inefficient for the job it just amazes me why you need this big truck to carry your ass around town on an everyday basis.

    Now we’re getting into the controversial stuff. For me it is a close-minded decision to buy yourself a real big lifted truck with giant wheels and stuff. What are we high school kids here? No, we are professionals and need to present ourselves accordingly.

    I have trucks in my business as well, but you also must be practical, and you also have to think about how your potential customers and your current customers are looking at you. A few things about huge trucks they’re just not efficient and I don’t know about you, but I don’t need my ass to be carried around town on a real big truck getting 10 miles per gallon.

    I get tons of compliments from homeowners about how efficient we are because we use practical utility service vehicles. When you do little things like that you change the perception about how people look at you as a business owner.

    As a business owner maybe, you want people to have the perception of you as a big-time contractor, a big boss. If you’re doing government work, if you’re doing really big commercial stuff, maybe it’s your style nothing wrong with that but you have to make a good decision. If that’s what you want fine, go with the huge very expensive truck. But I recommend you make a more conservative decision for your business.

    I put my sales guys in the service vehicles something very presentable. I want people to look at my company as a service company, not as a big contracting firm. I actually see a lot of feedback from homeowners they say things like, we go with you because we see how you are professional, how you run a business economically, and we just trust you and not that guy we saw in the big truck.

    So, if you have money keep it to yourself, don’t show it off. This is just my friendly advice. Again, this is how people see us in the roofing business. I believe if you drive a service vehicle people see you as a service provider. When you drive a big lifted truck, they see you as a paper contractor who’s only looking out for himself. This is not the perception I want to make on my customers.

    A big truck in this business is a small-minded decision indeed.

    Doesn’t Take Repair Jobs

    Number four, not doing repairs. I see a lot of business owners who are just not into doing repairs for various reasons. They claim that they cannot make money. They cannot find people to do them. I mean for me this is just more unacceptable excuses of close-minded thinking.

    If you’re serious about growing your business and I hope that you are, then most of your calls are going to be service calls. For example, people don’t go to a car dealership to buy cars every month, but they do go every three months for an oil change. Guess what, when you go for an oil change, you go for service. This is where a lot of transactions are happening besides just the oil change.

    Again, using the example of the auto industry, dealers who offer service sell way more cars then dealers that don’t. People don’t wake up in the morning thinking ok I need a new car. We always think we want to fix it; we want to extend the vehicle life.

    The same goes with the roofing industry. People don’t wake up in the morning like ok I’m going to spend $20,000 on the roof today. It doesn’t happen, people want to make smart decision they’re always going to try to repair the roof.

    If they call your company and say hey, I want to get a quote to repair a roof and you say that your company does not offer it. Guess what, maybe it can be repaired but maybe they do need new roof. So, by not offering repairs, not even taking those phone calls or not doing small jobs your losing out on a potential windfall of business transactions.

    You must think big and a lot of big jobs will come from repairs. The repairs can be profitable. You don’t have to do them super cheap. You must learn how to charge properly for your repairs. Being in the repair business is smart. Not offering repairs is dumb close-minded thinking.

    Relying on Word-of-Mouth

    Number five, simply relying on word-of-mouth. I hear contractors tell me all the time I don’t need to advertise, I don’t need to put coupons out there, I don’t need marketers, I don’t need a good website, I’m good, people in town know about me.

    I get my business from word-of-mouth. When you ask them about real numbers it’s never past like 1 million. So, relying on word-of-mouth is good but if you want to think big, think about what word-of-mouth is today, where the math is today. I can assure you that relying on word of mouth is not what it used to be twenty years ago.

    Twenty years ago, you could get away with it but if you’re relying on that word-of-mouth today, you’re missing out on a lot of great opportunities out there. Today’s word-of-mouth is online. It’s on social media, things like Facebook, it’s in reviews, it’s on the various platforms, it’s on different apps, and if you’re not there where people are exchanging information you’re losing out to a lot of potential customers.

    So, get out of the dinosaur age because you’re about to go extinct. People do spread the word about contractors. They also share information and recommendations via word-of-mouth, but word-of-mouth is now online.

    If you’re not online then you’re small-minded thinking and I feel bad for you.

    Refusing to Go Digital

    Number six and last on my list of small-minded thinking is relying on paperwork. The joke in my company is that we are a paperless company. Unfortunately, we’re not. We still have a lot of paperwork mainly because we do a lot of insurance work.

    You must work with insurance, and you must print claims. I mean technically you could do it paperless. My team is a little bit old-school but here’s the thing, I can run my company from anywhere in the world. I can go to Australia tomorrow and I don’t have to bother anybody.

    I can look at the CRM status and have the job be digital. You must be online, and you must be able to work remotely from the job site. So, you must invest in just a couple of apps. It’s not a lot of them. A good CRM, good picture management software that connects you to a company camera. That is all you need.

    The point is, when you invest in digital, you can run your company without relying on the paperwork. You don’t have to be in the office. You can work from home, you can work from out of state, you’re always going to be efficient, your business is going to keep growing.

    If you are relying on paperwork, it’s just slowing you down. It’s way too small close-minded thinking if you want to grow your business today and into the future.

    So, that is my list of the six dumbest close-minded decisions that roofing business owners still do, to this day in 2019.

    What did I miss, let me know in comments below. If you don’t agree with some of them, and I know a lot of you probably don’t, comment below. When I hear from you, if you’ve done those mistakes or others I want to hear, I want to start the conversation.

    Dmitry Lipinskiy
    Host of Roofing Insights YouTube channel CEO of Storm Group Roofing Founder of Roofing Business School

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