In the roofing industry, some business owners choose to give back to homeowners and their local communities by giving away free roofs.
While the intentions behind these giveaways are often good, sometimes roofing business owners attempt to capitalize on their generosity by recording and then marketing their good deed.
For Roofing Insights CEO Dmitry Lipinskiy, he finds this type of behavior reprehensible.
“As much as I like helping homeowners, I hate giving away free roofs,” says Lipinskiy, who is the former owner of a successful roofing company.
Recently, Aaron Blackwell from Wholesale Roofers in Virginia Beach, Virginia broadcast a roof giveaway, much to the chagrin of Lipinskiy, who prefers humility over braggadocio.
“I love Aaron and what he’s doing at his roofing company,” says Lipinskiy. “I don’t want to discourage any business owners from giving back to homeowners, but when I was watching the video that Aaron posted, there were quite a few elements that didn’t sit well with me.”
Keep reading to learn the five reasons why Lipinskiy hates free roof giveaways!
1. Giving is good
In roofing, there is nothing wrong with being charitable, particularly when it comes to helping homeowners who cannot pay out-of-pocket for full roof replacements.
“You will never hear me say that giving is bad. In fact, I recommend that successful roofing contractors give back, especially to homeowners who cannot afford your services,” says Lipinskiy.
For the record, Lipinskiy doesn’t condemn roofers who give away free roofs.
Instead, he just doesn’t like how some roofing companies broadcast their giveaways.
“Giveaways are not something I would air. While giveaways are good, they also have to be done right,”
“I am a firm believer that when you are helping someone, your right hand should not know what your left hand is doing, meaning I don’t believe in publicizing giveaways.”
2. Do not bring attention to yourself
When a roof giveaway is recorded and published, it will spur praise for the roofing company who organized the event.
This alone is not inherently bad, but some companies try to leverage that exposure to generate future business, an approach that Lipinskiy does not endorse.
“Bringing attention to yourself when you’re giving away a roof for free is bad,” says Lipinskiy.
“I look at it like this: when you bring cameras and want to tell the world you gave away $10,000 [in some markets the cost of a new roof], it comes off as self-serving.”
In the case of Aaron Blackwell and Wholesale Roofers, Lipinskiy admired Blackwell’s generosity, but he didn’t support the hoopla that surrounded his event.
“I can’t agree to running a marketing campaign that revolves around charity,” says Lipinskiy.
3. Advertising is good
In order to grow in the roofing business, companies need to invest in marketing and advertising.
As a former roofing business owner, Lipinskiy elevated his company with clever marketing campaigns, which is why he encourages students in his Roofing Business School to spend at least five percent of their revenue on marketing and advertising.
At the same time, Lipinskiy doesn’t believe that a free roof giveaway should be included in a roofing company’s marketing plan.
“I want you to advertise your roofing business and be a good guy within your community. Without advertising, you won’t be able to build a successful roofing company,” reveals Lipinskiy, before adding that the marketing done by a roofing company should revolve around providing value to homeowners, which is why a free roof giveaway doesn’t make sense.
“Homeowners buy roofs from contractors they trust, and a roofing company can break that trust by making a free roof giveaway video that is done in poor taste.”
4. Advertising charity is bad
“It’s one thing to advertise that you’re a good roofing company, but it’s another thing to advertise how much you give back,” says Lipinskiy.
This is another reason why Lipinskiy doesn’t support broadcasting free roof giveaways, because he feels that doing so detracts from the actual charitable endeavor.
“As a roofing contractor, if you come off as disingenuous, homeowners will question your intentions and character. When you advertise charity, the charity loses its power because it is starting to become something that most people don’t like,” Lipinskiy explains.
5. Give back because you want to; don’t do it for vanity
Ultimately, contractors should only do free roof giveaways because they want to help homeowners in need, not because they want to leverage the campaign to drive new business.
In that sense, there is nothing wrong with doing a free roof giveaway.
It’s only when the cameras come out that a roofing contractor’s intentions are questioned.
“It’s good to be known as someone who gives back to the community, but it’s very bad to be known as someone who gives back in order to pander to the cameras,” says Lipinskiy, who then mentions that he knows some roofing contractors who won’t give back unless it is for their own gain.
“I know a few people who won’t do anything good unless there is a press release and everyone is talking about it.”
In addition to the five reasons listed above, Lipinskiy also says that he once did a roof giveaway when he was a business owner, but after going through that process, he didn’t feel inclined to do another roof giveaway.
“Years ago, my former roofing company ended up giving a free roof to a military veteran, but I did not like the whole experience because I had to pick one homeowner and say no to two other homeowners. Overall, it just wasn’t pleasant for me,” Lipinskiy explains.
Fortunately, that poor experience didn’t deter Lipinskiy from finding other ways to give back.
At last year’s Roofing Process Conference, Lipinskiy gave away two Equipters to contractors who attended the event.
Lipinskiy says his goal in giving away the Equipters was to not only help roofing contractors, but also give them something that they could use to grow their business.
“With the Equipter, Roofing Insights wanted to give away something to our community that could be used as a way to propel a business forward. Something like an Equipter could change the trajectory of a roofing business,” he says.
Lastly, while Lipinskiy took umbrage with Aaron Blackwell and Wholesale Roofing’s decision to post their roof giveaway, Lipinskiy is also adamant that his dissatisfaction is not directed at Blackwell personally, or his roofing company.
“I’m not trying to call Aaron out,”
“I’m just trying to share my feelings regarding giving away free roofs to homeowners.”