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By Karen Edwards, RT3
Materials are harder to come by and prices are on the rise as demand continues to be greater than supply for roofing products. We all know that we are experiencing a shortage, and it can be frustrating to feel like you have no control over the situation. That’s why it’s more important than ever to focus on what you can control and understand how you can use technology to help you do that.
Here are 4 suggestions:
1. Communication tools. Communicating with your customers about the material shortages the industry is facing will be critical to coming out on the other side unblemished. Be sure your website clearly states that projects are experiencing longer-than-normal lead times due to these material shortages. Set up your CRM software to keep track of the conversations you are having and send weekly updates to those customers waiting on work, even if you have no new information to report. It’s better than having them hear nothing at all.
2. Material tracking apps. Distributors today offer the technology contractors need to stay on top of their material orders and delivery timeframes – all at no cost to the contractor. Using your distributors app on your phone can allow you to see the status of your material orders and know exactly when you’ll be able to start a project. Many offer real-time tracking that shows you where your materials are on the map. In addition, these apps and services let you obtain measurements, develop estimates, view and pay invoices, submit rebates. In some cases, they help generate leads for your business by providing storm and hail information for specific neighborhoods in your service area.
3. Leverage the internet. Now is the time to turn to your network of roofing peers across the country. An online roofing community, like the one provided by RT3 member RoofersCoffeeShop®, is a place to talk with your fellow roofing professionals. Find out what others are experiencing and hear tips on how they are handling the issues. Be sure to explore the classified ad section while there, as materials and equipment are frequently listed for sale.The National Roofing Contractors Association has launched an online resource to provide contractors with important information regarding the supply chain shortages. Check it regularly for the latest news, announcements, and updates on the situation.
4. Become best friends with your reps. While relationships have been key for years and don’t require technology to be developed, it can play a role in enhanced communications. Your sales reps are tied in with the manufacturers and distributors and are frequently in the know about news and happenings as it relates to issues like supply and demand. Be sure your rep has your cell phone number and check in with them regularly via a quick text or email to get a heads up on availability.
Things will improve over time as we get the economy moving again and businesses continue to open up, but in the meantime, overcommunicate and, as RT3 member Trent Cotney of Cotney – Attorneys & Consultants writes in this recent article, be sure to address the issues in your contracts with customers to protect your business.
Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) is a group of progressive roofing professionals focused on technology solutions for the roofing industry. Karen Edwards is its communications and engagement leader.