Why Technology is Key to Success in 2021


By Karen Edwards, RT3

At the start of last year, the construction industry had added more than $900 billion to the U.S. economy according to Deloitte. This was the highest level since the recession of 2008. When COVID-19 had other plans in mind for us, the industry lost $60.9 billion and more than a million workers; however 2021 is expected to bring some opportunities.

The experts at Deloitte predict that technology is going to play a key role in keeping the industry stable and moving forward into 2021, writing, “Connected technologies and an increase in associated investments may help firms realize new operational efficiencies.”

If you aren’t taking advantage of all the technologies that can help your roofing business, head over to the RT3 Think Tank’s solutions directory to see what resources other contractors are using.

Here's what to expect in 2021 — and what role technology will play:

Surge in residential roofing. Research reported by The Freedonia Group indicates that the market is expected to grow by .02% through 2024 to reach 253 million squares. They attribute this growth to the increase in housing starts, followed by the need to repair and replace the roofs of aging homes.

Senior Analyst Matt Zielenski writes, “A rebound is expected in 2021, driven by continued growth in the residential market and an improving economy.” Zielenski is considered a seasoned expert on the industry, having conducted more than 70 in-depth market research studies.

Downturn in commercial roofing. Freedonia also predicts that the commercial roofing market will fall by .06% per year, dropping to 88.9 million squares by 2024. They cite a drop in commercial construction activity related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The need to allow employees to work remotely has demonstrated to many companies that they don’t need the same amount of office space as they did before the pandemic. This has left many commercial office spaces empty, with owners unwilling to invest large amounts of money in a roof replacement. This may present an opportunity for commercial roofing contractors to consider adding maintenance and restoration services to their product offerings as owners look for ways to extend the lives of their roofing system.

Overall, while the industry will see a slight decline in commercial roofing work, there are opportunities. For example, contractors should consider becoming certified or trained in commercial roof restorations and expand their service and maintenance operations as indicators point to more owners wanting to extend the life of their roof. 

Measuring business success differently. Roofing contractors will need to rethink how they measure their business success in 2021. RT3 member Charles Antis of Antis Roofing and Waterproofing in Irvine, California, shared with RoofersCoffeeShop® that he is changing how he evaluates success in the coming year. 

“I'm not measuring 2021 in terms of growth by overall sales, because there's some things in the market that I don't know right now,” explained Antis. “I don't know how the HOA industry that I'm selling to is going to value their product. Are they going to continue to let us sell them complete re-roofs over 500 units for $3 million, or are they going to switch to a format where [they want to extend] the life of the roof, and therefore spend $300,000 a year or whatever that number is?” 

Antis is focused on strengthening and elevating his company’s brand. He began that focus throughout 2020 when he converted his warehouse space into a safe facility to host blood drives for the Red Cross. His company also had a strong focus on giving back to the community by volunteering to deliver meals to those facing a shortage of food. 

“We're ending the year much more powerful than we began because our brand and market is up,” said Antis.