The roofing industry has changed and grown in the last 125 years. Innovations in materials, equipment, regulations, and insurance keep the professional roofing contractors busy. However, there are some variables that will always remain the same. One of the most prominent and challenging is educating our friends and customers to look beyond the cheapest price and find the best value.
We maintain that there are many things that differentiate Weathercraft Company from Brand X and the “fly-by-night” contractors that litter our industry. First, longevity and stability are, often times, great indicators of a reputable business. Two, find out if Brand X owns or leases their offices or has no office and works out of a truck. Does Brand X require a sizable advance (deposit) before the project’s start? If so, they may not have the capital or financial backing of a lender. Weathercraft has been in business since 1982. Our offices have been in the same location for almost two decades and owned. Lastly, we have the capital to operate our business and provide service after the sale.
A professional roofing contractor has all full time employees not subcontract labor. This allows Weathercraft to have more control over quality, safety, and how the project is managed. Unfortunately this degree of professionalism has additional costs. We provide state mandated worker’s compensation insurance, benefits, social security and other payroll taxes, and routine training. In addition, we provide an ongoing safety program, contribute to the local community, operate out of an office / warehouse, and provide a general liability policy with a multi-million dollar umbrella. The professional roofing contractor assumes the risk and resolves any problems for one, two, or even five years after the installation. Do these characteristics sound reasonable? Absolutely! Unfortunately these expenses are frequently absent from Brand X’s operating expenses – in order to provide the “best” or cheapest price.
Finally and quite possibly the most important is accountability. When you invest in a roof system, you are purchasing more than just a roof – you are purchasing the security of knowing your building is water tight. You may know this as “service after the sale,” quality, or “service recovery.” We call it accountability! The difference is rarely noticed in the bid phase of the project. Only after the work is complete and the checks have cleared are these characteristics discovered. Only then do you find that Brand X never completed the punch list, failed to provide you with close out documents (manufacturer’s warranties) or provides an excuse to why your leaks are always excluded from the warranty.
With the above in mind, I ask, “Was it a better price or did Brand X not include everything you expected?”