Roofing is not an easy way to earn money. Roofing professionals and contractors face several challenges such as labor shortage, a surge in prices of material, limited color options, miscommunication with the clients, late payments, unpredictable weather conditions, work-life balance, market competition, lack of proper training, etc. Such challenges have resulted in the de-valuing of the business of roofing as well as it has resulted in the development of mistrust between contractor and client. Let us elaborate on these challenges in this article, for better understanding and for finding out possible solutions to tackle these problems.
Table of Contents
- Biggest Challenges Faced by Roofing Professionals
- How to Fix these Issues?
Biggest Challenges Faced by Roofing Professionals
1- Labor Shortage
"Roofing is a labor-intensive industry. It requires more manpower to give better output but labor shortage has created a major hindrance in the growth of this business. The contractors have failed to meet up the demands of the public due to less skilled laborers. Hence, contractors are unable to complete the construction on time and have led down their work. To meet up their expenses, contractors have raised their rates. It was reported that in 2008, the subprime mortgage bubble burst led America to “The Great Recession”. The US Department of Labor Statistics reported that 40% of the labor force, meant for construction, disappeared. They joined the oil and gas industry and never came back. It created a vacuum in the roofing industry. Although the US economy has improved again and the roofing business is rebounded but the gap created by the recession was never filled leading to a major labor shortage in the construction industry." by Pat Jewell (Founder or Residential Contractor at capital improvement.)
Inflation is an unfortunate reality of the evolving world. It has affected the roofing industry as well. The cost of the material increases every 2-3 months. The roofing industry is experiencing a sudden rise in the prices of materials, since Covid-19. According to National Home Builder’s Association, the lumber industry, the most important source of roofing material, has witnessed a rise in prices up to 14.9%. As per the situation, roofers would have to increase their rates to make their business profitable. In turn, clients would be paying much more, than ever before. It creates an air of stress and clients doubt the intentions of the contractors. This will lead to mistrust between them.
3- Limited Color Options
Clients are offered limited color options because the manufacturers are providing only three-color choices to the roofers and hence, roofers are left with no choice but to offer the client only those three. That’s why clients are unhappy and not much satisfied.
4- Unpredictable Weather Conditions
"In addition, unpredictable weather is also creating a problem for the roofing industry. This is the biggest challenge faced by the roofers. It was observed in 2021, storms and hurricanes have damaged roofs all across the country. Moreover, sudden weather changes can lead to rework or create hurdles in roof installation." by Andrew Johnson (CEO at Prime Seamless)
5- Late Payments
Delayed payment is also a challenge in this field leading to creating strain between the client and contractor. Contractors are not paid on time; therefore, they are unable to pay their workers and sub-contractors.
One roofing contractor might be managing more than one project at a time. Due to overburden and high demand of work, the contractor fails to maintain balance and provide on-time project completion. Therefore, this overburden causes a challenge in the work-life balance of a roofing contractor.
7- Market Competition
Demand for construction is increasing day by day and so is the labor demand. Since the roofing industry is experiencing a labor shortage, the rising construction demand necessitates a great number of construction jobs. Hence, more experienced professionals and entrepreneurs are entering this industry. The increased number of companies has resulted in tight market competition as every state has hundreds of business persons in the roofing industry. To stay in the market, you have to set your rates better and should maintain your quality than others but at a profitable percentage that can make you stand out. Roofing is all about quality and performance. This is a big challenge in the roofing industry.
8- Poor Marketing Strategies
The roofing industry has been following old-school tricks of marketing. It lacks an effective marketing strategy and hence is facing decline.
9- Safety Issues
Generally, roofing seems a profitable industry but at the same time, it becomes highly dangerous if the workers are not properly equipped. It can lead to work injuries that may lead to death. A flat roof ensures the safety of the crew member but the roofs of the US are constructed at a certain angle. The steep roofing designs put the life of a worker in danger.
10- Unhappy Customers
If you are a roofer, you would be aware of the fact that not everything goes as planned. If any mistake happens, the customer will be unhappy. The unhappy customers lead to negative feedback and reviews. You should have a backup plan to please the unhappy customers.
How to Fix these Issues?
1- Replacement of Manpower with Technology
If you want to fix the labor shortage issue, you would need the replacement for the manpower. The world has evolved so has construction technology. Shifting your services to automatic machines will not only speed up your construction work but will also help in trust-building between you and your clients. For heavy roofing material, you can use laddervators.
2- Offering Apprenticeship
To curb the challenge of unskilled laborers, you should offer them apprenticeships instead of jobs. Offer them incentives and work bonuses in case of good efficiency. It will increase their hunger for learning and they will work more efficiently and responsibly. In addition, it will grow the experience and will also improve their skills.
3- Make your business profitable
If you want to stay in the market, try to maintain a proper margin by charging more but fair prices. Any roofers are failing and are out of the business due to over-charging or not maintaining their profit.
4- Payments in Instalments
To solve the delayed payment issues, encourage the payments in at least three installments. The installments should be as 20% upon start of the business, 30% on completion of half work, and the remaining 50% should be paid on completion of the project.
5- Solution for Extreme Weather Destructions
Use clay tiles and stones tiles to avoid the destructions caused by weather extremes. This building material is highly durable and is also able to withstand heavy rains, winds, and storms.
6- Effective Marketing Strategies
Choose the strategies that can help you to stand out among the business fraternity. You should quit traditional marketing strategies. Adapt modern marketing skills such as digital marketing tools and content marketing ideas.