Do you remember the fables and fairy tales your parents read to you when you were a kid? Those stories contained colorful characters in a variety of astonishing situations, but they did something more important– they served as cautionary tales. Chances are, you still have vivid memories of Hansel, Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood, and an assortment of evil witches.
By the time you’re through reading this blog post, you’ll remember Roofer #1, Roofer #2, and Roofer #3, just as vividly. Settle in for a roofing fable– a cautionary tale about the metal roofing sales process. And, yes, there is a moral at the end of each story.
Roofer #1 Gives an Estimate over the Phone
Once upon a time, there was Roofer #1 who sat upon a cushy office chair throne in his air conditioned office.. He wore a dirty t-shirt and his jeans were full of holes, for he seldom interacted with homeowners face-to-face. His record books collected dust like long-forgotten ancient tomes, and his accounting software was neglected in favor of Spider Solitaire and fantasy sports apps.
Little did Roofer # 1 know, he was living in a fantasy world of his own. One day, the phone rang. Lo and behold, it was a homeowner!
“Hello. Roofer #1 Roof Installation,” he answered.
“Hello,” the homeowner replied, “I’d like to install a new metal roof. I live at 425 Grandmother’s House Lane. Can you give me an estimate?”
Roofer #1’s office was air conditioned, and the world outside was hot, bright, and lacked quick access to fantasy sports. Springing into action, he pulled up Google Earth and found the homeowner’s dwelling.
After viewing the grainy photograph, he concocted a random number based partially on prior experience.
Thus, he spoke the estimate to the homeowner and hung up the phone. No matter if he got the job or not, there would be no fairy tale ending for Roofer #1.
Moral: Roofer #1 is lazy. Good estimates don’t come from lazy roofers, so lazy roofers seldom stay in business for long. There’s almost no chance his estimate is going to be accurate, even if the homeowner accepts it. The homeowner is left in the dark about materials and the installation process. A good estimate is not quick, dirty, and done from a distance. Either he’ll be losing money or the homeowner will be unhappy— and word of mouth travels quickly.
Roofer #2 Estimates off the Top of his Head
Roofer #2 was well-liked by his friends and peers. He wanted to do well, but he had a tendency to avoid the most difficult parts of his job. He did not care for details, either. Still, he wanted his customers to be happy with their new metal roof. He was trying and he cared. He was already a step above Roofer #1.
One beautiful summer day, Roofer #2’s phone rang.
“Hello. Roofer #2 Roofing Services,” he answered.
“Hello,” the homeowner replied, “I’d like to update my roof. I live at 425 Grandmother’s House Lane. Can you give me an estimate?”
“Sure,” Roofer #2 replied. “I’ll be over in an hour to look at your house.”
90 minutes later, Roofer #2 pulled up to the homeowner’s two-story cottage. His pickup truck belched smoke from its tailpipe like the fiercest dragon in the land. As he descended from his air-conditioned cab, the homeowner saw he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
‘At least his jeans aren’t full of holes,’ the homeowner mused to herself.
Roofer #2 quickly looked over the house. Judging from past experiences, he produced a number off the top of his head. He wrote the estimate on his card of business and handed it to the homeowner.
With a nod of the head, he climbed in his truck and rode off into the sunset.
The homeowner accepted the estimate, but all did not go according to plan. Roofer #2 was crushed when the project fell behind and went over budget. The homeowner was not happy. Roofer #2 wanted to do right by his customer, but he did not fully understand the metal roofing sales process.
None of them lived happily ever after.
Moral: Roofer #2 at least put some effort into his sales process. He cared about his work and his customer. Unfortunately, though, he learned that a little caring and effort aren’t enough. A good estimate requires real research. For a roofer who cares about his customers and his end-product, the sales process determines whether or not a job is successful; both in terms of homeowner satisfaction and a roofing company’s profitability.
Roofer #3 was one of the most popular contractors in the land. When he wasn’t slaying ogres and restoring order to the kingdom, he was answering questions from homeowners, making sure his books were balanced, and taking care of his employees.
One day, Roofer #3 was looking up material costs on a manufacturer’s website when his phone rang.
“Hello. #3 Roofing,” he answered.
“Hi. I need a new metal roof,” said the homeowner. “I live at 425 Grandmother’s House Lane. Can you give me an estimate?”
“Sure, I’ll be over in an hour,” Roofer #3 replied.
Roofer #3 arrived at the homeowner’s house approximately 50 minutes after the call. He politely knocked on the door. When the homeowner saw him, she couldn’t believe her eyes. He wore a neatly-pressed workshirt with his company logo, clean work pants, and clean boots.
Roofer #3 was tired from protecting his kingdom all day, but he still put everything he had into the home inspection. It took him a few hours to inspect the home, including the old roof, and he asked the homeowner what she preferred in regards to her new roof’s aesthetics, longevity, durability, and eco-friendliness.
“Do you have an estimate for me?” she asked.
“Not yet. I need some time to give you an accurate estimate. But I’ll call you in two hours, unless you’d like me to call you in the morning,” Roofer #3 replied.
She agreed, and Roofer #3 rode all the way back to his office.
He spent an hour and 45 minutes painstakingly researching her home, material costs, labor costs, and every other factor regarding her project.
He called her in less than two hours and gave her the estimates for steel and aluminum, for galvalume and galvanized, told her the difference between brands, and answered her questions and concerns about the color of her roof and the required maintenance.
They spent another 45 minutes on the phone, but he described available warranty packages (on both installation and materials), and clearly demonstrated the value of his services.
By the end of that fabled day, Roofer #3 built a relationship with the homeowner. She trusted him because he was professional, because he went the extra mile by answering all of her questions, and because he put in the right amount of research for her new metal roof. She felt like he cared about doing a good job and she trusted him.
Time passed, and soon the sun set on the homeowner’s roofing project. It came to an end, as all things do. The project was finished on time and the estimate was accurate.
Songs of the roofer’s skill and nobility spread throughout the land, earning him audiences with many other homeowners.
This time, they lived happily ever after.
Moral: Roofer #3’s sales process included laborious research. He took the time to understand the homeowner’s concerns, preferences, and needs. He offered her a variety of solutions, and then did his research on each one. He never pulled a number out of thin air, so the project was successful and the homeowner was happy. A good estimate is the key to a good job.
Roofer #3 understood the metal roofing sales process. He knew how to demonstrate value by answering questions and keeping the homeowner’s desires in mind. He went the extra mile and proved his services were more valuable than his competitor’s.
After all, he showed up on time, delivered an accurate estimate, and paid attention to the details. He built a relationship during the sales process and earned his customer’s trust.
The next time you’re giving an estimate, or you’re in the middle of the sales process, ask yourself one question– are you behaving like Roofer #1, Roofer #2, or Roofer #3? In that answer lies the success of your roofing business.