The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world in more ways than we could imagine. Coronavirus has not only affected human lives, but it has also jolted the world economy and adversely affected many businesses, especially smaller ones.
Businesses had to shut down, and many start-ups could not move into the second year of their operations. Layoffs left many unemployed, and many lost their lives to the virus.
The roofing industry also suffered from these setbacks. From canceled projects to delivery delays, there are many ways coronavirus changed the Commercial roofing installation industry.
Learn more about commercial and residential roofing companies that can provide you quality roofing services during the pandemic.
The social distancing mandate has made it difficult for roofing contractors to schedule an appointment with their clients. People are not even calling for a roof inspection due to the fear of exposing themselves to the virus. There have been many job cancellations and rescheduling affecting roofing companies’ revenues. The bigger ones could sustain, but smaller companies and individual contractors had to suffer business losses.
Supply Chain disruptions
The pandemic has put restrictions on the movements of goods worldwide, leading to cancellation and material delivery delays. China supplies around 30% of roofing construction material to the US. With China’s borders shutting down, there was a huge supply shortage of building materials. It led to an increase in the price of copper, aluminum, and casework.
Lack of workforce is another effect of the pandemic that has slowed down the roofing industry. Travel restrictions, home quarantine mandates, and the fear of getting exposed to the virus have made workers confined to their homes.
Unlike the software or consulting business, roofing installation cannot happen from home.
Many local jurisdictions have stopped taking applications for permits and inspections, and many have delayed the service. It has put roofing contractors into a challenging situation because their SLAs are getting affected.
A decline in commercial roofing sales
Many businesses have moved to work from home and remote setup, vacating their office premises for good. It has resulted in an oversupply of commercial buildings and a decline in new building constructions. Therefore, decreasing the demand for new roofing installations. Experts project the demand for commercial roofing in the USA to fall 0.6% annually to 88.9 million squares by 2024.
Like other industries, roofing industry employees are anxious about their health against the spread of coronavirus. The employers are in a dilemma to ask employees to come to work. Every employer needs to ensure that their employees are safe and not exposed to the virus on their work premises.
How is the commercial roofing industry coping with the pandemic?
Roofing installation is a labor-intensive, on-the-field job. Thus, it is challenging for the roofers to work off-site. However, they are transiting to digital mediums like satellite imagery for proposals and digital templates for delivering paperwork. Many roofing companies already use software like EagleView or SkyMeasure to measure the roof without climbing up.
Generating leads through the internet
Many roofers trust the face to face meetings for generating leads. They follow the traditional approach of knocking at the doors and offering their services. The pandemic has left them with no choice but to search for clients online.
Many of these roofing companies and contractors have listed their businesses on popular business directories where the homeowners can search for them.
Roofing companies are also promoting themselves on various social media platforms to expand their reach to millions of social media users.
Closing a bid on video
For a roofer, closing a deal in person is a comfortable strategy. They like to give their personal touch to the clients. But, social distancing has put them on video conversations. There are video and voice call applications like Skype or Zoom to make the video interactions smooth. The contractors can discuss the roofing details and negotiate with building owners just as they did face to face.
Touch-free pickups and deliveries
For the sake of maintaining social distance, roofing companies are strictly following touch-free movements of materials, pickups, and deliveries. They also take extra care to remain touch-free while working on-site by setting up handwashing stations, providing sanitizers to laborers, avoiding sharing of tools as much as possible, and ensuring that every labor wears a mask.
Reworking on the contract terms
Roofing companies and contractors are redesigning their contracts to accommodate the post-pandemic changes in the roofing business. The roofing companies should evaluate their supply chain and establish the weaknesses. They need to realize different supply sources and brace themselves for value increases. The contractors must ensure that their contracts have applicable provisions to guard themselves against delays, interruptions, and higher costs due to the coronavirus.
What can roofing contractors do to safeguard themselves against rising costs, bidding failures job cancellations?
Add a price acceleration cost in the contract.
It might be difficult for a roofing contractor to add a price increase clause in the contract because the customers and the prime contractors may be looking at a fixed price contract. Therefore, the roofing contractor should buy and store the materials to avoid cost fluctuation.
The roofing contractor can also ask the customers for an advance for buying the required materials.
Roofing is an essential service that at times needs immediate attention. Amid pandemic, it is a challenge for the roofing contractors and the customers to get the job done without exposing themselves to the virus. However, with digital mediums and touch-free solutions, roofers can perform the task as accurately as before.
Experts expect the residential roofing industry to recover in 2021, driven by continued growth in the residential market and an improving economy. While overall roofing installations are projected to rise in 2024, it is expected that the demand for commercial roofing will fall due to many businesses working remotely.
Having said that, The roofing companies should ensure that their employees are strictly following the COVID-19 guidelines and maintaining social distance at the workplace until the virus is gone.