What’s the best % to budget for emergency maintenance?

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Recently, a lot of our client’s have asked us about planning emergency maintenance budget’s and were curious on how to better stretch their HOA dollar’s. We will gladly tackle this question, because it’s important for property manager’s, maintenance divisions, and homeowner’s. Our definition of a emergency maintenance budget:  Item’s, which typically are not a concern or an ongoing issue for an individual, organization. This budget would help you fix emergency leaking, falling siding, etc.

For Condominiums/townhouses

Checklist items to have access to:

  • Running inventory of the age of exterior products (siding, windows, roofing, etc)
  • List of recent renovations & their contractor’s (along with warranties)
  • Yearly HOA receivables & yearly vendor bills (lawn care, tree’s, garbage).

These item’s will represent what must be completed every year to maintain your complex as is and now you see the product’s that are on the “best side” of a worst to best condition list. So now your board can focus a larger  % of receivables on the “worst side” such as those $25,000 + renovation project’s. Yet, where does this leave the maintenance budget? Our rule of thumb is 5% (low-end) to 15% (high-end) should be planned for emergency repairs or an escrow account. We understand not all repairs are the responsiblity of a property management company and might be the homeowners, but this doesn’t mean the funds will be wasted. A number of management companies we know will apply any unused fund to those larger renovation project’s or leave in an escrow account in case of an insurance claim (deductible)

The problem we found with condominium’s and committee board’s is the number of individual’s involved. A lot of the “wish list” renovation’s are decided by vote from designated committee members, which does speed up renovations. However if it’s possible, we recommend gathering insight from the on-site maintenance person or previous vendor’s during your review. We don’t suggest taking their vote as part of the decision (Constitutional bylaws), but take their advice with merit. These serviceman generally know your complexes extremely well and they’ll be honest to you, because there’s always problems throughout the complex. The input of the vendors/serviceman may shift your committee’s desire to replace that wood siding instead of installing a new pond liner.

The best part of having a 5 to 15% safety net you can afford an expert or reputable companies. Often organization’s will be tight on their budget, which lead’s them to hiring the unqualified contractor for 1/2 the cost of the local vendor. We understand every governing community is different in what’s important to them, but it will never hurt you to have 5 to 15% planned yearly.

Lansing, Illinois 2.jpg

Homeowner’s

If you’re a homeowner then consider asking your “jack of all trades” neighbor, a licensed contractor, or call a licensed home inspector. Start these discussion’s off with “what item’s do you believe are my worst to best?”

Cost of these services:

  • Neighbor – Case of beer or a favor
  • Home Inspector – A scale fee based on how many items are reviewed
  • Contractor – Cost of your time (Often Free Estimates)

 

The amount we advise budgeting for a family or property owner is 2 to 5% of the property value. This recommended number is far less than townhouse/condo complexes (5 to 15%) due to their sheer size and # of issues. It’s far more common for condominium board’s to spend $100,000 on lawn maintenance than a homeowner to spend the equivalent. In addition, homeowners are not paying HOA fees and they have complete control over the repairs/vendors. The biggest reason this 2 to 5% is key, because A LOT of insurance providers are changing their policy holders to deductibles of 1 to 3% of their property value, which puts you in the driver seat of the ultimate emergency. We advise applying the unused amount in an insurance deductible escrow account or transfer it to your next big home remodel (HVAC, roofing, windows, etc.)

Lansing, IL.jpg

 

 

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Solving the “but I recently bought the house” question.

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Every contractor encounters client’s who begin the conversation with “but I recently bought this house” dilemma.  Generally this opening line occurs once the homeowner  discloses an ongoing problem such as: leaking roof, damaged drywall near windows, and etc.  Personally, I’ve already encountered this scenario 4 times and year is not over. So why is it prevalent that many homeowners seem confused about product lifespan or is homeownership not projected properly?

collapsing hosue

Understanding US Housing statistics:

The average individual in the United States purchases between 3-5 homes in their lifetime (starter home, family home, downsizing home, retirement, etc.). Generally this much exposure to properties (under the expectation – not all homes were newly built) mean’s you’ve already had an issue or will experience such an issue in your lifetime. So we provided key insight’s (common knowledge) and a few “nuggets” to prevent calling a contractor a year after the closing. So how do you protect yourself from being like one of my clients?

First thing: Understand what homeownership means:

Review the true demands of homeownership and begin reviewing the expected costs of lawn maintenance, seasonal maintenance, change your books of choice from the Dark Tower to DIY stuff. A great insight is to compare renting vs owning materials.  Keep in mind, a home is similar to car minus the rapid deprecation, but the components that make your house very much depreciate and deteriorate. These items include: AC units, Water heaters, siding, windows, carpet, light fixtures, and roofs!

rent vs buy.png

Second thing: Before buying a LEMON do these items:

  1. Understand your true price and what you can afford (Yes, you can afford the listing price, but what about the soon to be updates). It’s better to avoid being “home broke” and have the ability to save reserves for those future expenses. This doesn’t mean because the bank approved us for the larger loan we should over reach on sq. footage or the home with a pool.
  2. Complete Professional home inspection – eliminate minor headaches or possibly discover huge unknown issues.home inspection.jpg
  3. Ask the “how old” questions: (Roof, siding, windows, door, heater, ac unit, flooring, & more).  Common questions such as these will allow you to compare to the chart provided below and see where you stand.
  4. Read our cheat sheet:
    • Asphalt Roofs – 13 to 17 years in the Midwest (due to harsh elements)
    • Aluminum siding – 50 years
    • Vinyl siding – 25 to 30 years
    • Aluminum windows – 15 to 20 years
    • Vinyl windows – 20 to 40 years
    • Carpet – 3 to 5 years (once fibers are worn & frayed)
    • Exterior doors – 20 years
    • Wood flooring – up 75 years
    • Linoleum flooring – 25 years
    • Garage doors – 15 to 20 years
    • Furnaces – could be 15 to 25 years
    • Water heaters –  10 to 20 years
    • In-ground pool liner – 7 years
    • Skylights – 15- 20 years
    • Contact your local neighborhood contractor for insight. If your curious about the current pricing for a specific product contact the local guy or Total Roofing & Construction ;). A lot of contractor’s provide Free estimates and more times than known will give you advice that maybe worth more. We advise doing this long before you actually need the work completed (6 to 18 months ahead of schedule). This allows you to budget for such a project and not be burden with burning your emergency fund or adding more debt.
  5. Homeowner Insurance Policy knowledge
    • We always recommend reviewing your newly acquired homeowner policy after you make your purchase. This policy is what will protect you from serious issues and your solution to those out-of-blue emergency situations. Important items to understand is your deductible, covered perils (hail, wind, etc.), and claims process.

Third Thing: If you did your research, don’t panic.

If you have completed the recommended tips mentioned above or currently purchasing your fifth home, then don’t panic when disaster strikes. Generally whenever you have sudden damage it’s commonly storm or weather related (covered by your homeowner insurance policy) – contact a company seasoned in restoration work (TRC).

When speaking of interior damage that didn’t arise from exterior damage – water heater, sump pump, furnace, and etc. these are preventable with seasonal maintenance and a planned schedule on replacing such items. If you over spend and don’t budget for yearly renovation then yes, you may be in pickle.

 

Conclusion:

I can attest that all contractor’s will offer you assistance regardless if your a homeowner of 5 months to 50 years. However, we believe these steps can save you ENORMOUSLY before you’re closing on a property or when that  disaster strikes. For instances, the Hurricane Harvey is a sad and frightening situation for many reasons (safety, families affected, shelter, & etc.). However, a question we ask is did all those homeowners have flood insurance or covered peril to protect their damaged homes? A lot of us never consider scenarios such as the Hurricane Harvey, but its better to be safe than sorry.

Hurricane Harvey

If you have any questions please message me at pctotalroofinc@gmail.com

NBA free agency is similar to Roofing free agency.

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NBA, NBA, NBA is all we’re hearing this week. Whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, ESPN, NBC, or chatting in the office. We are on the cusp of our country’s day of birth and it seems the NBA wild west of free agency has overshadowed the conversation. This led me to thinking.

NBA free agency =Roofing free agency? Similarities?

NBA free agency is exceptionally similar to the spring time for roofing companies. A lot roofing companies generally use subcontractors for their work. It’s common. Owner’s generally want to avoid liability, insurance issues, healthcare, avoid training, and etc, so if they can outsource the work they decrease responsibility and save time, not necessarily cost. Many roofing companies seek out roofing crews for Spring, Summer, and Fall work after the snow break. However, not all companies do this. For instance Total Roofing and many proven companies can claim our professional crews who’ve been with us for over 20 years and then some. However, we understand why organizations love subcontractors. There’s many benefits to using subcontractors. This is similar to signing a mega superstar rather than drafting young talent and fostering the talent.

Face it, you’re hiring an individual (at least expected) that can perform the work demands or required craftsmanship. Instantly, roofing organization forgos the need to train a young apprentice, avoid the learning curve/rookie mistakes (mistakes happen), and provide the necessary trade tools. You pay for what you get. That same goes for the NBA. Why hire the services of a 21 year old recently out of college with one year of experience, and has many questions about his game? Especially, when there’s a 28 year old with four years of playoff experience and has proven 3 point shot? You want to eliminate the question marks and be assured of your ROI. Same goes for a roofing crew.

For instance consider the Los Angeles Lakers. This organization is in a state of chaos. They have a small amount of young talent budding in their organization and an aging star who wants to win now (who doesn’t want to win though?). So, the Laker’s chase after LaMarcus Alridge. An under 30, proven NBA superstar, and is in his physical peak for NBA careers.  You acknowledge he’ll give you 20/10/2 a night (points, rebounds, blocks) because of his work log (past seasons) and your team lacks a presence like him. Factor in that the organization is in a WIN-NOW/produce mentality and Laker Nation will shell out the big bucks.

So, they most certainly shell out the big bucks for his presences.

Now flip back to roofing. Roofing companies are as only good as the services they provide and if you have a lackluster crew, you’ll have a poor final product. Instead of the summer meetings, we have our spring meetings. Generally a foreman or leader of a crew comes in to inquire about work.  Well, why did they leave? Ask questions, questions, question, and more questions to the roofers and to your staff. NBA teams complete analytics on their opponents, themselves, market, and almost as much research than NASA. So you’ll have to do the same as roofing company. Ask your company, how long do I want to be competitive? What type of service am I providing? However, if a roofing company was in the same position as the Los Angeles Lakers, we would all recommend the same. Sign young talent, train them, and build a culture. For the longevity of the business that makes the most sense. Unless your organization has the stance of maximizing that particular year then go for the big fish.

Questions for those subcontractors (Basketball free agency questions.)

Why are you no longer with ABCDE roofing company? (mgt woes, bad ethics? Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors?)

What type of products are experienced in? ( Left handed, right handed, shooting off the dribble, what was your role?)

Do you have an address list of jobs you’ve completed in the past? (College resume/statistics, championships)

References? (Coaches, GM’s)

Expectation for salary? (Five year max deal, Player option)

After every signing everyone believes they made the best relationship. Face it, with the resources you had and the research you completed the decision made sense. The same goes for roofing. We use the best information we have and the factor in the direction our management is trying to go. However, with roofing companies we can proudly say we aren’t giving out 5 year $140 million dollars for the services of one person. Our industry is slightly different in regards to the salary cap. Would we love to have a set salary cap and the ability to compensate our hard working installers with millions of dollars, of course! Our team signings won’t receive the NBA type of publicity until we have a roofing television channel, partnership with Dunkin Donuts, and roofers starring in the next “Entourage” movie. So stay tune for the Spring of 2016′.

If a roofer was stranded on an island…

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The five most important items for a roofer.

  1. ENERGY DRINK/COFFEE/CAFFEINE
    1. Dunkin Donuts phrase  “we run on dunkin” is right on the money! Now we’re not pushing one type of coffee over the other (Don’t get offended Starbuckers), but it’s well known DD already has the “average joe” coffee market share.  We don’t know many roofers grabbing a triple whip americano with extra soy and a hint of cinnamon. However, as much as we love coffee it takes second to
      Unleash your beast!

      Total Roofing loves Monster

      Monster, Red Bull, & other drink that uses terms such as Voltage, Shock, Heartattack, Gorrilla Blood, or Warhead. This extra boost gets the day running for ALL. There’s no better way to start that 6 am shift then with a high-cranking energy drink!

2. QUALITY TOOLS  As skilled as most craftsman and roofers can be, you still need the appropiate tools. Tools such as magnetic sweepers (clean up those roofing nails that surely will puncture your tire), roofing hackets, blades (a dull blade helps no one), and more. These items depreciate quicker than your car, but are as important. For the journeyman or everyday roofer invest in quality tools. This will be the best investment you can make. They’ll make your job easier andHow can you roof 10 square in a day without an air compressor or hammer? Preparation allows you to be prepared to be your best. When you have the tools to succeed, you will.

Our Suggested Roofer Tool Brands:

Dewalt      Hitachi      Stanley    Bosch    Milwaukee

3. A RADIO A roofer can expect 8 to 10 hours of physical work throughout the day. However, what about his mind? One may assume his mind should be focused on the task at hand, which it surely is, yet what about the in-between? Material clean-up, job set-up, lunch, moving material, and switching blades allow individuals time to tune out. The radio has been intergal to the everyday blue-collar construction worker since it’s inception. Seriously, there’s a station for everyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, and even religion! Do you enjoy sports? ESPN 1000 talk radio. Are you a political man? Rush Limbaugh (So crazy, you listen). How about everyday pop culture? Eric & Kathy on 101.9. This instrument is vital to the job of a roof and crew morale.

4. Plans for the weekend Roofing is not easy. It’s phsyically draining and tough work. 50 hours of honest work makes you want to imagine a beach with a corona with dolphins in the background.  Yeah seeing a project go from the before to after is great and motivating. However, I can assure you throughout the week of working, talking, and listening to the radio, plans for the weekend are being discussed. Sure, the idea “Why would a roofer on a stranded island talk about the upcoming weekend?” You don’t know roofers. We enjoy our weekends and there as necessary as water.

5. A nice lunch cooler. Sure a Big Mac and fry sounds delicious after 5 hours of lifting, pushing, sweating, and installing those shingles. However, I can assure you not every roofer is eating out and living off fast food during the week. We’ve all had some form of finance education whether in school or the hard knocks of life. The average fast food meal runs about $8 a day and let’s say you work 5 days a week. Within a 5 week month you spent $200. I’m no mathmatican, but the cost for sandwich meat, loaf of bread (easily two weeks worth), cheese, and snacks will run you $100 or less! In the midwests seven month roofing calender year that’s a savings of $700. Here’s a few things that cost $700

55″ LED SMART Television                    Two Round Trip Tickets Southwest Airlines

The cost of making lunch and eating out every day is this Smart TV. Jimmy John's Freaky Fast sounds good, but so does watching Ricky Bobby go Freaky Fast in the Legend of Ricky Bobby

The cost of making lunch and eating out every day is this Smart TV. Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast sounds good, but so does watching Ricky Bobby go Freaky Fast in the Legend of Ricky Bobby

Fly anywhere or continue eating Burger King?

Fly anywhere or continue eating Burger King?

Roofers take notes from Jehovah witnesses

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What’s your weather been like?

  1. Hail, rain, 80 degrees, rain, rain, rain, hail
  2. Rain, hail, 95 degrees, hail, rain, 60 degrees, rain, hail.
  3. Tsunami, hurricane, gorgeous weather
  4. Nothing out of the ordinary

The past few days have been intriguing. Every form of weather has occurred in some capacity (Hail in Tinley Park, IL, Rain in Schererville, IN, Tornados near New Lenox, IL, & more). Honestly, it may have even snowed last week in Chicago. I’m by far no meteorologist or figurehead regarding climate change, but our weather is out of whack. Whether the cause is from emissions, natural occurrence, or simply “it is, what is.” Somethings up.

Well you’re a midwestern veteran? Many would presume you adjust to the weather after 24 years. Nope. It gets stranger as you get older. After living a quarter of the century in the great heartland of the United States, I’m still adjusting. So here’s the quick moving litmus test question: Would you rather drink water daily or get water dumped on you, then pelted with five inch soft ball size sculptures of hail? Most individuals prefer drinking daily water ( 7 glasses a day?) or seasonal changes that come along with winter, spring, fall, and summer. So, why does continue living in such a harsh climate?

Recent weather changes in the midwest have caused severe damage to homes and insurance companies

Recent weather changes in the midwest have caused severe damage to homes and insurance companies

As an employee of a roofing and construction company, I side with drinking water even though our Ice Mountain jugs have been lax on their delivery of late, I would also stick with the midwest. Have you ever installed an EPDM roof when it’s 96 degrees and you’re on the hottest part of a roof.  Now when it comes to vacation…..give me a frozen drink and sand. Seriously though, as an employee of a roofing company wouldn’t you want to operate in the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana region? The four options above wreak  havoc on all building products (exterior and interior). That means continual employment? As recipients of such chaotic weather it’s unfortunate, however as roofing professionals it’s a catch-22. This weather creates potential for opportunities, but can tarnish the industry’s name or a quickly diminish a company’s reputation enough you void those chances. Every industry has it’s price points, quality, and out-of-the-truckers. However, of late these bad companies have scared consumers, while receiving the most media attention (bad stories get the best ratings), which creates a misconstrued perception of us. This week a client called and said “I had between 5 to 10 roofers knock on my door, each day of this week.” That individual had over 50 separate “companies” inquire about their home and roofing system. Imagine if you had 50 people come to your house in a week. Most families don’t enjoy that many people for family events and they were invited.

We live in a hyper consuming economy and it is honestly getting more difficult to make a living. However, there should never be a situation where you take a advantage of an individual. So, we ask all roofers and roofing salesman to act in the best discretion when it comes to door-to-door marketing. It’s a great technique to help serve others while putting food on your table. However, remember an awful experience may not only ruin the process for the roofing industry and you, but also other organizations that make a living off it. Not all of people are watching your best interest regarding your upstairs, but some are and respect that.

A common Fly by night roofing comic.

A common Fly by night roofing comic.

Yesterday a man commented on our Facebook saying “roofers are like ambulance chasing lawyers.” As someone aware of the competitive nature of storms and insurance wars, he’s kinda right. Be smart, read the dotted line, and call a licensed roofer. Too be honest I would say storm contractors are quicker on the fly than ambulances, in getting the paperwork signed. Be Safe.

Oh dam! Icicles :)

Look how beautiful those icicle look! Two day’s later, look how awful that stained drywall look’s!  Instantaneously, the homeowner pick’s up the telephone, dial’s 1- 800-nearest roofing company and scream’s “there’s water pouring in!”

3 Story Ciile

Winter is a love/hate for many people, but especially within the roofing industry. Every year midwest roofing companies expect the slow months of January and February, but mother nature alway’s has the last laugh. No one should install a “lifetime” roofing system in weather below 10 degrees (the manufacturer’s don’t recommend under 40 degrees) or very much be outside when it’s -10 windchill.

However, if there’s one thing many contractor’s can agree on, it’s that shiny icicles will keep us busy! The roofer’s mind is conditioned to flat out hate “ice dams” because they present many issues for homeowners and us.

The top reasons for ice damming

  1. Weather
    • Heck if it didn’t snow, melt, freeze, and repeat = THIS WOULDN’T HAPPEN! 
    • Weather review: If 18″ of snow comes within a 2 day period (February 9-11th) and the temperature rises shortly, then your roof needs to shed A LOT of water.
    • Example: Consider your roof is 2,000 ft. of roof and has 18″ of snow, this equates to 36,000 inches of snow! If you use the rule of the industry standard “10 inches of snow equals 1 inch. of water” (there’s varying measurements due to temperature differences). This means that the standard size residential roof must shed over 3,600 inches or 300 feet of water or 188 gallons of water before the temperature hits 32 degrees again (returns to freezing). Often this does not happen, and lead’s to beautiful icicles pouring over the gutters.
  2. An efficient ventilation system
    • Homes are under-ventilated or disportionally ventilated. This is NOT your fault, unless you’re the one building the home and fail to meet the current building codes. Most homes are under-ventilated, because the energy codes have been updated, so if your home has a 20 to 35 year old roofing system in place you’re susceptible.
    • Grid.jpg
    • Do keep in mind:  Today, the manufacturer’s design their systems around current codes or attempt to set the new standard, which is far from the 1970’s standard. Why is this important? It’s important because if the “lifetime roof” is defective and was installed with inadequate ventilation, the manufacturer may use that as probable cause for the premature failure and avoid accept responsibility (aka – not pay for that “lifetime roof”).
    • There is an appropriate measurement for intake and exhaust ventilation. Check with your local, GAF MasterElite roofing contractor.
  3.  Insulation
  4. Poorly installed home. Each of the below item’s should be installed as per manufacturer and follow local building code to create a unison system.
    • The Roofing System – 2 courses of Ice & Water shield, Synthetic Felt, and proper drainage flashings.
    • Fascia  – Either wood fascia is hardened by the element’s, but expanding/contrasting moisture can damage metal wrapped fascia as well.
    • Gutters – Drip edge, positive pitch, downspout every 15′,
    • Soffit  &  Roof ventilation  – installed per your homes dimensions

 

So what can you do? 

First be patient, UNLESS you’re home is severely leaking and you’re experiencing ice damming similar to the photo’s showcased. Second, be mindful of the current weather.  If there was a severe snowstorm or whiteout, don’t you believe it might be difficult for the local roofer to drive right now? Third be proactive, we assure you if you follow a few of the trick’s mentioned you can decrease the amount of ice damming.

5 way’s to help eliminate ice damming 

  1. Install your roofing system, fascia, gutters, soffit, and vent’s correctly. TFrozen Icclehis will allow you to be ahead of the game (cough – Total Roofing & Construction)
  2. Clean your gutter system before winter! If you can’t, we can. (Click above). A clean gutter will allow water to shed more easily. Trust us we find Barbies & tennis ball’s all the time in gutters.
  3. Purchase or borrow a roof rake. This tool is beneficial for removing excessive snow near roof’s eaves, which allow’s any melted snow to freely get to the gutter system.
  4. Install heat cables or table.  You can apply this product above your gutters and throughout your downspout. We recommend installing this in late Fall – November.
  5. Last but not least, the hammer & salt method for emergencies.

Tax Season! Home Improvement Edition.

Item’s to keep in mind while filing this year’s taxes or planning 2018 tax season. 

1.Energy Efficiency such as solar

The only federal tax credits for energy efficiency improvements are for solar energy systems such as solar panels or solar water heaters. However, these do expire in 2021. Ask your installer & manufacturer regarding the necessary items to apply, because documentation is necessary for the 30% tax credit of cost .

Notes: The energy taken in must be used for your HOME! You won’t qualify if you’re installing solar panels to that fancy new hot tub. 

2.Insulation Tax Deduction
Tax Credit Amount:  10% of the cost, up to $500! The credit applies towards the cost of the material and won’t apply towards the installation/labor. The qualifying insulation is not limited towards a special brand or manufacturer. You can install blown-in, batt, spray foam, or weather stripping, however remember the manufacturer certification sheet
stairway
3. Home sales exemption
It’s common for qualified sellers to not pay capital gains if there main residence accrued a profit of a quarter of million (single) or $500,000 big ones for those that file married jointly! Many will use this exemption by completing home renovations so they can reduce the amount of sale price being used as a profit! If you wanting to beat the IRS this might be a great way to avoid those capital gains altogether.
Remember to keep a handy accountant within a phone call or use the interwebz.
4. Do you rent out a section of your home?
Much like a home office space, you can write off the cost of repairs to your rental property and then depreciate improvements. That’s pretty basic, and cool enough. But consider that if you rent out a portion of your own home, it works like the home office deduction. You can write off the cost of “your” home repair if it’s in the rental area, and you can write off improvements for the percentage of the space used for renting.
5. Moving into that new home?
The best home improvement decision is often buying a brand new house! Whether you’re forced to move for a job or another situation, you can write off the cost the big move! Whether you’re moving into that beautiful dream house or that flipper you finished restoring.
finished-house
Other tips;
  • Consult an accountant or tax pro? Such as you’re local tax guy.
  • Do you’re own research: turbotax is a great software program.
  • Another great site: Motleyfool.com  

Roofing the game! The 1st edition!

Your first roofing project bid: here’s the scope!

  • A new roofing system on a 200 sq. foot heated garden shed.Garden Shed
  • Products to be installed: GAF roofing products and a Timberline roofing system (GAF.com)
  • Must purchase material from a local supply house (http://www.55buildingsupply.com/)

Your client’s contractor’s check-list:

  • Must be installed within 1 day and not one drop of leftover debris
  • You cannot drive up to the shed and hand carry all equipment/material
  • Believes the companies employees should emit professionalism by being clean cut and company clothing.
  • Employees should also have a 2019 Ford 150, lettered truck
  • They should receive a 100 year workmanship warranty upon completionClock Master
  • Will not pay the remaining balance until they see fit
  • Must be a BBB company (bbb.org) and be preferred contractor from GAF.

Welcome to the roofing industry! 
Time to start your bid!

A few OSHA rules to know before:

  • Must have a safety-supervisor, in addition to a foreman  (Or possible fine)
  • All installer’s are to be roped off during construction (Or possible fine)
  • There must not be slack for each roofer more than 6 feet (Or possible fine)
  • Ladder must extend 3′ past the roof line and be tied up. (Or possible fine)
  • Entire premise free of hazards or potential miscues on the ground (Or possible fine)
  • On-site restroom facility must be available (Or possible fine)

Local laws/building codes:

  1. Registered and licensed within community/town (Or possible fine)
  2. Passed state roofing license exam  (Or possible fine)
  3. Have workman’s comp, appropriate bond, and insurance in place. (Or possible fine)
  4. Filed for your roofing permit (Or possible fine)

 

Now turn in your competitive bid 

(It must be below $100.00 or they’ll have their neighbor do it on Sunday).

 

 

 

 

 

Quality Contractor > Quality Product

Selecting the right contractor is far greater than the selecting the right roofing system or any service oriented systems (HVAC, flooring, etc.). Face it, installing a roofing system requires over 1,500 nails and 10 different accessories (Ice and water shield, ridge cap, chimney flashing, caulking/sealant, ventilation, underlayment, starter strip, drip edge, exhaust vents, soil stacks, and more!) all be intertwined, forming an efficient roofing system. And you and I can both agree, if those high-end architectural shingles were not installed correctly, we guarantee you’ll be seeking another contractor with the hopes they can preserve those $2,000 high-end shingles.

Informational

Unfortunately this is an ordinary circumstance

This situation is far more frequent than you would think. I would say 20% of all homeowner’s will bring up their previous contractor’s mishaps or inability to deliver on their promises, which led them contacting us.  So, our first recommendation to you homeowners, please perform your due diligence in thoroughly researching these professionals. The great thing about today’s economy is the internet.

Why is this important? This is important because the average roofing system last’s 17-20 years in the midwest. So, if you hire a qualified contractor to install “lifetime shingles” or the equivalent shingles you should be worry free. Even though the materials have active manufacturer warranties, we still recommend performing annual inspections or “roofing oil changes” to help preserve the existing material. We believe due to the unknown nature of the weather and normal aging this help’s prevent pre-emptive deterioration.

However, if you’re in the boat with “Jack the roofer and his friend’s” or “the Texas straight talker” did your roof in a recent storm, then 20 years might be cut in half. In addition, a lot manufacturer’s won’t warranty the first roof because of the negligent install or the original contractor is out of business (over 70% of roofing contractor’s are out of business in 3 years).

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So what does the industry do to help you?

  1. The leading roofing manufacturer’s provide accreditation and “pro-level” certification’s to approved contractor’s that abide by their (manufacturer’s) install methods and have adequate up-to date liability/license insurance. Almost all manufacturers offer contractor plus programs: Owens Corning, GAF, TAMKO, IKO, CertainTeed, and Atlas (TRC are certified if you’re curious 🙂
    • What’s does this mean for you? The manufacturer is pre-screening your local contractor’s and will list them on their website for you consumers. Additionally, some have their own review page such as GAF MasterElite contractor’s will have a GAF manufacturer representative follow-up with the homeowner and complete a 40-point roof inspection.
  2. Accountability: another great reference sheet is to call the local building supply houses & distributor’s that the contractor uses.
    • What does this mean for you? Request from the potential contractor a supply houses list. A supply house often is honest to inform of known shady practices or if the contractor has any outstanding balances. We do recommend being cautious of the suppliers trying to flip “their” contractor’s your way, but this reference could protect you from a future lien situation.
  3. Know your states rights. A lot of states offer you “homeowner’s right to cancel a contract” up to 3 business day’s. The length and circumstance varies among each state, but this does give you leeway to jump ship.
    • What does this mean for you? This provides you an opportunity to jump from a home remodeling contract within 3 days of signing it. However, you must notify them promptly and most ethical contractor’s will void a contract (even past the 3 days).

We hope this article will help in your roofing system endeavor! A lot of these basic principles are common throughout all service industries, but could possibly save you a lot $$$$$$ and headaches. Remember whether it’s plumbing, windows, or carpet most manufacturer’s offer accreditation programs to help separate the cream of the crop installer’s for you. We understand it’s easy to get sold by charm, but as the great GE CEO Jack Welch alway’s said “Trust Your Gut.”

 

The “small-mart” revolution

Do you like Wal-Mart, Home Depot’s, or Costco?

If you’re like most of the 300+ million in the United States it’s probably a love/hate relationship. You certainly enjoy the benefit’s of these large outfits such as the discounted rates, one-stop shop, or better yet the possibility of job’s. So, why wouldn’t we all love these stores?

The resounding answer is: the destruction of small businesses. America’s business economy consist of 90%+ of small businesses and it still continues to be sustained by “small-mart’s”, but this doesn’t mean these companies are unfazed. As these big box stores tend to cluster within our local economies, many  “family, owned, and operated” businesses see their market shares dwindle. Does your company have less than 100 employees?  There’s a strong possibility you’re facing  dillema or consistantly running against these behemouth stores or maybe Amazon’s platform is disrupting your book of business. The good new’s is that people still enjoy small businesses and even more so are requesting it.

Face it, PEOPLE STILL WANT SMALL MART’S! In recent years there’s been an ever-increasing trend of local farmer’s market, desire for quality good’s, and most importantly intentional customer service companies that thrive in local communities. Today’s tool’s (social media, web platform’s, freelance) help these top-tier local companies grow/scale stand out. In addition, the cost to enter the marketplace is much easier for entrepreneurs.

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We believe companies must maintain effective business development plans to stay competitive while avoiding complacency, but you local’s have a responsibility as well. If every local citizen spent $100 monthly of their hard-earned money, whether that be locally at a restaurant, family grocery store, or “Joe’s Home-good’s” this would significantly enhance the local economy. Let’s say Bob’s town has a population of 10,000 and 7,000 are adult’s (4,500 are working individuals). Those 4,500 individuals intend on spending $1,200 of discretionary income a year = $5,400,000 million dollar back in Bob’s friendly neighborhood. $5,400,000 of revenue will trickle to the local worker’s, manufacturers, and tax dollars. A recent study re-solidifies the importance of this new trend, by showing only 14% of revenue actually stays when you purchase items through a major chain! (http://www.amiba.net/resources/multiplier-effect/)

So why is this important? Specifically, in our industry (home restoration), we’ve noticed a two-fold trend individual’s purchasing from large box store’s or hiring a fly by night exterior company. If you felt more comfortable with those service companies or their representatives than the local service provider, I understand. That’s why it’s vital for small businesses to hone their craft with the intent of improving their communities (that’s our responsibility and loss)! However, it’s a disservice to the community when you don’t consider the local roofer compared to the clean-cut man from Texas in a large monster truck, who came knocking. The only thing that Texan is doing is steam rolling the economy at the nearby gas station. We always recommend asking the question “how long will you be calling ______ home?” This provides you an overall insight if that companies workmanship warranty means anything at all or will stand by it.

Support is on the way

The historical shopping calendar of “black Friday”, “cyber Monday’s”, and others have now realized the void for local businesses. The economy is starting to participate and have even created “Small Business Saturdays” (https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-initiatives/small-business-saturday) during the week of Thanksgiving.

Other way’s to support:

  • Partake in a local coupon/golden book fundraiser (Coupons for local businesses restaurants, etc)
  • Use the local grocery store for your necessities (eggs, milk, paper towels)
  • If you had a great experience with a local vendor SHARE IT. Word of mouth and support is a fantastic way to showcase the area’s talented service providers
  • If you had a poor experience ask to speak with the owner of the company. You are much more likely to speak directly with the owner instead of a 3rd-Party customer service staff in Kuwait.
  • A large renovation project coming up then ask for 2 bids from local companies and the 3rd from the fly by night.
  • Review the Better Business Bureau

 

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Isn’t this covered by insurance?

A question you might be asking yourself or a local contractor “isn’t this covered by insurance?”

You are not alone! We deal with this question with many clients during the initial consultation and property inspection. Unfortunately, through our experience the items discussed are often left off or exempted from homeowner’s policies. This is one of the reasons we preach that you not only renew but “review” your policy annually.

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Why is this such a popular question?

  1. Homeowner’s lack a thorough understanding of their particular policy
  2. Homeowner’s are not equipped nor competent in home maintenance
  3. Realities of economics (home improvement can be expensive)
  4. Their neighbors received free roofs or a family friend did
  5. Question’s help solve their answers

In the past we’ve discussed the general flow of the claims process. Everything from calling in the claim, receiving bids, meeting an adjuster, requesting a second adjuster, meeting an engineer, supplementing items, and more.

So what do I do? 

Call us first! The project manager’s at Total Roofing are versatile in their abilities to diagnosis visual damage, review scopes of work, gather storm data, coordinate adjuster appointment’s, and provide you with a confident answer as to that question  “Is this covered by insurance?” We will not force or coerce you into making an insurance claim nor use our positional power to wrongly advise you to do as such. We’re professional’s in knowing our products, but we ask you to be diligent in knowing your policy and deductible!

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Face it, the insurances safe practice of getting “3 estimates” after you call your agent does make a homeowner believe their roof is covered. However, we’ve seen where this was not true. We believe these are unethical practices from a contractor’s point of view, because when they dispatch their adjuster (generally after they see the cost of the potential repairs), there’s still a chance the roof won’t be covered due to their findings.

SO WHAT DO I DO????

Gather the appropriate facts about your problem. For instance, how old is the product that is under review or underperforming? Do you remember when it was replaced or installed? When was the last time that it was maintenance? I ask these questions not to make you feel inadequate, but to understand the possible cause for that underperformance.

A few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is it a newer product?  Maybe covered under a service warranty or workmanship Warranty
  2. Is it an older product & failing?  Exceeded it’s life expectancy or not under warranty.
  3. What type of product? Possible product recalls or discontinued?

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These questions might allow you indemnify the issue, without even contacting your insurance, because maybe it’s a faulty install, lackluster product, or aged beyond repair. I’m not stating these to avoid an insurance claim, but to make you ask the right questions. Do you remember a hail storm in the last 2 years, because if you don’t, then why are you making a claim? We are not a company that believes in making claims for the hope of getting “money from heaven.” We only suggest it if there’s apparent wind damage, hail, or etc.  We’ve worked on many properties where neighbors have received full payouts and their neighbor only received one section  (3% deductible too!). Our tip of advice don’t always try to “keep up with the Jones,” but ask them questions too!

 

 

 

 

 

New tech slowly disrupting the construction industry.

This is footage taken from our companies latest investment “drone’s.”

Six year’s ago this same footage would have required our company to rent a man-box ($1,000+), a charged camera,  1-gigabyte memory chip, and have at least 2-3 worker’s to be involved in the situation (per OSHA-safety) to get similar footage. Oh, also the weather must be ideal because no one’s volunteering themselves in a 90-foot boom with windy & rainy conditions.

Fast forward 6 year’s later, our company still need’s to charge the camera, have an appropriate memory card, and follow general safety for footage. However, I can assure you there were no 2-3 people involved. In addition, the drone footage was controlled while the operator was in his car (it was raining, yep a millennial pre-madonna).

As someone currently involved witnessing the tide of events, it’s very exciting to see the growing innovation and tools to maximize overall job efficiency. Do I believe all these tech tools are necessary? Absolutely not, because until the robots are laying shingles, installing rolls of underlayment, chasing squirrels out of attic’s, or removing Barbie doll’s out gutter’s, much of roofing specifically requires the human touch. However, in my short life, I’ve learned to never challenge nor bet against the advancement of technology.

Meet “TOTE”  this was our companies first drone (circa 2011)

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“TOTE” was very difficult to control while in the air and if the conditions were less than ideal, get the credit card out and get ready to purchase new propellers! Sadly “TOTE” was sent to the company yard after a bunch of failed attempts & user error. Speed up to 2017, where today’s drone’s self-calibrate, have camera’s built into them (We used plastic snap cords to attach a camera on “TOTE”) and provide current real-time data (height, wind, coordinates). In a mere five years, the overall advancement in this aviation sector has been tremendous for in-flight use & overall cost. Nevertheless, to all our competitor’s and partner’s in the construction industry, these products are much more reliable, can instantly create value for you, and be a hit at your next 4th of July party.

Gone are the days of spending ton’s of cheddar on helicopter aerial photos, lacking project foresight (google earth), and many other project redundancies. We understand the restraint the old construction brass has with implementing/purchasing new technology, which they should do because it’s their MONEY & COMPANIES! It’s up to the current generation to demonstrate how this new technology “CAN” create value, but more importantly “WILL” create value in today’s economy, but more importantly within their specific company.  Sometimes it’s not worth being the first to market with certain technology hence “TOTE”, but you’ll never know the potential if you’re apprehensive and alway’s skeptical.

 

Quote of the day

“It took me seventeen years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.”     – Hank Aaron

 

 

 

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Our Version of Wall E  & EVE

Phantom                                      “TOTE”

Junk in the attic?

Have you checked your attic lately? Or maybe you finally began putting those Christmas decorations away in the attic? If not, pull down that hatch and give it a peak.

We advise each homeowner to inspect their attics at least twice a year (Winter & Summer) and not because you’re searching for old family photo’s, but because attic inspections can save you a lot of money. Not only will you save money, but it you’ll also gain a more thorough understanding of your home.

The top five things to look for:

  1. That creepy, dark space is not for STORAGE!
  • An inhabitable attic or garret is first and foremost for air flow.
  •  If you have stuff in the attic, do you need it?

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2.    The recommended insulation R-VALUE for an Attic is R-49 to R-60.

  • This R-Value is the recommended northern Illinois & Indiana.
    •  R- 49 is approximately 16.5 inches of insulation!
  •  The average homeowner loses at least 10% of their energy through the attic.

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3.  Does your roof even have ventilation?

  • Do you see any natural lighting inside your attic (soffit holes or roof vents?) because many times a home lack’s proper ventilation if any.
  •  Why? This is how your attic releases it’s steam after seeing all your old boxes.

4. Do you have mold and mildew located in your roof?

  • The photo will show you an example
  • Depending on your ventilation, and humidity a power vent may be necessary to remove excess condensation from your attic.
  • Many remedies can remediate such scenario (Please contact a profession or Team Total 😉 for proper consultation)

5. Does your attic hatch or door have insulation?

  •  This goes back to #2.
  • You can fix this in less than an hour and spend no more than $40,
  • Go to your local department store and purchase insulation board and adhere it to the top of your attic door!

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We hope these tips can help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. If you have questions please let us know and shoot us a message. Our experienced staff has seen it all when it comes to attic insulation and is well prepared for just about any situation. Thanks again!