It’s the millennial’s fault, part 1. (Understanding the client’s of tomorrow)

Every day you read “Trump is the downfall of America,” and 6 years earlier you heard the opposing side stating “Obama is the downfall of America,” but if you want to find common ground bring up the millennial generation.  Quite frankly, if America did a yearly poll to unite the left & right, this might be topic where the glue binds. However, we’re not trying to unite the country today nor bate either side, but merely shade light on next group of home improvers: millennial’s.

Generations Defined

First and foremost, I’d like to announce that I’m a millennial (born in 1991) and if you’re not familiar with “millennial’s,” it’s the demographic of people born between 1980 to 1995. According to researchers, the early 80’s and mid 90’s continue to remain as the generational framework. Identifying such groups has been well-documented for generations and central to our capitalistic countries sustainability. These research studies are central to the longevity of large conglomerates and they often finance these studies. These insights give evidence on many things from technology, education, preferences, and much more.

So what do we know about millennial’s and purchasing homes?

Well, if you’re a realtor you better refrain from the age discrimination, because according to National Associations of Realtors, they had the highest share of home buying activity for 5th STRAIGHT YEAR!* Some may ask, how? This generation is now 10 years removed from the great 2008 housing recession and they finally have the “MULA” (#1 Savings – most popular form of down deposit) and (#2 is a gift from relatives/family often boomer generation).

Keep in mind the combination of the 08′ recession, along with the average graduate leaving school with $27,000 of student debt are not the ideal ingredients for homeownership.  However, 10 years removed from the recession has allowed them to save adequately and pay off their debt. So, congratulations on your first-home purchase. Here’s the keys and there’s the problem’s!

The renovation trends are steadily increasing:

The good news is that these well-known basement dwellers are getting the boot from the parents, and spreading their wings in the marketplace. However, the average renovation from millennial is still significantly lower than their peers. The evidence favors a 7% increase in renovation expenditure from 2015, which is positive in a year-over-year review, but much less than their peers.

Average Renovation spend

Reason’s why millennial’s spend less on renovations:

  1. They prefer multi-family housing (townhouses, condominiums, etc.)
    • More HOA costs, less maintenance, and less interest on exterior upkeep
  2.  They favor new development’s rather than fixer uppers. First-time homeowner’s favor – one-stop shop and fewer headaches (sorry Chip & Joanna – magnolia)
  3. Saddled with debt from college & 1st post college vehicle

General contractor’s and home builder’s can give you a first-hand account of these marketplace trends especially throughout the Northwest Indiana Region. In my town alone (Dyer, Indiana), there’s been a huge demand for town houses and multi-family construction. Yes the older generation of millennial’s (80’s babies) have successfully navigated the financial hurdles to purchase their first-home, but there are MANY adult’s swimming against the current.

So, what do these individual’s do? They have to rent or continue to live with their parents. The best way to provide a visual reference is the movie “Failure to Launch” with Sarah Jessica Parker/Matthew McConaughey.

Failure to launch.jpg

Item’s to know as a contractor or home improvement service when working with this age group in 2018

  1. millennial are 7% more likely to pay with Credit Cards
  2. 50% of millennial’s are “hesitant” or “anxious to use a bank loan for a home improvement project (gethearth.com)
  3. 26% of millennial’s are sure they could come up with $2,000 if needed.
  4. Paying with Cash eliminates investment opportunities
  5. 57% of millennial’s feel ” nervous” or “overwhelmed” about buying a fixer upper.

This article is only part 1 of 4 throughout our 2018 blog series pertaining to this specific demographic, because there is way too much information to submit in one article. We believe being educated about your customer’s and their consumer behavior allows us to best present them with products/services.

 

Have you ever experienced a financial generational gap?

My experience:  While working at Hertz Rental Car I once asked an 86-year-old woman  for her Credit Card pertaining to the vehicle’s security deposit (standard company protocol) and I thought she was going to whack me. However, her generation “Silent” very seldomly use credit cards, and she later informed me her only credit card was in a lock box at her house.

 

Information was used from these sources:

Houzz.com, National Association of Realtors.com, Forbes.com, Money.com, and living-proof as a 26 year-old.

 

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Vinyl siding or LP Smartside/James Hardie?

Each trade show and every year this same question is brought up! And honestly, it’s a tough question, which merit’s a post, and we recommend asking your go-to contractor his thoughts. If you asked 100 contractor’s you’d get a variety of responses. Regardless whether their a preferred contractor, 30+ years in construction, or your favorite handyman. However, in my experience this question can only be answered by YOU the homeowner! 

Go ahead visit the leading vinyl manufacturers websites such as: Plygem or Royal Building Products, James Hardie.com, or LP Building product’s they’ll showcase the advantages over their peers. Each site exhibit beautiful houses, trending colors, and their extensive product warranties. I’d recommend before you upload an image of your house to ask yourself “what are your intentions for your home?”

We know it’s common for homeowner’s to comprise a ” fix-it” list in March and we professionally recommend it. A proactive homeowner is great homeowner and we suggest every Spring/Fall you address an on-going issue (Mines – Air Conditioning not that you care!). It’s much easier in Spring especially when your accountant indicates you’re receiving a $5,000 tax return. Regardless of your situation or tax refund situation, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How long do you plan on living at your home?
    • The average family lives at their “home” 13 to 17 years according to the NAHB This is the most important question! Because this should alter your product consideration simply because why invest in siding when you’ll have a possible down payment?
  2. What are the “comp’s” in the area or neighbor’s house look like?
    • If the entire block is barren from James Hardie siding and the median 3 Bedroom/1 bathroom home doesn’t fluctuate much, than it’s possible there won’t be much ROI. We don’t believe your decision solely on ROI, especially if the intentions are to live their your entire life, but it’s worth the consideration. In contrast to that, many neighborhood’s will transitions after one makes the jump to a premium siding material (keeping up with the Jones – it’s real!)
  3. Do you have newer windows?
    • I’d say 50% of homeowners initially don’t consider window replacement , because they’re focused on their ugly, outdated, or bird ridden siding. Yet, the honest truth is, if those windows are over 15+ years it may be worth considering to do a 2 for 1 deal.  Why? It’s much easier to install a quality siding product such as LP & James Hardie alongside those new energy efficient windows rather than remove the “newer” siding system in 5-7 years to replace those faulty windows. It’s much easier ( and cheaper) to do it all at once.
  4. Do you know a quality contractor or trust the local contractor?
    • Again, we’re bias because we’re contractor’s, but we’re aware of the significant cost difference and investment of these material’s. LP & Hardie is more labor laden, along with their product specifications! So hiring the right contractor should save you $$$  and headaches down the road regardless if you sell or stay (even if their estimate is more expensive).
  5. What’s your project budget or expectation?
    • This is the most important question. I agree, the more expensive product’s are  better for the environment and currently have longer warranties, but will you be financially stable in the next 1 to 5 years? We’re not the door-to-door contractor that wants all customers to sign for 5 to 10 year home improvement loans. Because we understand it’s vital that you love the product, installer, color, and more importanly believe it’s the best suited system for your goal’s, which should have been clarified with the questions above. 

So, what’s the final decision? We were not going to say one over the other, because A. our manufacturer’s will get upset and B. because we don’t know your personal intentions with your home. We want to provide the best information and will surely do so if you reach out individually.  A variety of our own employees have a variation of vinyl, James Hardie, and LP Smartside, so we’d be lying as a company by saying there’s a one size fits all. 

 

Spring Training is wrapping up for Total Roofing!

March 29th. That’s the official opening day for the MLB. Which means spring training is winding down. Spring training is the period when professional baseball players hone their craft for 3-4 weeks with their designated teams. I’ll stop right here, because this article has absolutely nothing to with the MLB, but is about Total Roofing & Construction Services, Inc’s.

The midwest exterior renovation industry sorta emulate’s the MLB’s calendar events: winter meetings, spring training, and season (March – Late October). So what does this mean for us? Since we’re located in the heart of the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana we’re used to getting blasted with snow and the frigid cold. So we put together events ranging from field training, safety training, and more during this period. We are blessed to have these tremendous opportunities to improving our processes, skill-set’s, product knowledge, and more importantly provide more value to you!

Spring Training Highlight’s to date:

IMG Conference 2018

Member’s of our team had the great privilege to attend IMG’s (Insurance Mastermind Group’s) 1st ever conference in New Orleans, LA. This conference allowed us to collaborate with 100’s of other contractor’s throughout the nation and learn from niche specialists (attorney’s, public adjusters, and more). In addition, to the breakout sessions and keynotes we also enjoyed ourselves in Bourbon Street!

IMG

Sunrise Windows Partnership & Window Plant Manufacturer Tour

TRC’s owner and project manager’s visited Toledo, OH and Temperance, MI to see our window partner in action. We observed how a vinyl replacement window was built from the vinyl to the creation of the glass. We’re proud to be partnering with such an iconic manufacturer and whose a top 1% window manufacturer.

GAF TPO/TIMBERLINE In-house trainings

As a GAF MasterElite contractor our goal is to continue improving our ability to install the roofing systems and teach our new installer’s how to hone their craft. Throughout March we sent our crews and project managers to GAF’s CARE training facility to learn how to install a premium roofing system.

TOTAL ROOFING SAFETY DAYS – OSHA 10 HOUR CERTIFICATION CLASS

We will be having a 2 day thorough safety class that covers everything from fall protection, 10 hour general construction course, and much more!

GreenSky Financing Partnership

We’ve added an additional home financing vendor to our arsenal to assist our customer’s. We believe this additional partnership will greatly benefit our client’s and offer them further options in making their dreams come true.

Greensky

 

 

49% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, 4 financial tips to stop running that race.

Do you feel like you’re running the financial month-to-month marathon? If so, did you know most of your peers are in the same situation  (I know it doesn’t feel any better, but you’re not alone)! According to a CNBC article finding more than 49% of people are living paycheck to paycheck. Almost half of all people fall in this category!

Hamster wheel

We’re an honest company and this article will not provide “golden advice” or provide you Aladdin’s genie’ x/y coordinates, but reasonable tips that will save cash, and restore your financial confidence for when diaster strikes.

The best financial advice I’ve ever read  – “All decisions you make should help you move from being a laborer to being a capitalist.(1)”  To better emphasize this point I’ll copy the section verbatim. As a laborer, you are paid a wage for your services. It does not matter if you are police officer, factory worker, doctor, lawyer, or clerk. You are paid a wage for doing some form of work. You are exchanging work for money. As a capitalist, you are paid not for the value of your labor, but for the use of your money. This comes in interest, dividends, or price appreciation, but in one way you are being paid to allow others to use your money. (pg. 11 of Your Money Ratios for Financial Security).

Ok, so how’s this help? Well, first we need to figure out why we’re working in the first place and ultimately what we’re trying to achieve with our earnings. If you’re like the 49% of American’s your in survival or stay afloat mode, but this sentence (1) could help you re-identify how you’re spending, saving, or using our resources we work hard for.

Home Improvement.jpeg

So here’s our 4 financial tips : 

1.(INVEST) Create an Acorn account. This site links to your debit or credit account and round’s up your change to a separate investment account (you pick your portfolio type). It’s definitely a millennial thing, but there’s other advantages as well such as: set-up monthly transfers, incurs interest through investments, and rid’s the old coin jar underneath your bed (which is losing value to inflation!)

  • Theory: $25 a month/$6.25 a week -$15 monthly transfer with change roundup

2. (SAVE) Create an Ally.com account. Create an online savings account (yield’s currently at 1.45%) and give it a nickname – emergency fund, Kyle’s college, or new roofing system. The charges are low and some accounts don’t even have them. This online banking company keep’s your hard-earn money out of sight, while planning for your next expense and start small 5$ a month.

  • Theory: $5 a month/$1.25 a week – $5 monthly transfer

3. (DEBT) Trade your monthly car payment in for a reliable vehicle vehicle and preferably a gas saver. According to an article on the financial website Motley Fool over 40% of American’s have a car loan.  The average monthly car payment was $503 a month (2016)!  $503 a month is almost 75% of the average monthly grocery bill for a family of 4! 

  • Theory: $503 a month/$125.75 a week – No car payment so you’re making $

4.(RETIRE) Common misconception “I can’t survive the month, let alone think about when I’m 70!” OPEN A ROTH IRA ACCOUNT!!!! IF YOU DON’T, PLEASE LET ME USE IT! This allows you to save up to $5,500 a year and invest it in the stock market! It’s all post-tax dollars, so when you withdraw when you enter in retirement and you don’t have to pay interest on the appreciation or dividends

  • Theory: Reallocate 50% ($251.50) of the car loan to a Roth account & rest in emergency account ($251.50)

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 9.08.22 PM.png

Here’s a recap of your 2018-2019 year with these tips

Invest Segment – $300.00 – Acorn.com

Saving Segment – $60.00 – Ally.com

Retirement Segment – $3,018.00 – Roth IRA Account

Emergency Repairs/sitaution – $3,018.00 – Savings account (2nd Ally. com Account)

Yearly breakdown = $6,396 in potential saving’s (excludes interest, dividends, investment decisions.

 

Do you watch HGTV? TRC does.

If there’s anything a few contractor’s enjoy, it’s catching an television show such as: This Old House, reality brothers, or Fixer Upper. Many of us may not identify as a “fixer upper” addict’s, but I’m lying if I said I dislike “Chip & Joanna” completing a 30 minute home restoration. They make for good television and the reality tv is not overly dramatized, but it’s still cheesy. Especially as a contractor, these show’s provide our spouses a glimpse of the our day-to-day work life in the contracting world and showcases that we don’t drive our truck’s all day.

I won’t bore you with our favorite television shows, but I’m advocating that you as homeowner should be watching these programs!  Don’t watch television solely to dull your senses or waste time, but at least before the next big renovation project. If you’re building a home for a family of five than the show “tiny homes” won’t exactly make much sense.

Fixer upper

There is a number of quality pro’s & con’s to these shows.

Pros of contracting/home improvement shows

  • Oversight of the industry trends: colors/designs
  • Breakthrough building product’s (Manufacturer’s will market their new product’s in these shows)
  • A visual of a construction site (Debris, equipment, & inconveniences)
  • Synergy of a project: crew, foreman, contractor, supplier, homeowner
  • Learn from other’s mistakes (Don’t like that color, now you know!)
  • Need for a quality and honest contractor.

Con’s of contracting/home improvement shows

  • Unrealistic timeframes – (Extreme makeover home edition)
  • Perception of cost – (Labor rates vary across the nation)
  • Not all contractor’s are qualified to be on television, let alone feature their work (Do your research)
  • Best choice building product’s for you (Often location is addressed, but not all building products are suited for the midwest or east coast).
  • Alway’s a surprise moment (There are times, the homeowner does not like the final color)

Extreme Makerover.png

 

I’m sure we’re all grown enough to understand that television is not reality, but it’s a fantastic tool.  These programs provide you with an ability to do homework before the big test (paying a contractor with your $$$) and you’ll learn industry jargon, products you might want, and an understanding the style of home you’re seeking.

What do I do if I don’t get cable or HGTV?

My family is in the same boat! We decided to cut the cord and opted for Netflix and a local antenna. Though I don’t know a way to stream HGTV, I do know YouTube has played or showcased old episodes of “home restoration” shows. In addition, local providers do have a few “do-it-yourself” and home improvement channels throughout the week (mostly featured on Sat/Sunday) that are similar. I’m honest in stating that the local renditions are MUCH different from the commercialized and scripted version of HGTV’s.

Chip and jo.jpeg

 

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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