The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the world in more ways than we can imagine. Coronavirus has not only affected people’s lives, it has rocked the global economy, affecting many companies, especially smaller ones.
Companies have had to close and many startups have not been able to move into their second year of business. Layoffs left many unemployed and the virus killed many.
The roofing industry also suffered from these setbacks. From canceled projects to delays in delivery, there are many ways that coronavirus has transformed the commercial rooftop installation industry.
Find out more about commercial and residential roofers who can offer you high quality roofing services during the pandemic.
The social distancing mandate has made it difficult for roofers to schedule an appointment with their clients. People aren’t even asking for a roof inspection for fear of exposing themselves to the virus. There have been many job cancellations and rescheduling that affected roofers’ income. The larger ones could last, but smaller companies and individual contractors suffered business losses.
Disruptions in the supply chain
The pandemic has restricted the movement of goods around the world, leading to cancellations and delays in material deliveries. China supplies around 30% of the roofing material to the USA. With the closure of China’s borders, there was a tremendous shortage of building materials. This led to an increase in the prices of copper, aluminum and housing.
The labor shortage is another effect of the pandemic, which has slowed the roofing industry. Travel restrictions, household quarantine mandates and fears of exposure to the virus have all resulted in workers confining themselves to their homes.
In contrast to the software or consulting business, the roof installation cannot be done from home.
Many local jurisdictions have stopped applying for permits and inspections, and many have delayed service. It has put roofers in a challenging position because their SLAs are impacted.
A decline in commercial roof sales
Many companies have moved to work from home and remotely and have vacated their offices for good. This has led to an oversupply of commercial buildings and a decline in new buildings. Therefore, the demand for new roof installations is decreasing. Experts estimate that the demand for commercial roofs in the US will decline 0.6% annually to 88.9 million square feet through 2024.
As in other industries, employees in the umbrella industry are concerned about their health against the spread of the coronavirus. Employers are in a dilemma about asking employees to come to work. Every employer must ensure that their employees are safe in their work spaces and not exposed to the virus.
How is the commercial roofing industry dealing with the pandemic?
Roof installation is a labor-intensive on-site task. It is therefore a challenge for the roofers to work off-site. However, they are switching to digital media such as satellite imagery for suggestions and digital templates for providing paperwork. Many roofers already use software such as EagleView or SkyMeasure to measure the roof without climbing up.
Generate leads over the internet
Many roofers rely on face-to-face meetings to generate leads. They follow the traditional approach of knocking on the door and offering their services. The pandemic has left them no choice but to search for customers online.
Many of these roofers and contractors have their businesses listed on popular business directories that homeowners can search for them.
Roofers also apply on various social media platforms to expand their reach to millions of social media users.
Close a bid on a video
Closing a deal in person is a convenient strategy for a roofer. They like to give customers their personal touch. But social distancing has led them to video calling. There are video and voice calling applications like Skype or Zoom to make the video interactions smooth. The contractors can discuss the roof details and negotiate with the builders, just as they did face-to-face.
Contactless collection and delivery
To maintain social distance, roofers strictly track non-contact movements of materials, collections and deliveries. They also take extra care to keep hands free while working on site by setting up hand washing stations, providing disinfectant to workers, avoiding tool sharing as much as possible, and making sure that any job wears a mask.
Revision of the contractual conditions
Roofers and building contractors are redesigning their contracts to take account of the post-pandemic changes in the roofing business. The roofers should evaluate their supply chain and identify the weak points. You have to realize different sources of supply and be prepared for increases in value. Contractors must ensure that their contracts contain applicable provisions in order to protect themselves against delays, interruptions and higher costs due to the coronavirus.
What can roofers do to protect themselves against rising costs and miscarriages?
Add rate acceleration costs to the contract.
It can be difficult for a roofer to include a price increase clause in the contract as customers and prime contractors may consider a fixed price contract. Therefore, the roofer should buy and store the materials to avoid cost fluctuations.
The roofer can also ask customers for an advance payment to purchase the materials they need.
Roofing is an essential service that sometimes requires immediate attention. In the midst of a pandemic, it is challenging for roofers and customers to get the job done without exposing themselves to the virus. However, with digital media and touchless solutions, roofers can perform the task just as accurately as before.
Experts predict the residential roofing industry will rebound in 2021, driven by continued growth in the residential real estate market and an improving economy. While total rooftop installations are projected to increase in 2024, the demand for commercial rooftops is expected to decline as many companies work remotely.
Even so, roofers should ensure that their employees strictly adhere to COVID-19 guidelines and maintain social distance in the workplace until the virus is gone.