Category: <span>Customers</span>

How technology can help you not visit a customer’s home until you have the down payment in hand

By Mike Davis, East Fork Roofing.

This roofing company in Reno, Nevada made the switch to this model three years ago with much success.

In Reno, Nevada, with a metro area population of 500,000 people, the grocery store shelves are empty. Is it the coronavirus that caused this? Or the fact that the stores’ supply chain is over the Sierra Mountains and it snowed 4 feet? Or both?

When asked by a colleague in the industry about what East Fork Roofing is doing to adjust to these unique times, the owner of East Fork Roofing, Mike Davis said they are doing very little differently. When asked why, he responded that since 2017, the company has been using a highly automated, fully satellite approach to their residential roof replacement business. His business rarely interacts with customers in-person and doesn’t visit a single home until down payment is received from the customer. Interested, the colleague inquired further how this is done.

Before Mike explained, he made sure to clarify his favorite part of this process: his company’s estimating costs have been reduced by more than 50%, which has allowed them to use the money they would have spent on estimating for advertising and recruiting – key components to strong growth.

Price-first quoting

He explained the key to make a satellite-based process work is a process called scenario-based quoting or price-first quoting.

Price-first quoting has its roots in the real estate and insurance industries. In real estate, the buyer agrees to a price after a very cursory visit to the property or with no visit at all. Only once a price and terms are agreed to, does any deep investigation begin. The reason this process is used in real estate is to reduce the cost of the process and increase the speed of the transaction. It makes sense when working with commission-only real estate agents that all the fluff be removed from the process.

Often in roofing, we do things that feel good but may be unnecessary: we spend time, money, and effort getting detail before negotiating price. We do this because it is expected by our customers, but expectations for how a business interacts with their customers is shifting, especially now.  When Mike joined East Fork Roofing and started estimating roofs in 2011, the process was: receive a phone call, schedule an appointment, visit the property to measure and assess risks, build the proposal, sell the job, then move on to the next. The work is front-loaded and inefficient, taking a significant amount of time driving from one location to another.  With price-first quoting, you move much of this time and effort to the back side of the sale. With a close ratio of 25-30%, this makes a huge difference in the cost of estimating. The new process is: receive a phone call, get measurements and risk data from satellite imaging, build the proposal, sell the job, collect down payment, investigate the job, adjust pricing as necessary, execute.


This new process introduces some new risks however: knowing how many layers there are, or if sheathing is needed. What about other risks that cause budget overruns? All these are what East Fork Roofing calls scenarios. The idea is simple. Give the customer a base price and explain that the final price is contingent on inspection and give them any scenarios you believe may apply. For example, a 25 square roof is $8,750 for one layer, $1,000 for each additional layer, $2,500 for sheathing. Done. This is something you can implement easily now. Just build these scenario lines with a price per square into your proposals as options. The goal is to build a list of scenarios for the customer to compare against the roofer who gives a flat price and identifies the scenarios that apply. When the customer selects your quote, bill and collect down payment and then send an inspector.

What other scenarios could be included? East Fork Roofing determines scenarios by doing root cause analysis and creating risk categories. When a job goes over budget, by determining how it went over budget and aligning that with a scenario, they can increase their price for that scenario instead of increasing their price for all projects. This leads to getting more of the work you want and pricing the job correctly for those more difficult jobs. Some examples of scenarios are: shake tear-offs, mobile homes, old homes, geographically based scenarios like elevation requirements, steepness of the roof, and differing prices based on permits/dump fees.  If a cost exists because of an identifiable reason that is not general, it can be considered a scenario.

Advantages and disadvantages

In a marketplace where you are the first one to implement something like this, you will have an advantage because you can afford to offer a reduced price and the other roofer goes out and investigates the roof for you and your customer. It also creates an advantage for the other roofer because there is an increased “perception” of higher customer service and that they have “earned” the work. Humans are emotional, so sometimes they will pick the other roofer because they created a higher value and earned price by visiting the property. With the current market situation surrounding coronavirus, the advantage to the other roofer is questionable. East Fork Roofing’s goal is to be priced in the middle of three quotes, not the lowest.

Another advantage is that instead of sending an estimator, you can send a foreman, who is typically in regular contact with the employees. This eliminates the challenges of an estimator proposing one thing to a customer and the field employees fighting with them about it because it’s not feasible. When the foreman or crew leader goes out, they do a very detailed inspection: outlining the dumpster approach, safety issues, applicable scenarios and identifying change requests. The foreman prepares a report complete with pictures. After review of the report by project management, a plan is made and the customer is informed via phone of all the findings.

This step drastically increases the value of the process because it is now affordable to do a detailed planning inspection. An estimator in a typical process can’t be this thorough because it would limit their volume of visits. In the old model, if you add this planning inspection step, you are adding to your unit cost. In this model, you combine the two inspections into one. East Fork Roofing has found that customers love this step because it is a chance for a deeper alignment of their expectations with company expectations and there is limited pressure to proceed if the conversation doesn’t go well. It’s truly win-win. Either party can leave the transaction at this point and a refund can be issued.

If you are going to require down payment before you visit the property, it is East Fork Roofing’s experience that you have to be willing and honorable in returning down payments if a customer does not like any change that you propose after the planning inspection. East Fork Roofing is still old fashion in its contract agreements. Although they have the capability to collect signatures electronically, they require no signatures on projects. If any customer wants to cancel a project, and very little money has been spent, East Fork Roofing will let the customer out of the contract and issue a full refund. Making this very clear on your proposals and having a good reputation is key to creating a safe environment for a customer to send a check in the thousands of dollars to someone they have never met in person. Google “East Fork Roofing Reno” to see their reviews.

Now that you have a basic grasp about how to reduce risks through scenario-based quoting, there are a few more tricks that need to be figured out as you go along. It took East Fork Roofing about six to nine months to work out the details in order to see a full return to previous close ratio. Each pivot will be different for each company but knowing the general idea of scenario-based pricing is the biggest step.

Technology and RT3

From here we will highlight the technology aspect. As a member of RT3, the Roofing Technology Think Tank, East Fork Roofing is driven to streamline the roofing process with forward-thinking technology use.

Due to complexities like steepness difficulty, which can change prices to sheathing, removal of roof, install of roof and additional layers, East Fork Roofing had a hard time streamlining the process of adding scenarios through standard, out-of-the-box software like AccuLynx or JobNimbus, etc.  Manually adjusting line item pricing due to scenario(s) on every proposal leaves room for human error and adds time to the process. Because of this, East Fork Roofing designed their own quoting system on an open-API platform that allows them to change the data with programming and to get data in and out, which most cloud software programs have.

The platform is a Citrix product called in combination with is a collaboration software, similar in purpose to Slack, but also has database features. The idea is that through Podio, any company can create items like a proposal in a central location, talk about it with their team via web browser or phone app and use to create highly advanced workflows that work with the data.

Workflows are key because they allow automation to happen. For example, one of the simplest flows East Fork Roofing has implemented is an automated phone call checking to make sure the customer received their proposal one day after the estimator marks the proposal sent. The system also sends an email at four days, and notifies the salesperson with a task to phone the customer at seven days.  Another feature in is their external link feature. When the email is sent with the proposal and four days later, it has a link that the customer can click to view a webpage with the available dates. East Fork Roofing uses this external link capability to offer a scheduling discount program, which displays three dates: a high priority date with a premium of typically 5-10% of the project price approximately two weeks out, a standard date three to six weeks out for no additional cost, and a discounted date six to12 weeks out with a discount of typically 4-6%. When a date is selected and confirmed, either through this webpage, or by the customer or sales associate if the customer calls in, a down payment invoice is sent via email to the customer automatically with no additional work for a billing administrator. Since Podio has an open-API, the invoice is also pushed to QuickBooks Online with no additional human effort.

This collaboration platform and workflow management allows East Fork Roofing to simplify the process of building and tracking scenarios and creating quotes. It is now as simple as three forms/items in Podio: one about the customer captured by a call taker, one about measurements captured through by an estimator, and one about risk data/scenarios created by an estimator. Once this data is entered, the workflows build the proposal. Currently they have a data entry person entering all the data, and a junior estimator double checking the proposal; this means the project manager/estimator is now only used to approve complicated proposals over a set dollar limit.

East Fork Roofing has built the workflow out for every step of the project: billing, planning inspection, permitting, daily job reporting with photos, scheduling, dumpster management, employee pay entries and timesheets, quality inspections and vendor warranty registration. Throughout the process, the workflows are sending emails with pictures to help customers stay informed without having to call the office for information. The workflows take the customer from initial phone call to cash.

Currently, the only channels of communication available are email and phone with limited SMS. In the works is a Twilio (SMS/Whatsapp/Facebook messenger) integration that will allow a customer to interact with East Fork Roofing throughout the project via any of those channels. Some additional channels East Fork Roofing is looking to add is voice (Alexa, Siri, Google assistant), with plans to implement these into their process over the next few years. Think how innovative it will be when a customer says to their phone or TV, “What is the status of my roofing project?” and it will respond back to you not only with an audio update, but with pictures.

In summary, East Fork Roofing has not changed much with the recent changes due to COVID-19 because they were already a virtual company. However, they are focused on the next technological breakthrough. Now that you have a better idea of one method of implementing roof replacement proposals with reduced risks and of some future ideas, what changes will you implement? What can you do to improve in this regard? East Fork Roofing suggests to request things like this from your existing platforms, subscribing to RT3 Smart Brief, and reading up on technology here at

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop.

RT3 member Kelly Roofing donates material and labor for new roof

Protecting Naples roofs with care, consistency, innovation and using expertise for the good of hurricane survivors.

Kelly Roofing, a roofing contractor dedicated to serving their industry and state with care, consistency and communication, gives away a free roof to a local family in need every holiday season.

This holiday season, Gloria and her family were chosen because of her financial struggles after her husband abandoned her 12 years ago, leaving her with three mouths to feed. To provide for her family, Gloria engages in multiple activities to improve her income and cut down the costs of living. Overall, Gloria is a hardworking and dedicated single mother. More importantly, Gloria believes deeply in God and seeks His guidance in her life.

Other than Gloria’s financial troubles, there is a hole in her bedroom ceiling due to a consistent roof leak. Unfortunately, her insurance company declined her claim stating the roof only required repair and then dropped her because the deductible was more than a standard repair. With several attempts to repair the roof on her own, nothing seemed to work. When meeting her, it was found she had a tarp over the hole to prevent water from entering her bedroom.

Kelly Roofing partnered with Habitat for Humanity, ABC Supply, Owens Corning and many customers to provide a new roof for Gloria’s family. They are using shingles donated from Owens Corning, Woodgate and several other customers who share the same compassion. Donations from positive surveys given on Google and Facebook pages were also received to aid in the free roof replacement ( Aside from the roof, they are working on funding a new bike for Gloria’s son to use to get back and forth to work.

Every year Kelly Roofing is blessed to be able to give a roof away. They always welcome partnerships from the local community, including satisfied customers through the Free Roof Project, Habitat for Humanity and other regional entities to provide free roof replacements to families in need. People wishing to help can also support this initiative by contacting Kelly Roofing.

Kelly Roofing is a family-owned company, serving Naples and the surrounding areas since 1972. Serving residential and commercial property owners with customer-forward thinking has been their goal from day one. All Kelly Roofing employees live by the core values of Care, Communicate and Consistency, allowing them to provide outstanding workmanship using the most advanced methods. To learn more about Kelly Roofing, go to

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop. 

Using free inspections to land more service business

By Jobba.

Over the last decade, RT3 member Jobba’s team has had the opportunity to work with thousands of successful roofing contractors. Not surprisingly, many of them have stated that their continuous growth was a direct result of increasing their service and repair work while also providing an exceptional customer service experience.

Recognize the Need for “Free”

These successful roofing contractors all understood one thing – that in order to have a steady pipeline full of prospects for their sales team and increase their service work, they needed to offer free, no obligation roofing inspections to get those customers in the door first.

Roofing companies that offer free inspections end up getting much closer to their potential customers – a lot faster. And, they are starting off the relationship on the right foot by positioning themselves as an advisor, identifying current and future problem areas on their roof right from the start.

It’s important to keep in mind that some activities that may currently be unprofitable can pay off in the long run if the customers are good long-term prospects. Sales efforts in 2019 will have a long-term impact on sales and profitability in 2020 and beyond.

Provide Detailed Inspection Reports

One of the ways to stand out from the competition is to provide a detailed roofing analysis report upon completion of the inspection. An Inspection Report instantly gives you more credibility and will also allow the prospective customer to make an informed decision on their roofing work – without having to set foot on the roof. These reports will provide the condition of the roof’s membrane, flashings, perimeter edge and fascia, expansion joint covers, pitch pockets and penetrations.

Inspection Reports should also indicate the exact locations in addition to describing and prioritizing the roof work needed (emergency vs. remedial) with any related costs and photos. These reports can also be used in preparing and submitting requests for warranty repairs.

Offer Ongoing Service Agreements

Your Inspection Reports should also ALWAYS be accompanied with an ongoing roof maintenance plan recommendation or Service Agreement which will maximize the capacity and longevity of their roof.
By offering customers ongoing Service Agreements, you create “sticky” relationships whereby customers stay loyal and continue to generate predictable revenue.

Consider offering a dedicated Service Agreement that includes a 2-hour emergency arrival time and locked-in rates that they can incorporate into their roof’s maintenance budget.

Get Ready for More Inspections

As the demand for your roofing inspections grow, you need to be able to manage them efficiently and offer an experience that keeps your customers happy. Here are some ways to be more efficient and profitable:

  • Follow-up with inspection inquiries ASAP as they may be requesting a free inspection from multiple companies in the same day.
    Track your inspection results and see how they measure up (i.e. how many new customers do your free inspections yield?).
  • Create a template for your Inspection Reports in which you can include photos, date stamps and canned recommendations for each deficiency.
  • Create a template for your Service Agreement in which you outline the various roof maintenance options you offer.
  • Store and track warranty information.
  • Go paperless by granting your customers online access to project management tools that help them track job progress, expenses, costs and historical information for budgeting and future reference.
  • Provide automated inspection and service/repair status updates via text or email.

Stay up to date on the latest roofing industry trends when you sign up for the RT3 Smart Brief e-newsletter. 

Source: Jobba

Be the roofer your customers are looking for online

By Michelle Mittleman.

When a homeowner needs a roofing contractor, the first place they look is online. They hunt through all the search results, investigating each company’s credentials, reviews posted by previous customers, and the services provided by different companies. Make sure you are the most reliable and qualified company they find in their search by following these tips below.

Reviews and Recommendations

One of the biggest things homeowners look for when searching online for a roofing contractor is reviews and recommendations from previous customers. These reviews might be on your own website or on a site like Yelp,  or Angi. Regardless of where they are posted, they can mean the difference between gaining or losing a potential customer. Homeowners scan reviews to see how many stars people give you, what things you did well, and what things upset your customers. Bad reviews will turn customers away in a heartbeat, while good ones can boost you above the competition.

In order to use these reviews and recommendations to your advantage, encourage customers to leave reviews after you complete a job and be sure to respond to the comments. If you know you did a job very well, make sure you ask your customer to leave a recommendation. Angry customers will readily post a review, but sometimes a content customer will not think twice about it. Kindly reminding them that their feedback would be appreciated can do wonders.

Responding to comments can help show new customers you are involved with your clients and that your company actively works to improve your service. Commenting on a bad review to clarify any issues the client experienced and show how you resolved the issue shows homeowners you truly care about what your clients think and that you are willing to go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction.


Another component homeowners are looking for online is your credentials. Homeowners want the most qualified companies working on their house and credentials are proof you know what you are doing. Make sure these credentials are posted clearly on your website, so that homeowners are sure to see them while they are researching. Credentials homeowners might be looking for are state and federal licensing, as well as professional trade organizations you belong to. If you have employees with specific certifications be sure to include those as well, because homeowners may be looking for contractors who specialize in a particular brand or product. Making your credentials easy to find is sure to set you apart from the competition, as homeowners can immediately tell you are a qualified company.


Make sure the warranties you offer appear somewhere on your website. For example, if you provide a year-based warranty on particular roof type and materials, tell that on your website. Roofing repairs can be very expensive and customers want to know their investment is insured in the event that something goes wrong. Make it easy for the customer to see their money is well spent and safe.


One of the easiest ways to set yourself above other roofing contractors online is to make sure all of the services you provide are listed on your website. Homeowners know that you do roofing installations and repairs, but do you install skylights? Is your company specifically trained in a certain product line they are interested in? Can you install siding and gutters? Homeowners are not roofing experts, so they do not know all of the jobs that fall under the roofing contractor umbrella. Make it obvious to them what kind of jobs you do by clearly posting it on your website. Your site will be a relief compared to others they look at because they can find exactly what they are looking for. They will know that you are the answer to their roofing problem without having to do additional research, placing you first on their list of contractors to call.

The internet is a powerful research tool and homeowners will certainly be using it to look up roofing contractor companies. Make sure you are the company that customers are looking for online by encouraging previous customers to leave reviews and then responding to them, including your credentials and warranties on your website, and clearly listing the services you provide. All of these components will make your company more appealing to customers than the competition and reassure them that you are the perfect choice for their roofing needs.

Get the latest roofing industry news and information delivered to your inbox when you sign up for the RT3 Smart Brief.

Source: AccuLynx

Florida contractor invests heavily in technology and departmentalization to boost customer service and production

As two major roofing contractors were shut down this year by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Central Florida roofing contractor, Calloway Roofing LLC believes there are just too many instances where a good contractor can fail because they lack the business systems and organizational infrastructure necessary to properly manage their day-to-day operations.

Drew Calloway, 40, came across Brandon Gaille’s statistics on roofing industry complaints where the Better Business Bureau cites more than 50% of all complaints were filed for unsatisfactory workmanship and another 25% for the inability of the homeowner to reach the contractor. These stats are troubling as Drew believes that the roofing industry needs to embrace technology and adopt automation systems that can help bridge and improve the communications gap with customers.

This year, Drew took that philosophy and put it into a written commitment and signed a 5-year marketing and back-end business systems contract with Knowledge Transfer LLC that enables the company to focus on installations and communications with their customers within the company’s newly established Inspections, Servicing, Estimating, Production, and Billing departments. Through this departmentalization, the company can prioritize each segment of the process and go a step further and include all roof-related line items that the homeowners may be entitled to—that may otherwise be left out. And as Building Code required roof items now become a part of the scope of work, Calloway Roofing leads the industry by including, as a standard practice, the optional roof materials warranty registration, which can transform a basic roof installation warranty into a 600-month registered lifetime warranty.

Chad McPherson, designated Sales Representative with ABC Supply, says, “Calloway Roofing is doing things we hope to see others follow. It’s certainly a ‘best step’ in the right direction.”

Through the embrace of departmentalization and the powerful company Knowledge Base that followed, Calloway Roofing now mills through the rigorous demands of roof construction while keeping their customers updated and systemically in the loop. A philosophy, adoption rule and direction that all roofing contractors should pursue.

As a resident and family man in Minneola, Florida, Drew says, “When a homeowner gives me their signature, I feel compelled to give them a contract that includes a written guarantee that their roof will be a registered roof installation and that they’ll hear from us regularly and throughout the process.”

About Calloway Roofing
Calloway Roofing LLC is an Orlando, Florida based roofing and building contractor that believes every roof should be a registered roof installation and not optional. Homeowners receive no-obligation storm and roof inspections, followed by full information about the entire process in addition to a free copy of the inspection photographs.

Be sure to sign up for the Smart Brief e-newsletter to get the latest roofing tech news in your inbox.


Using roofing software to create more accurate estimates and material orders

CRM software with real-time supplier pricing reduces ordering mistakes and homeowner distrust.

By Michelle Mittelman, AccuLynx.

When roofers are in the field assessing storm damage, talking to homeowners, and providing work estimates, one of the most important factors that they rely on is knowing the price of their materials. Every roofer has a preference of who he orders from; and knowing what materials he needs, and how much they cost are a huge part of generating an estimate.

When time is of the essence, a roofer may choose to rely on a template to provide a quote to a homeowner – but what if, unbeknownst to the sales rep, there has been a change in material availability or pricing? That estimate price may change significantly when it is processed as an order, prompting adjustments that could potentially anger the homeowner, and make the roofer appear untrustworthy.

Roofers who order material supplies through a CRM platform like AccuLynx, with a direct integration to a trusted material supplier see more accurate pricing, less mistakes in material ordering, and eliminate the need to handwrite the same information over and over across different documentation.

Using Real-Time Pricing in Your Estimates:

At the start of any job, roofers build estimates based on several factors, including the materials they use, and the costs assigned to those products.

A roofer that has digital access to real-time pricing within his estimates saves valuable time searching for the current price and availability of each individual line item. Templates in AccuLynx that pull from your local branch, with your negotiated rates give roofers an instant, accurate material cost that they can apply to their estimates, eliminating the guesswork, and potential surprises down the line.

CRM platforms with material supplier integrations allow you to complete jobs faster, meaning your company can take on more projects and make more profit.

Order Your Roofing Materials Directly from Your Estimate

Having accurate estimates translates into placing accurate orders. By converting your estimate to a material order through an integration, roofers eliminate human error, provide a digital record from one document to the next, and save time transferring the data from one platform to another. There is no time wasted between steps.

Roofers can feel confident that there will be no surprises in either availability or price when they order materials through their connected CRM platform. This proficiency improves a company’s reputation, leading to more business, and higher customer satisfaction.

Note: This article was first published on AccuLynx’s blog and can be viewed here.

Why Data Privacy Just Got Serious for American Websites

By Bekkah Anderson, Art Unlimited.

We have seen pretty much every app developer or corporate business send us an email saying they have recently updated their privacy policy. We’ve even seen those new annoying pop-ups telling us they have cookies, but now, consumer data rules are hitting your business.

As a business owner, is data privacy something to think about?

Two months ago, many people were saying, “Naw, just change your settings to block other countries from viewing your website.” But since California rolled out their own data privacy rules on June 28th, 2018 via the California Consumer Privacy Act, this isn’t something to sneeze at. As we start to see more initiatives to protect Americans’ privacy, big data should respond accordingly.

What do I have that could be considered private information?

You might not think you have any “big data,” but if you have a list of past customers, newsletter subscribers, a mailing list, online payment options, or use Google Analytics, you technically have possession of data that has privacy rights. Some privacy rights have always been out there, but most businesses had to make the ethical choice to use the information at their discretion because enforcing compliance on every business was obnoxiously hard for anyone to do.

Caveat: Unless one of two things happened to you that got people worked up:

  1. You had a ton of people you were contacting without permission that all decided to complain together and make a class action lawsuit against you.
  2. You got hacked and all of your customer data was stolen

Most of the rules for the new data protection, honestly, just made good marketing sense. Such as, if you send a previous customer 27 emails in one day, you’re going to get marked as spam and email providers will block you. This also has probably happened to you if you tried to include 60 people in the same email and you accidentally locked down your email account.

What can I do to ensure I’m compliant with the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act?

Step 1: Ensure you have an updated privacy policy that clearly lays out how you use the data such as (but not limited to):

  • If you do remarketing with this data
  • If you keep their data to contact them later with promotional content
  • If you sell their purchase habits to a 3rd party provider
  • If you record their device location
  • If you track their last click to leave your website
  • If they like your page on Facebook
  • If you share their contact information with any of your affiliates in order to target users better
  • If you collect their information to use for marketing purposes via sweepstakes, trade shows, or drawings (or any other paper form)

The list could just keep going. Anything that collects information about your users on your website should be listed in your privacy policy or anyone who has access to this information should be listed. If you do it, name it in your privacy policy. You should probably get this reviewed by your legal adviser as well to make sure it has everything.

Step 2: Clearly provide an opportunity for customers to “opt-out” of how you are using the data

Website users now have the right to request that you stop collecting their data, and you need to make sure this option is provided loud and proud.

Tip: be careful with how your program your pop-up though, especially on mobile. If all your users can see is a pop up that blocks your homepage navigation on mobile, it could affect your ranking because of a poor user experience.

Step 3: Have a process for actually following through on the users that request to be removed from your data uses.

This is where my heart hurts for business owners because this is rarely enforced well. If you say you’re going to stop talking to them after they ask you to, ACTUALLY DO IT. In the past, I just marked you as spam, but now (if I was a California resident) I could just report you to the Attorney General’s office or go after you with a personal lawyer. Have a process the thoroughly removes their information from your system and documents when the user requested to be removed.

Step 4: Don’t target people under the age of 16 unless they have specifically given you permission to or their parents have agreed to consent (if under the age of 13).

Bottom line: You have to disclose how it’s used, who has access to it, and how users can choose to not be a part of the data.

Having a data control officer who knows where the information is, where it’s going, and how it can be removed is good to have for your business. The more you know, the safer you can make your business for your customers.

What happens now if I accidentally do something I shouldn’t with customer data?

Under the new California laws, you could have to pay a civil penalty of $7,500 per incident AND pay for the cleanup/recovery of any person that had actual damages affect them OR pay out $750 a person for the violation to their privacy (whichever is a larger payout).

How long do I have before I need to make these changes?

The California Consumer Privacy Act unleashes its fangs of consequences for non-compliant business owners in 2020. You have some time to start planning your implementation strategy. Don’t get nervous, but have a clear plan of action steps to get you to where you need to be. It’s also important to keep an eye on the changes that might happen to the data rules in the months ahead. If the laws get extended to other states, there might be some new changes that make things more detailed as to certain industry or specific platform compliance.

I don’t do business in California: Do I still need to change my privacy policies?

For the present, yes and no, if you want to block your website from being searchable by any of your customers within California you could just avoid this all together….But it’s going to limit your reach, hurt your ranking ability, and if some of your customers have a beach home in California, you might be losing some of your client base because they can’t find you.

More Data Privacy Rules Are Inevitable

No matter how much money Amazon and AT&T pump into lobbyists, the passing of new laws usually has a domino effect in American legislature. If it works out nicely for California, you can expect it to either start rolling out in your state soon, or becoming a federal initiative.

We’ve already seem rumblings in Washington to push this into a federal compliance law. So, it’s always better to start being privacy complaint sooner rather than deal with the consequences of doing it later. Rushing things in the last minute to avoid penalties is never a fun spot to be in as a business. Plus, who wouldn’t want to gain a higher level of trust with customers by being respectful of their data?

Note: This article first published on Art Unlimited’s website and can be viewed here.

Photo credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

What is Your Out of the Office Message Marketing Strategy?

By Shashi Bellamkonda, Surefire Local

As part of a Burger King Belgium ad campaign, the company built a website so that people going away on vacation could give their colleagues or anyone receiving their Out of Office message a coupon for a free Oreo Shake or a burger. The video has gotten a lot of attention in advertising circles and we think it is a great idea.

This is also the season for a lot of hardworking business folks to be out of the office. Here are some ways that people have been creative with their Out of office messages:

  1. Existing customers: For any urgency provide a contact that customers can reach out to in your absence.
  2. Be creative: Our friends at RAM Driveway Sealing said in their out of office message – “At present, we are giving our squeegee-brushes a much-needed rest”
  3. Direct them to your website: There are many things that prospects can do on your website. They can schedule an appointment or send you details through the website. Let them know where to find you online.
  4. Give them an offer: One creative company offered free fireworks debris removal from roofs. This was excellent since most roofing contractors offer a free roof inspection, this gave them a foot in the door and cheers from homeowners. You could let them know they can get a free inspection or other offers. Make the offer as part of the Out of Office message at the beginning. In many cases, people don’t open “Out of Office” messages unless you hook them with your first few words in the message. “Open for a free Burger” 🙂

Note: This article first published on Surefire Local’s blog and can be viewed here.


Using social media to market your roofing business

By Heidi J. Ellsworth.
As roofing professionals, many contractors look at Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ as something from another planet. But contractors are finding that going forward social media will be one of the most important tools in their marketing program.

Upfront, don’t try to conquer all social media at once. There are some trends that are helping contractors decide where to start. It really depends on your type of business. For residential contractors, Facebook continues to grow in popularity. It is a great referral tool, letting your customers speak for you.

There are some great partners already on social media that can help jump start your efforts. One organization for residential contractors that has taken a unique and altruistic approach to social media is No Roof Left Behind (NRLB). This organization was started by Jay and Dena Elie of Ridgecon Construction with the vision that by working to provide help to those in need they would be able to help their business too.

“It is really about everyone winning,” stated Jay Elie, president of No Roof Left Behind. “We wanted to understand social media but we also wanted to help our community. Living in Detroit there is a lot of need. We were able to combine the two and have seen extreme success.”

Now, NRLB has been sharing their success with contractors across the country teaching them how to leverage the promotional value while also helping their local communities. And for the residential roofing contractors, that is the true power of social media, creating buzz and interest in your own community. Facebook continues to drive that success.

For commercial contractors, many have found better opportunities on Linked In. Linked In is a professional, networking website that allows contractors to connect with other businesses, facility managers and property owners. It is a great way to offer educational articles from manufacturers, technology providers and distribution. Showcasing successful and difficult projects along with awards will only verify and build a strong reputation.

The site is also an amazing research tool. Take the time to look through Linked In locally and see who can become a contact. Read the articles that are being posted. Join the same groups that your potential customers are a part of. It is just the type of business intelligence that can make a huge difference for that next commercial bid.

As noted, don’t leap into too many social avenues at first. In all honesty, depending on your business there are several that you may never be involved in. But, one medium that is becoming critical for not only social media success but for website search engine optimization is Google+. Google+ is a social networking site owned and operated by Google, Inc. Google is giving Google+ content a higher ranking than the websites that have similar content. Google+ is indexed immediately for search. So whatever avenue you choose – Facebook or LinkedIn – take a few extra minutes and post your content in Google+ also. It will also help to register your business with Google+ Local in addition to other online directories.

“Google Plus is imperative,” says Vickie Sharples, owner of Roofers Coffee Shop, an online community for roofing professionals. “It is amazing for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, when you post in Google Plus you are hitting the top of Google searches. Creating strong content is the key.”

“You need to do a couple key things every day,” continued Sharples. “A great practice is to get your sales team to take pictures with happy customers, with approval of course, and post it. It makes it personal. If the homeowner is willing to let you post to their Facebook you have instant referrals.”

Sharples, who has seen great success with and supporting the site through social media, has gathered some key items that can make a large difference when it comes to social media success.

  • You need interesting content and the best content a contractor can find is in the everyday things their company already does. First, think about the questions people ask when they phone in or write a post on that question. Just as you answered a question to your caller you are answering a question for your social friends.
  • Among the most interesting things are photos and the king of all content is video. You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg and please don’t make it long, but almost anyone can shoot a video with today’s technology. Send your employees to work with a camera.
  • Use a photo or video to show how you put paper under your truck to prevent oil leaking on a client’s driveway. Show how you care about your client’s safety by putting cones behind your trucks. Show a unique item from a roof that your team worked on and what is causing leaks. This is your chance to talk about your company values through photos.
  • Remember that people don’t want to hear from “You” on how great your business is, they want to hear from past customers. They want to hear from others that your company offers high quality that it stands behind. Post testimonials and encourage happy customers to give the company a nice review and then share it.

These are all good content ideas that you generate every day without realizing it. Interactive content to spur active responses is key but it is also important to let current and past customers know you are on social media. As they “Like” your company, word spreads that, in turn, not only makes the telephone ring but increases your social media presence.

Social media is all about sharing what you already are doing well. Traditional marketing can be very expensive. Social media offers the opportunity to send a message out to the public in a new way that is currently highly regarded. Social media marketing brings them to you and all it costs is a little time.

Photo by on Unsplash.