Tag: <span>RoofersCoffeeShop</span>

Roofing industry seeing material prices rising

By Heidi J. Ellsworth, RCS Partner. 

Prices are expected to continue to rise through 2021. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the U.S. in spring of 2020, the roofing industry had to adapt and adjust their business operations. As manufacturers were forced to slow or stop production and shipping became a challenge, contractors found it harder to get much-needed materials. Now, roofing companies are experiencing price increases for all types of building and roofing products.   

The lumber industry continues to see price increases and according to the National Home Builders Association, “Lumber prices increased 14.9% in August, marking the largest four-month gain since such data was first recorded in 1949 and the second-largest gain since seasonally adjusted data became available in 1975.” 

Shingle allocations and price increases have also been prevalent throughout 2020 due to high levels of storm-related re-roofing and limited raw materials. According to a roofing contractor’s website, “This week a roofing manufacturer put out a 4-6% price increase effective August 17 which follows two other shingle manufacturers with 2-7% increases and a fourth manufacturer following with their increase.” 

A key component used by most manufacturers is asphalt which is seeing its own price increases. According to Bud Polston of United Asphalts, there are widespread price increases with asphalt due to how it is processed. The demand for gasoline has been uneven in 2020 and jet fuel has seen a huge decrease in demand. According to Deloitte Insights, “Demand for gasoline has risen as more cars have returned to the road and as shops, retail stores and restaurants have reopened. However, demand for jet fuel has remained anemic, with U.S. demand still half of its pre–COVID-19 levels, as many people defer air travel.” 

The lack of demand for jet fuel has a trickledown effect on the amount and cost of producing/refining asphalt. According to information gained by United Asphalts from a refinery source, “Covid related lockdowns nationwide are impacting primarily gasoline and jet fuel (both lower demand and lower pricing). Most refineries cannot make asphalt and resid (oil products that remain after petroleum has been distilled) without also making gasoline and jet fuel and it appears that black oil production across the U.S. has decreased as a result. This is leading to higher market prices for resid and asphalt on account of the decreased production and to incentivize more production. Although the market price has increased, it is still not high enough to offset our incremental production costs of asphalt and resid.” 

This is not something that roofing manufacturers are pleased about but it is a fact that there will be price increases and roofing contractors should be aware. The Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist, Anirban Basu stated in a recent press release, “This dynamic (of building material price increases) is already observable, for example, in the prices of softwood lumber. As America’s single-family housing construction boom continues, many builders are ordering softwood lumber. With suppliers collectively lacking the near-term capacity to easily fill these orders, prices were spiking for much of 2020. Similar conditions may influence other commodities later this year as global growth accelerates. This means that contractors need to think long and hard about the existence and structure of escalation clauses as they negotiate future work.” 

In November and December of 2020, United Asphalts was hit with significant increases to the price of raw materials. They recently announced, “We are forced to increase our prices by an average of 10% in all markets for many reasons, including the ongoing ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

So, although many manufacturers must pass on price increases, they are more committed than ever to extreme customer service. “We are working with all of our customers for long-term forecasting our roofing asphalts so they can bid and complete jobs profitably,” stated Polston. 

And this is being found in the metal industry too. Roof Hugger recently announced, “As most of you are aware, several costs increase in steel have been announced in addition to some constriction in material availability. Roof Hugger, like many other fabricators, has found it necessary to pass along a portion of these material increases. We have done our best to minimize the increase and we are carefully monitoring our inventory levels.”  

They continue, “Please take note that with the uncertainty of steel costs, pricing will be good for a period of 14 days from the quote date and subject to review, thereafter, please qualify your proposals to reflect these limits. Roof Hugger is still committed to providing the best customer service and product quality as we have always been known.” 

Now more than ever a strong relationship with your manufacturers and distributors is essential. Good communication on upcoming material shortages, allocations or price increases is crucial to roofing contractor’s business.  

10 Questions Roofing Companies Need to Ask When Looking for New Software

By Karen L. Edwards.

With so many software solutions on the market, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for your business.

So, you’re at the point where your business would benefit from implementing an estimating software solution. How do you know which one is the right solution? We turned to experts from RT3 member Estimating Edge to offer some tips on what you should be looking for and what questions you should be asking.

Adam Oaks, CEO at Estimating Edge, said, “Some solutions will portray that they can do just about everything.  That of course is never the case.  Some solutions try to be everything to everyone, but that usually means they are just OK at a lot of things, but not that great in any one area.”

He advises that you look for best in breed solutions – ones that work well with the other software that you might be using to run your business while steering clear of those that offer add-ons. “A good example might be an HR solution that also tries to handle your accounting with an add on module.”

Adam says that contractors should ask the following questions when selecting a solution:

  1. Is this software the best for my company’s specific need?
  2. Does it have an open scalable platform?
  3. Is the software scalable and does it allow employees to access and work virtually?
  4. Does it fit the roofing company’s employees, processes or workflows?
  5. Does the software company have experience in commercial roofing?
  6. Does the software company offer knowledgeable support teams, training and service?
  7. What does the industry say about the software?
  8. Does the software company have a history in the industry?
  9. Will the software fit our budget?
  10. Is it Best of Breed?

In their free e-Book, Estimating Edge dives deeper into each of these questions to help you understand why you should be asking a question and what each one means for your business.

Download your copy of “10 Questions Roofing Companies Need to Ask When Looking for New Software.”

Learn More about Estimating Edge, visit their RCS Directory.

Get the latest industry news delivered to your inbox when you sign up for the SmartBrief e-newsletter. 

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop

3 Tips for Helping Your Teams Work from Home Successfully

By Karen L. Edwards.

As a seasoned work-from-home professional, I wanted to share some tips to help teams stay productive during this uncertain time.

After joining a roofing tech startup back in 2010, I made the transition from going into an office every day to working in my home office (when I wasn’t on the road). It can be isolating and make you feel sometimes like you are on an island. After 10 years of being a remote worker, I’ve learned some tips and tricks that can make it a rewarding and productive experience.

1 – A Defined Workspace

Decide on your workspace. If you already have a home office, that’s great! Now is the time to clean it up and put it to use. Make sure you have a comfortable chair, as you will find yourself not walking around like you used to for chatting with co-workers. Determine a dedicated workspace where you can limit the noise and interruptions that may occur from other household members. I also recommend using a Bluetooth headset for talking on the phone as it frees your hands for note taking during a call.

2 – A Daily Structure

It’s important to stick to routine. If you normally start your day at 8 am, keep doing that while working from home.  I recommend not working in your pajamas, but rather get ready for your day just as you would if you were going into the office. Be sure to take a lunch break. That’s a good time to stretch your legs and take a walk; get the circulation flowing since you aren’t walking as much as you would in an office setting.

3 – Hold Video Meetings

Don’t just hold conference calls to meet with the rest of the team working remotely. Video meetings are great for morale and eliminate the ‘working on an island’ feeling. There are a number of free video conferencing services and some companies are expanding the free versions of their services in light of the shift to a virtual workforce. It also helps to ensure that you don’t multi-task during a meeting because everyone can see what you are doing!

Making it work

It’s important for you as an employer to trust that your employees are committed and dedicated to getting the job done – no matter where they are working. It’s equally important for you as an employer to be understanding. There may be dogs barking, or cats appearing on a video call when they jump on the desk or table (just happened to me the other day!).

Also realize that schools are closed; there might be children in the background. Depending on their age, children can have a hard time understanding that just because mom or dad is home, doesn’t mean they aren’t working. Expect there to be interruptions from time to time.

Together we will get through this!

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Source: RoofersCoffeeShop

 

The important questions to ask when selecting roofing software

By Heidi Ellsworth, RCS Partner.

The question is – are you asking the right questions about potential roofing software?  Every day contractors encounter companies selling the next best thing to grow their roofing business. Sure, it can sound great, but it’s so easy to get lost in the minutiae of choosing a software and end up going down several trails that really do not pay dividends for the big picture – a stronger, more profitable company. The right software can relieve many of your pain points, like labor tracking, productivity, diversification, job profitability and more.  But, you need to ask the right questions to ensure you choose the right product.

As roofing companies are looking for the right software there are many questions to consider. Here are 7 tips and questions to help:

1. Labor Tracking
You will want your roofing software to include labor tracking features. This will not only help with getting invoices out faster, but it will assist you with having a clearer understanding of your job ROIs.
Question – Does the software track labor?

2. Customer Data
There are several Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and many of them integrate with project management software. Some systems offer customer portals where you can share data, photos, job progress, inspections and invoices with customers at their convenience.
Question – Does the software offer a customer portal?

3. Mobile and Table Use
It does not seem possible to survive in today’s world without a smart device and that is especially true when it comes to business. Smart phones allow contractors to be in touch with their customers immediately – giving them a clear edge when it comes to customer service.
Question – Does the software work on all mobile and desktop platforms?

4. Cloud-based Access
Today, it’s all about communication.  Progressive contractors can operate and communicate with customers and employees from anywhere, anytime. This is only possible with cloud-based solutions. Every step of the process is at the fingertips of management, crews and the sales team. The ability to communicate across numerous, if not all employees, allows for strong communications that correlates into a great customer experience.
Question – Is it cloud-based and available to all employees, anywhere, on any device?

5. Aerial Measurements
Aerial technology has been in place since 2008 and it just keeps getting better. Gathering roof measurements traditionally was a time-consuming process prone to mistakes such as mathematical errors or simple human error, but has now become a quick, easy and reliable technology.
Question – Does the software integrate or include aerial measurement technology?

6. Estimating
Advancements in estimating software, as well as the introduction of cloud-based access, enables strong estimating technology for virtually any size roofing contractor. Not every solution will fit every business right out of the box so it’s important to understand your company’s needs, how the technology fits into your existing processes and what new efficiencies can be realized through the implementation of an estimating tool.
Question – Does the estimating software fit the business needs?

7. Implementation
The most important thing you can do before purchasing any new technology is to take the time to do your research. Talk to other contractors you find through roofing associations or networks and see what has worked for them. You can also look at online reviews and utilize free trials to try out and get a full understanding of the options that are out there and how they are implemented.
Question – How will this work for the company/employees and how easy will it be to implement?

Jobba Trade Technologies and many other technology companies are also members of Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3), an organization, which RCS is a part of, that helps roofing contractors understand  important questions to ask about technology.

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

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop.

RT3 Member’s Unique Connection with the Ronald McDonald House Charities

By Lauren White, RCS Reporter.

Charles Antis shares why the Ronald McDonald House means so much to him.

With twins six weeks premature, Charles Antis and his wife were frightened and stressed.  Charles, founder and CEO of Antis Roofing and Waterproofing recalls the long drives back and forth to the hospital to have skin-on-skin time with his newborns.  In addition to being concerned about his children, he was afraid to talk to the Ronald McDonald House because he didn’t want to admit to being one of those families with sick children.  However, when he shares his story he expresses his gratitude for the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) stating, “You taught me that if I can stay close to my kids then we can heal.”

The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home for the families of critically ill or injured children.  Opening in 1989, the Orange County Ronald McDonald House (OCRMH) is a place of comfort when it is most needed.  These houses are near the hospital where children are receiving care.  They provide families with meals, private rooms to sleep in, and they foster a sense of community as families are able to interact with others as they go through difficult times.  Just last year 805 families stayed in the house.

Now, Charles serves on the board of the OCRMH.  He shares, “I’m fortunate to serve as a board member and contribute to the House’s mission to provide a safe haven for families of critically ill children.”  Having visited the Ronald McDonald House in Orange County a few years ago, he learned there had been no roof maintenance for seven years. Owning a company who values charity and social responsibility, Charles wanted to help.  He offered to donate support and seal any potential leak areas.

Since then, Antis Roofing has adopted the roofs of 165 stand-alone Ronald Mcdonald Houses throughout the United States.  Contractors from the Roofing Alliance and National Roofing Contractor Association (NRCA) committed to the upkeep of one or more roofs.  They provide inspections, repairs, and other maintenance services for these roofs.  It is necessary that the RMHC homes are safe and water-tight to keep the families of sick children protected in their time of need.  And now they have plans to increase the size of the OCRMH by nearly 4,000 square feet to serve even more families so no one gets turned away.

With a unique start to their relationship, Antis Roofing and the Ronald McDonald House Charities have developed a great partnership.  The RMHC had a lasting impact on Charles seeing as they allowed him and his family to stay close and feel a sense of relief when they needed it most.  Antis Roofing is encouraging others to help expand the house stating, “Let’s come together, to double the love, double the house, so other families in need can stay close to their critically ill children.”

Get the latest industry news updates delivered right to your inbox when you sign up for the RT3 SmartBrief e-newsletter. 

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop

RT3 member RoofersCoffeeShop® wins at 2019 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards

RT3 member RoofersCoffeeShop®, the award-winning place where the industry meets for technology, information and everyday business, announced that it is a winner of the 2019 Folio: Eddie Award for Website B2B Building & Construction.  They also received an honorable mention in the B2B Social Media/Online Community category.

As a 2019 winner, RoofersCoffeeShop (RCS) is recognized among the crème de la crème in the publishing industry. This year’s awards saw publishers, editors, content creators and designers competing from across all forms of print and digital publishing.  Winners were narrowed down from more than 2,500 entries. The Coffee Shop has been an industry staple for roofing professionals since 2002.  In 2017, RCS also received an honorable mention for B2B Website/Online Community in the Construction & Manufacturing category.

For more than 25 years, the Eddie & Ozzie Awards have recognized excellence in uncompromising journalism and gorgeous design across all sectors of the publishing industry—and 2019 was no different!  Over 300 magazine and digital media professionals from all over the country gathered in New York City on October 30, 2019 at the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards to celebrate the B2B, consumer and regional brands who competed for the prestigious honor.

“We are incredibly proud,” stated Vickie Sharples, RoofersCoffeeShop Partner.  “We have worked very hard to create strong content and interesting information that helps roofing contractors every day run a better business.  We also think it is critical to celebrate the roofing industry, the professionalism and character of the men and women who make this trade strong.  To be recognized for that by Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards is a great honor.”

RCS continues to grow with its addition of the RLW – Read Listen Watch initiative, tri-lingual website, classified expansion into Canada and a full analytics dashboard.  The ongoing coverage of the roofing industry by the RCS team continues to inform, educate and entertain. For more information visit RCS at www.rooferscoffeeshop.com .

About RoofersCoffeeShop.com
As an award-winning website and online community, RoofersCoffeeShop is committed to being a roofing professional advocate by supplying consistent information, education and communication avenues for all roofing professionals, and especially contractors, while promoting the positive growth, education and success of the roofing industry overall. Visitors to the site continue to find excellent opportunities for sharing information while participating in important ongoing conversations concerning new technologies, safety and the overall roofing trade. From the rooftop to the board room, RoofersCoffeeShop.com is “Where the Industry Meets!” For more information, visit www.rooferscoffeeshop.com.

About Folio
Folio: is a multi-channel resource for the magazine and online media industry. Our primary mission is to help media companies generate revenue and increase audience engagement.  For more information, please visit www.FolioMag.com.

Are Rooftop Farms the Future?

Rooftop in Paris to feature 150,000 square feet of vegetables.

A Paris-based urban farming company, Agropolis, designed the rooftop farm that will sit on top of a redesigned entertainment complex, according to an article in Fast Company.  While rooftop farms do exist in the U.S. with a 75,000 square foot farm in Chicago and a 55,000 square foot one in Brooklyn, this new one in Paris will be more than double the size.

Crops are set to be grown in open air, similar to traditional farms but will use vertical growing towers that aid in the ability for a plant to produce more food in a small growing area. There’s no need for dirt either, since the growing towers are an aeroponic system. Plants are fed by a nutrient-filled mist that meets organic standards and saves water.

An Agropolis spokesperson, Pascal Handy, told Fast Company that the size of the rooftop farm has advantages. “Size is an opportunity to reach profitability, as balance on small or [mid-size] rooftops is difficult.” Hardy also said they like using the outdoors to grow because an indoor environment uses other resources such as energy. “When you have a controlled environment, you get rid of many hazards, but you also use lots of resources, like energy, to produce vegetables and fruits,” Hardy explained in the interview. “We decided to have productive systems, like growing towers, but in an uncontrolled environment to reduce investments and to avoid wasting resources.”

Making up for lost farmland

According to James Kauffman, Director of the Commercial Tower Garden Division of Agritecture, we lose “more than 50 acres of American farmland to urban development every hour and in that same amount of time the human population grows by 240 people.”

Rooftop farms and gardens can enhance the urban landscape and make cities greener. Not only can rooftop farms help reduce the urban heat-island effect, they can lessen the environmental impact from food transportation. TowerGarden.com says that these vertical growing systems use only 10 percent of the land and water required for traditional farming. The aeroponic system is a closed system and recycles 100 percent of its nutrients and water.

Rooftops-to-restaurants

Restaurants are embracing the concept of Rooftop-to-Restaurants by growing herbs and vegetables on their roofs and serving them to guests. Bell, Book & Candle installed one of the first rooftop gardens in Greenwich Village in New York City. Chef John Mooney had so much success with the idea that he started another one, Bidwell, in Washington, D.C.

There’s little doubt that growing food on rooftops delivers some powerful benefits for urban areas and the people who live there. Using aeroponics and no dirt is an interesting approach that should make it easier for contractors when performing service or maintenance on roofs that feature one of these farms.

Image credit: Agropolis and Bell

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop

Lowe’s Takes Big Step to End the Skills Gap

By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.

Lowe’s just launched a workforce development program to educate young people on careers in trades like construction.

Generation T, or Gen T, is a consortium of 60 member organizations including manufacturers, schools and other stakeholders who are trying to end the skills gap. Lowe’s Skilled Trades Director Mike Mitchell led the development of the initiative. Left unaddressed, the skills gap reportedly could create a shortage of 3 million jobs by 2028.

Mitchell told the Charlotte-Observer that the company wants to debunk myths about skilled trades like carpentry, floor installation and plumbing. He said those positions are high paying and don’t require a college degree. Gen T’s goal is to understand why young people are avoiding the trades and introduce high school students to the trades as an alternative to college.

“The cause is two-fold,” Mitchell said in a Business Insider interview. “Past generations of skilled trade workers are retiring, and there aren’t enough trained workers to replace them. And for 40 years the skilled trades have been miscast. We need to help students understand the path to success leads through education that doesn’t have to be a four-year degree; skilled trades education is simply a different brand of education.”

According to the article, Gen T will “coordinate with its partners to donate products like appliances and tools to students studying trades and also help build networks so students can find apprenticeships.” Lowe’s has already donated tools to the schools near their North Caroline headquarters.

Gen T has set up a site that will serve as a “national marketplace for jobs, apprenticeships and education programs.”

“Individuals can leverage the platform to explore opportunities in the skilled trades and locate actual training and job opportunities in their area by a simple ZIP code search,” Mitchell said. “As more companies join the Generation T movement, more opportunities will become available within the portal.”

Get the latest industry news when you sign up for the RT3 Smart Brief. 

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop.

Asphalt an innovative technology? You’d be surprised.

By Karen L. Edwards.

Despite being around for years, the asphalt roofing industry is constantly innovating and developing new technologies. This conversation with Reed Hitchcock, EVP of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association talk about the innovation and where asphalt is headed.

ARMA is the North American trade association representing the producers of asphalt roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles, built-up-roofing (BUR) and modified bitumen roofing, as well as the industry’s suppliers of raw materials. According to Reed Hitchcock, ARMA EVP, the association represents about 80 percent of the producers of low-slope asphalt roofing materials and 99 percent of the asphalt shingles manufacturers. If anyone has their finger on the pulse of the asphalt roofing industry, it’s Reed. Reed’s been involved with ARMA since 2003 and became the executive vice president in 2007.

ARMA advocates and advances the interests of the asphalt roofing industry by leveraging the collective expertise of its members, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the industry. “What’s unique about ARMA is that unlike other trade associations, our Executive Committee is populated by the CEOs and owners of the companies that we represent,” he explained. “This allows us to be nimble and strategic as an organization.”

The labor challenges.

“Across the roofing and construction industries, labor is a huge challenge, both on and off the roof,” said Reed. “There are shortages of truck drivers to move materials, shortages of workers to install roofing systems, and shortages of workers in the manufacturing plants.”

One way of addressing this is immigration reform that meets workforce needs, which is an issue that ARMA and the NRCA recently supported in Washington, D.C. on Roofing Day. The day was spent encouraging legislators to support the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act (H.R. 1740) and the Dream and Promise Act (H.R.6), which would tackle chronic workforce shortages and establish a market-driven visa system, enabling employers to grow their business and fill currently empty roles nationwide.

“We need smart immigration now because across the industry, employers are struggling to fill good paying jobs, which is a sign the workforce is not large enough,” Reed said. “Our industry as a whole does a poor job promoting the good living somebody can make and clearly explaining the career paths available. Employment can begin on the roof as a laborer and evolve into other roles like a foreman, supervisor or sales person. Those same opportunities for growth exist in our manufacturing plants, as well.”

As the existing workforce is aging and retiring, effort needs to go into bringing the younger generation into the industry. Reed says they are seeing this happen in their association, as well. “We see the same thing in a microcosmic level. The experts in our committees and task forces are aging and the younger members are already in their late 40s. A major initiative for ARMA is to engage the up-and-comers from our member companies in the association.”

The future of asphalt roofing.

“One of the things that we wrestle with all the time is the perception that asphalt is old technology, but the industry is constantly producing new, innovative technologies,” explained Reed. “One of the most recent examples is the advancement in granule technologies, such as granules that can reduce smog and that can reflect the sun’s rays.”

Reed said that he thinks we will start seeing more polymer modified asphalt used for shingles. It’s a proven, seasoned technology, and industry developments in the quality of the available asphalt may provide an opportunity for expansion. “Modified bitumen membranes have used polymer modified asphalt for years, but it’s not a technology that we’ve traditionally seen in mainstream shingles.”

“The other thing we see is the explosion of innovation on the floor of industry trade shows, where companies are presenting inventive and creative technologies in aesthetics, engineering, durability, and even installation,” Reed observed. “Asphalt really is a versatile material, from making a shingle with the aesthetic of slate, shake or tile, or creating an energy-saving membrane. We see this in our Excellence in Asphalt Roofing awards program too, where incredible projects from across North America demonstrate asphalt roofing’s aesthetic appeal, performance and durability for homes and buildings.”

Health and safety are a focus.

ARMA is heavily involved in health, safety and environmental issues, as well. “Since chemical use is involved, it’s important to ensure that our manufacturing plants are safe environments; our manufacturers always want to make sure workers are safe. The industry’s put a lot of time and effort into just ensuring work safety and quality,” explained Reed.

ARMA also provides comments and education on regulatory matters such as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) activities related to manufacturing. “We engage on EPA activities for the benefit of our members’ manufacturing facilities. It keeps our members informed and makes sure we respectfully educate the regulators; we want to make sure that they understand our industry.”

Regulators do not always understand how the products work and how people interact with them, so ARMA focuses on being the educator to ensure that the regulations that are enacted are fair and meet the goal to protect people and property.

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop.