Tag: <span>Technology</span>

Roofing Technology Think Tank Announces 2021 Innovator of the Year

The award recognizes a roofing contractor who contributes to the advancement of the roofing industry.

York, Pennsylvania, September 21, 2021 –- Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3), a group of progressive roofing professionals focused on technology solutions for the roofing industry, awarded the 2021 Innovator of the Year award to Ken Kelly, president of Bonita Springs, Florida-based Kelly Roofing. The award was announced during the 2021 Best of Success Conference.

“Ken is a visionary leader who embraced the potential that technology could bring to both his company and the roofing industry,” stated Anna Anderson, CEO of Art Unlimited, Award Task Team Leader and RT3 Board President. “He fully leveraged technology to automate many of the processes in his company, doubling the size of his business without adding additional staff.”

The Kelly Roofing team is willing to share their knowledge and help others in the industry. Ken has been a speaker on several RT3 webinars and educational panels, sharing his experiences and helping other contractors with their technology journey. He has also hosted contractors at his company who want to see the operation and understand how the company is using technology on a daily basis.

In addition, Ken is heavily involved in philanthropy. He partners with Habitat for Humanity, donates a roof to a family in need each year and is also the wing leader for the Southwest Florida Angel Flight, where he arranges missions and recruits pilots to transport people in medical need.

Kelly Roofing is a member of the Roofing Alliance and National Roofing Contractors Association where he serves on the board. Kelly was a founding board member of the Roofing Technology Think Tank.

Congratulations to Ken Kelly and Kelly Roofing on being named the 2021 Innovator of the Year.

About Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3)
Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) strives to find innovative technology solutions to be used within the roofing industry.  RT3 provides insights from progressive thought leaders both inside and outside the roofing industry along with practical resources for implementing potential solutions successfully. The organization will encourage and enable contractors to embrace technology as they seek to grow their businesses.  With a commitment to disseminate technology advancement information, RT3 will help build the professionalism and appeal of the roofing industry. Learn more at www.rt3thinktank.com.

RT3 Member Mycocycle Named a Finalist for 1871 Momentum Award as an Industry Disrupter

The 1871 Momentum Awards is the celebration of tech innovation in Chicago.

Mycocycle, Inc., a leader in using mycoremediation to process toxins out of waste, was named a finalist for 1871’s Momentum Award in the Industry Disrupter category. The award is presented to a company that has developed or introduced an ingenious, non-traditional, and innovative product or service that has significantly disrupted the industry.

“Having participated in the LatinX+IHCC Incubator at 1871 as one of my very first organizational experiences as a startup, I am delighted to be in contention for this award,” said Joanne Rodriguez, Mycocycle founder and CEO. “It is an exciting time to have a growing company in Chicago and the Midwest. The startup ecosystem is supportive, passionate, and always serves as a source of inspiration for me. We look forward to participating in the 2021 Momentum Awards and can’t wait to celebrate with all of our fellow founders!”

“The finalists for this year’s Industry Disrupter Award are leading the path forward through ingenuity and determination, and we’re thrilled to include Mycocycle among this impressive group,” said 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler. “Their innovative solutions are transforming old waste practices into eco-friendly market opportunities and building a necessary picture of a potential world without waste. We wish them the best of luck as voting begins.”

The 14th annual 1871 Momentum Awards celebrate tech innovation in Chicago, recognizing outstanding CEOs, rising stars and game-changing companies across seven different award categories. Award winners are chosen through a combination of scores from 1871 judges and public votes. Voting opens August 16 and runs through September 1. Winners will be announced on September 23 at a hybrid awards ceremony.

Place your vote for Mycocycle at https://app.reviewr.com/s1/showcase//Momentum-21.  

About Mycocycle

Mycocycle, Inc. was founded in October 2018. It is a woman-owned, early stage cleantech company using mycoremediation to process toxins out of waste. Mycocycle was recognized as a Finalist in FastCompany’s “2020 World Changing Ideas” Awards issue, a presenter for NREL’s 2020 Industry Growth Forum, a 2020 Innovation selection in the EPA’s Innovation and America Recycle’s Fair, and the winner of the Cleantech Open National 2020 Resiliency Challenge.  Mycocycle has been named a 2021 Illinois Qualified New Business Venture under the Angel Investment Tax Credit Program. This program provides Illinois-based investors a state tax credit of 25 percent of their investment up to $2 million. For more information visit www.mycocycle.com.

About 1871

1871 exists to inspire, equip, and support the early stage, growth stage, and corporate innovators that are building extraordinary businesses in their communities. We are the convenor of changemakers, bringing together the right resources, support, and connections that drive growth for businesses across the entire maturity curve, from idea to Fortune 50. Our community is rooted in Chicago with a reach that spans the globe, with over 1,500 members and an expansive network of mentors, corporate sponsors, university partners, VCs, alumni, and policymakers. Learn more at www.1871.com.  

RT3 member Atlas Roofing debuts new StormMaster® Hip & Ridge Shingles with Core4™

Manufacturer expands use of its proprietary enhanced polymer technology to include more products.

Atlas Roofing Corporation is excited to announce the launch of its StormMaster® Hip & Ridge shingle featuring the company’s proprietary Core4™ Enhanced Polymer Technology, which allows the shingle to provide extra strength, flexibility, durability and extreme weather resistance.

Atlas Roofing, an innovator in shingle technology, says Core4 surpasses standard styrene butadiene styrene (SBS) asphalt for overall better rooftop performance. By including Core4 in its hip-and-ridge shingle lines, Atlas further raises quality and performance expectations across the industry.

Core4 Technology — previously only available in Atlas StormMaster® Shake and StormMaster® Slate shingle lines — are manufactured with polymers enhanced at a molecular level that help shingles stand up to the most severe weather conditions. Like StormMaster Shake and StormMaster Slate, StormMaster Hip & Ridge feature Scotchgard™ Protector for long-lasting defense against black streaks caused by algae.

“With the addition of our Core4 technology in StormMaster Hip & Ridge, Atlas is again underscoring its commitment to providing the best quality shingles on the market,” says Stan Bastek, vice president of sales and marketing for Atlas Roofing’s Shingle & Underlayment Division. “Our research-driven results show Core4 technology outpaces standard asphalt technology.”

Introduced in 2019, Core4 incorporates a proprietary blend of enhanced virgin polymers to create four primary features:

  • PolyCore® Technology creates stronger shingles that last longer and perform with increased consistency and less variability.
  • FlexCore® Technology allows shingles to bend and flex in cold temperatures, particularly when others crack and tear.
  • WeatherCore® Technology provides shingles with strength and resilience to withstand winds up to 150 mph and hail damage.
  • ThermalCore® Technology drives shingle stability, reducing the effects of expansion and contraction caused by extreme temperature changes.

StormMaster Hip & Ridge colors match Atlas StormMaster Shake, StormMaster Slate and Pinnacle® Pristine shingles and will continue to provide homeowners with the same stunning curb appeal they have come to expect from Atlas.

StormMaster Hip & Ridge shingles are now a required component of the Atlas Signature Select® Roofing System for StormMaster Slate, StormMaster Shake or Pinnacle Pristine installations. StormMaster Hip & Ridge are covered by the Atlas Lifetime Algae Resistance Limited Warranty.

About Atlas Roofing
Atlas is an innovative, customer-oriented provider of asphalt shingles, roof underlayments, rigid expanded polystyrene and polyiso insulation, geofoam, cold chain, protective packaging, lost foam, and cutting-edge coated and paper facers and underlayments for a diverse set of markets. Atlas has grown from a single asphalt shingle manufacturing facility to 36 facilities in North America with worldwide product distribution. Products from the company’s four major divisions, Polyiso Roof & Wall Insulation, Shingle & Underlayment, Molded Products, and Web Technologies, are manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities and shipped from its network of manufacturing plants and distribution facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. For more information, visit http://www.atlasroofing.com.

RT3 Members XAP 360 and Owens Corning Introduce Touchless Roofing Inspection Platform to U.S. Contractors

XAP 360 powered by Kespry’s drone-based aerial intelligence technology provides roofing professionals with granular accuracy and efficiency, enhancing homeowner transparency and satisfaction

XAP 360, a leader in touchless property assessment solutions is collaborating with fellow RT3 member, Owens Corning, a global leader in insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composite materials. The collaboration offers Owens Corning Roofing Contractor (OCCN)  members advanced inspections and reporting tool, OC ProScan. The new business service is designed to deliver transparent and accurate roof inspection experience for homeowners, helping claim payouts occur rapidly while also educating and protecting the contractor’s customer base.

XAP 360 and Owens Corning are working together to provide roofing contractors with a drone-based roofing inspections platform that offers a fully autonomous, touchless technology providing objective third party professional reporting.

“Owens Corning is proud to team up with innovative business services like XAP 360 whose innovative platform will enable Owens Corning Roofing Contractor Network members to differentiate themselves in this virtual selling environment and take their business to the next level,” said Jon Gardner, Contractor Training Leader, Owens Corning.

“With XAP 360 powered by Kespry, roofing professionals and property owners can finally sit at the same table physically or virtually, and communicate honestly and openly,” said Phil Pratt, partner, XAP 360. “We can now bridge the existing uncertainty gap with transparency as XAP 360 is guided by sophisticated technological innovations in aerial intelligence from Kespry. We’ve pushed the roofing industry out of the shadows and into the information age, giving our contractors tools to allow them to seamlessly work in today’s  new business environment.”

About Owens Corning

Owens Corning is a global building and industrial materials leader. The company’s three integrated businesses are dedicated to the manufacture and advancement of a broad range of insulation, roofing and fiberglass composite materials. Leveraging the talents of 19,000 employees in 33 countries, Owens Corning provides innovative products and sustainable solutions that address energy efficiency, product safety, renewable energy, durable infrastructure, and labor productivity. These solutions provide a material difference to the company’s customers and make the world a better place. Based in Toledo, Ohio, USA, the company posted 2019 sales of $7.2 billion. Founded in 1938, it has been a Fortune 500® company for 66 consecutive years. For more information, please visit www.owenscorning.com.

About XAP

XAP 360 is headquartered out of southwest Ohio and brings cutting edge technology to the roofing industry.  XAP 360 was founded by industry professionals dedicated to furthering the trade and building sustainable business solutions by pairing the most advanced aerial inspection software with sound sales and marketing strategies.  XAP 360 is also helping roofing professionals all across North America operate faster, safer and more profitable.

To learn more, visit: www.xap360.com/ocp or email sales@xap360.com

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.

Scenarios

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 podio.com in combination with globiflow.com. Podio.com 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 globiflow.com 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 globiflow.com 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 Roofsnap.com 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 Rooferscoffeeshop.com.

Source: RoofersCoffeeShop.

Roofing Technology Think Tank Seeks Nominations for 2020 Innovator of the Year Award

The award recognizes a roofing contractor who has demonstrated a commitment to technology and the advancement of the roofing industry.

Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3), a group of progressive roofing professionals focused on technology solutions for the roofing industry, announced that it has opened the nomination period for the 2020 Innovator of the Year Award.

This award was created to nationally recognize a roofing contractor that has contributed to the advancement of the roofing industry through technical innovation and/or product development in one of the following areas:

  • Production/Technology Efficiency
  • Safety Innovation
  • Client Service/Quality of Delivery
  • Employee Recruitment/Training/Retention
  • Environmental Impact

Award judging criteria will be based on innovation, results, design and strategy. The 2019 winner was Curtis Sutton of Carthage, Tennessee-based Rackley Roofing, a company that counts innovation as one of its six core values.

The 2020 recipient will be announced this fall at the Best of Success conference. To be eligible, a roofing contractor must be licensed and bonded for a minimum of five years and have a minimum $5 million in annual revenue. They also must be a member of a professional industry association and be able to cite community enrichment ties through support of non-profits or company culture programs.

For more information and to submit an award application visit www.rt3thinktank.com/innovator-award. There is a $50 nomination fee to cover processing and award costs.  The nomination period closes July 31, 2020.

About Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3)
Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) strives to find innovative technology solutions to be used within the roofing industry. RT3 provides insights from progressive thought leaders both inside and outside the roofing industry along with practical resources for implementing potential solutions successfully. The organization will encourage and enable contractors to embrace technology as they seek to grow their businesses. With a commitment to disseminate technology advancement information, RT3 will help build the professionalism and appeal of the roofing industry.

Roofing Technology Think Tank Launches New Community

The RT3 Community will allow more members of the roofing industry to engage with RT3 members.

May 18, 2020 –- Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3), a group of progressive roofing professionals focused on technology solutions for the roofing industry, announced the creation of a new, non-voting membership called the RT3 Community.

“In more traditional times, RT3 members were able to share knowledge and information with the industry at conferences and tradeshows but we have had to adapt in order to be safe,” said Karen Edwards, RT3 director of communications and engagement. “When the pandemic began here, we launched a series of educational webinars and were blown away by the level of participation. It became obvious that we needed to find a way to continue to engage with the industry.”

The organization developed the RT3 Community membership that allows members the opportunity to join a special Slack channel with RT3 members, attend the RT3 virtual meetups and Tech Talks, be invited to RT3 popup networking groups at industry events, access the RT3 Technology Innovators Facebook group, participate in the RT3 Technology Forum on RoofersCoffeeShop® and receive the SmartBrief e-newsletter featuring progressive industry content.

The RT3 Community membership is open to anyone in the roofing industry, without needing to apply and receive approval from the membership task team. “It is our hope that opening this community to everyone will continue to advance the understanding and implementation of technology into the roofing industry,” said Edwards.

Full voting individual and corporate memberships remain capped at 100 members maximum in order for RT3 to continue to be agile and maximize the learning opportunities for the rest of the industry. “When full membership spots become available, the RT3 Community is the perfect feeder system to fill those seats with engaged, passionate new members,” concluded Edwards.

Join the RT3 Community by visiting www.rt3thinktank.com and choosing ‘Join now.

About Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3)
Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) strives to find innovative technology solutions to be used within the roofing industry. RT3 provides insights from progressive thought leaders both inside and outside the roofing industry along with practical resources for implementing potential solutions successfully. The organization will encourage and enable contractors to embrace technology as they seek to grow their businesses. With a commitment to disseminate technology advancement information, RT3 will help build the professionalism and appeal of the roofing industry. Learn more at www.rt3thinktank.com.

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

How to Virtualize Your Business During A Shutdown

By Anna Anderson and Kandi Hamble

The world has been shifting beneath our feet in these past few weeks. As more and more people must transition to working from home, many business owners are wondering how to keep their business running. Kids out of school, bills, cash flow, and even worry about how our lives will change are all worthy distractions to combat – with love and clean hands.

Here are some things you can do to work from home, keep your employees and customers safe, and help you weather these current events.

1. Set Up Your Workspace

Having one area where you will always work while at home can help set expectations for everyone at home, including you. You will most likely face one of two scenarios:

  • You are able to dedicate a room in your home where it is nice and quiet
  • You will be surrounded by your family because they, too, have been sent home

Set up in a room where you can close the door if the kids get too rambunctious. Having a quiet place where you can work is ideal, but not many people have that option! If you need to share space with your family, consider creating a corner in your living room or at your kitchen table. Limit visual distractions as much as you can (I set my desk up to face a wall).

Another important part of moving operations from the office to your home is forwarding calls. WikiHow has a tutorial covering how to forward calls from a landline, android, and iPhone. If you have a phone service for your office, talk to them about forwarding calls -and voicemails- so you and your team can remain available to callers.

Your team will also need a proper setup to work from home. It should include anything they need to complete their job. For instance, your accounting and customer service teams would need a computer. Are your technicians performing roof repairs? Helping delivery essential supplies? Think about what they would need and help supply it.

No matter where you set up, organize and treat the space as if it were your office. Dress up and be professional to help keep your mindset focused on work. Take breaks from your home office throughout the day, just as you would at the office. Leave the area once your day ends. Work is done and it’s time to play!

2. Digital Connection

Face to face interaction has great value. Just because we must practice social distancing right now does not mean face-to-face interaction should go by the wayside. When you need to talk to employees or customers, use video conferencing instead of calling them.

Video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Skype can be easily used for remote meetings. Each has free and paid accounts which are easy to set up. They can also be used when you need to see a potential job site.

Consider setting up a weekly group check-in or short daily ‘coffee breaks’ where you and your team catch up on day-to-day life over video. Make some of these breaks be about life instead of business to help your team stay united.

Set up instant messaging to help replace talking in the office. We use the Google suite, so Google Hangouts is how our team gets a quick answer to something. We also have a chat thread dedicated to funny memes and non-business conversations. Although running a business requires dedicated, serious people, we still need levity in our days. Other options include Slack or groupme…even MarcoPolo could help grow a shared culture.

Using an app such as Asana or Hygger can help you and your team track daily goals as well as keep the whole team on the same pages for projects. Here are some more options you can look into for your business.

3. Have a Working Website

While this is low on our list, a working website is just as important as your team being set up to work from home. Right now, people are on the internet much more than usual. Keep your home page up to date with hours and how you are responding during our current events. Have a easy to find contact form. Your CRM should be connected to your forms, also.

4. Limit Distractions

Working from home can present many distractions – especially now. Kids, laundry, dishes, pets, that TV show you wanted to catch up on…If you wouldn’t do these things at the office, you shouldn’t do them while working from home. Set clear boundaries for your work time and home life.

  • If you live in tight quarters, everyone will have to adjust to this season. Ask your family to keep their voices down as they do their stuff (you may need to, also).
  • Being able to shut a door to the rest of the home can help. If you’re the social type or have younger kids, keep the door open so you can still hear the family buzz without being overly distracted. When you absolutely need to be left alone, put a “do not disturb” sign on the door.
  • If you are able to work while listening to music or a podcast, put on some headphones and listen. Those can help block out other distractions so you can focus on the tasks at hand.
  • If you have pets, they can really help you stay sane; however, they can be distracting as they also adjust to you being home. Help them know what to expect during this time by being consistent with what you allow. They’ll catch on that when you’re in your workspace they need to leave you alone. To get out some jitters, take your dog on a walk during break times. Our cats seem pretty chill, so give them attention as they want it, as long as they don’t take you away from work.

5. Be Intentional About Time

Time is your most valuable asset. Having a proper setup and good time management will help as you and your team work from home.

Add structure to you and your team’s workday:

  • Have set ‘office hours’ so your customers and team knows when you are available
  • Keep track of what you need to finish each day – either through a checklist or an app
  • Split your day into sections, such as emails first thing in the morning
  • Make a plan of what can be done and what will wait until the Stay At Home orders have lifted
  • Set alarms for regular break times
  • Block off time throughout the day to spend time with your family
  • If you have meetings, set up independent activities for kids beforehand

Having set boundaries for your workday versus when you can run errands, do homework, walk your dog, or play with your kids is critical to working remotely. Setting your mind on work can make all the difference!

6. Be Smart About Snacking

Food. It is one more thing to stay aware of when working from home. If you planned your meals and snacks when you worked in the office, continue to do so. If you haven’t, now is a great time to start. Keep healthier snacks like nuts and fruit on hand. I notice how much easier it is to ‘boredom snack’ when working from home. This leads to fluctuating blood sugar which leads to distraction and…weight gain. Keep (or set) good habits and follow them.

7. Have Grace

Our generation has not lived through a global pandemic – while this is new to us, it isn’t new to history. This is the perfect time to practice grace and empathy for yourself, your family, your team, and your community.

  • Have grace for yourself. Expect for things to be slow going at first and to have kids show up in meetings for a while. While productivity can be a good thing, this is a time of adjustment to a new way to live.
  • Have grace for your family. This is new for them, also. Each person will have their own adjustments and fears. This time can help you grow closer to each other.
  • Have grace for your employees. Transitions will take time and things won’t always run smoothly. Don’t expect perfection right out of the gate! Work through any issues as they present themselves.

To help during this crazy time of physical distancing and closures, we still have so much to be grateful for! Let go of expectations of ‘normal’ and find something new each day to be thankful about. Find a way to get outside each day, move your body, and cultivate beauty during this dark time. We will get through this together, from six feet away and through our computer screens.