Developing Roofing Business

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by LeasingEval, Nov 30, 2014.

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  1. LeasingEval

    LeasingEval UKBF Regular Free Member

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    I am helping to run a roofing company based in Glasgow.

    The owner is currently just keeping himself busy doing small repairs for domestic customers, letting agents and factors. This keeps him ticking over but there are plenty of periods where hehas nothing to do.

    We need to try and take the business to the next level and get some larger jobs in.
    In terms of cash-flow he is running month to month so we don't have budget available for mainstream advertising in the newpapers or big web-sites. The business has only been advertised on small classfied sites like gumtree so far, with quite a good response.

    In order to try and build a pipe-line of larger work I was thinking of offering to do a full re-roof on domestic property for a reasonable fixed labour price of about £1500. The home owner would order the materials themselves with our guidance and trade discount where available. Of course if they didn't want the hassle we would do that, but I want to offer it for transparency.

    I think this represents a great deal for the customer and it would hopefully allow us to get a small queue of work to help get a more consistent income.

    Interested in folks view on this - good idea or bad idea?

    And also given that we don't have a great deal of cash available for advertising at the moment - how would we best advertise something like this?
     
    Posted: Nov 30, 2014 By: LeasingEval Member since: Aug 20, 2008
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  2. joiner

    joiner UKBF Regular Free Member

    340 41
    Leaflet drop? Get 10k leaflets printed and go posting!
     
    Posted: Nov 30, 2014 By: joiner Member since: May 12, 2010
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  3. LeasingEval

    LeasingEval UKBF Regular Free Member

    194 15
    Thanks for the advice joiner.

    We leaflet drop already but even well targeted leaflet drops have a very low conversion rate (sometimes about 0.1%).
     
    Posted: Nov 30, 2014 By: LeasingEval Member since: Aug 20, 2008
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  4. joiner

    joiner UKBF Regular Free Member

    340 41
    What about commercial customers- ie builders, you seem to be missing this potential very major- repeat- customer base completely?
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: joiner Member since: May 12, 2010
    #4
  5. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    8,645 3,357
    As one who looks at the UK building trade from the outside, several things stick out -

    1. They hate to innovate. New materials and technologies has the average building contractor shying like a startled horse. This seems to be particularly prevalent in Scotland! When I suggested to one builder that he use ready-made render for the outside, he just flat refused. He preferred the traditional way of mixing in small stones and making the whole thing in a bucket and then 'hurling' this mix at the walls with a trowel. Needles to say, the whole convoluted process took him five times as long as if he had just opened a drum of ready-made render and used a machine.

    2. Roofers seldom get innovative in where they buy from. They prefer to buy in the UK and pay higher prices, to importing. They run a mile from importing new technologies from Germany or the US or cheaper materials from France. We put a steel roof on one building and a contractor who also does roofing asked me what we paid for the sheets. We imported directly from France and he was amazed at the low price. I told him he should try them, but he continues to pay three times as much locally.

    3. They seldom, if ever, advertise. As for having a website and telling the World that they exist, they feel that such crazy things have nothing to do with them! At best, they might put in a small ad in Yellow Pages - a publication that in our office goes straight into the bin!

    4. Roofers seem to hate modern materials and steel roofs in particular. They prefer playing with slates to putting up a modern roof that will last 100 years and comes with built-in insulation.

    5. The building trade is full of very stubborn people, who are quite happy to run themselves and their company into the ground, than change the way they do things.
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  6. joiner

    joiner UKBF Regular Free Member

    340 41
    With respect what has any of that got to do with the OP's original post?
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: joiner Member since: May 12, 2010
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  7. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Everything -

    He wrote "In order to try and build a pipe-line of larger work I was thinking of offering to do a full re-roof on domestic property for a reasonable fixed labour price of about £1500. The home owner would order the materials themselves with our guidance and trade discount where available. Of course if they didn't want the hassle we would do that, but I want to offer it for transparency."

    I think that is quite a good idea, but he should think waaaay outside the box and start thinking in terms of modern materials and new sources. i.e. take the customer by the hand and lead them to a more modern way of doing things.

    And he is right to think that transparency works. The larger the job, the more likely the customer is to by the materials themselves and the contractor pitches for the labour.
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  8. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

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    My advice would be to concentrate on the smaller jobs for now, in order to fund the expansion when he has enough put away to do it properly.

    There are certain trades and businesses that are an absolute delight from a marketing perspective, and roofing is one of them. There are literally so many opportunities available for decent roofers (most of them free or very cheap), that there is no excuse for him to have nothing to do. Depending on how you are 'helping' this guy, I'd be quite wary of a roofer who is not busy at this time of year. There is more work around at the moment than there are people to do it.
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
    #8
  9. joiner

    joiner UKBF Regular Free Member

    340 41
    The Byre;
    No sorry, I still don't see any relevance in your original post whatsoever.
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: joiner Member since: May 12, 2010
    #9
  10. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    I was trying to indicate that something fundamental is probably wrong here and I also feel that AllUpHere has put his finger on it - there is plenty of work right now.

    So the OP, rather than just footling about with leaflets, should be asking himself "Why is it that contractors and home owners don't come to us for whole roof builds?"
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #10
  11. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

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    I think you are looking at the OP's post as a request for ways to get the phone ringing, from a promotional marketing perspective, where as The Byre is thinking about the problem from a more long term and strategic marketing perspective.

    Just my take on it.
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
    #11
  12. Simon.P

    Simon.P UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    503 54
    Hi.
    That's an interesting concept: menu pricing. So, in your example above were you thinking along the lines of:

    3 - bed re-roof £1500 + materials (which i guess you could include in your final bill for clarity)

    4 - bed re-roof £1750 + materials

    If so, (out of curiosity) how would you deal with things only discoverable once you begin stripping the roof down/rebuilding it? Swings and roundabouts? I mean, if only one job in every ten causes you extra time which you can't bill for, your pricing allows for this because the average is still what you need to be earning?

    Cheers
    H
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: Simon.P Member since: Dec 4, 2009
    #12
  13. LeasingEval

    LeasingEval UKBF Regular Free Member

    194 15
    So the reason they don't come to us is that they don't know we exist unless they see our gumtree ad or we are recommended to us.

    I think what I am trying to figure out is how to reach as many people as possible with a decent proposition without spending money we don't have on newspapers and mass leaflet distribution etc.
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: LeasingEval Member since: Aug 20, 2008
    #13
  14. LeasingEval

    LeasingEval UKBF Regular Free Member

    194 15
    Hi,

    Yes that is exactly what I am thinking.

    Before commencing a job we would survey all joists and bearers to ensure that undiscovered problems are minimal (one of the nice things about roofs is that you get the opportunity to examine them from all sides).

    As for the inevitible things that crop up - we would take the labour costs on the chin - at this stage we are more intested in delivering quality work at a good price than maximising our efficiency.
     
    Posted: Dec 1, 2014 By: LeasingEval Member since: Aug 20, 2008
    #14
  15. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    8,645 3,357
    You are still thinking upside-down!

    Getting the word out is something you do AFTER you have worked out why existing customers prefer to go elsewhere for their bigger jobs.

    Step one - do what the Germans call an 'Ist-Aufnahme'. Find out why people are not coming to you. Talk to them. Talk to local brickies and chippies, as well as major contractors. Talk to the City Council, what are their building needs? They hire loads of small contractors for all sorts of jobs.

    Step two - find out what is missing in the Weegie building trade. Is there a type of roofing that is not catered for locally. You have BTW a very good local steel roof company in Cladco, so I would be talking to them! What other alternative materials suppliers are there and are you talking to them?

    Step three - build a plan that allows you to fill the difference between what people want and what they get. Don't just punt ideas, base this plan on actual research! (A plan that is not based on research is not really a plan at all, but something somewhere between wishful thinking and a daft idea!)

    Step four - build a website and get leaflets that show how you can fulfil this need that your research has uncovered. Remember that a person needing a new roof will google the words 'roofing' and 'Glasgow' and possible ask local suppliers like Cladco for recommendations. Your website will tell me more about you, so I feel happy to contact you.

    Step five - make sure that EVERY contractor and others like brickies, structural engineers, architects, housing associations, etc. are aware of you and your new services. Phone them, visit them, talk to them, send them your leaflets and explain how and why they should use your services.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2014 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  16. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

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    The Byre, that is a very fine post, and actually sums up almost perfectly why so many trades get their marketing wrong ie, they think about it upside down.

    OP, you may benefit from reading my thread that is pinned to the top of the sales, marketing and pr forum here.
     
    Posted: Dec 2, 2014 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
    #16
  17. Talay

    Talay UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    3,773 787
    Fixed price labour, asking customers to go buy materials, etc. well done for the thoughts but you're shooting yourself in the foot with this one.

    Come to my house and offer me a multi decade solution with modern materials and contrast that with the traditional which you also do and then tie upsales in insulation to match the new installation etc. and you have a few income streams and added value.

    Don't cut your throat with fixed price labour on a job where you can't make a dime on the inputs.
     
    Posted: Dec 5, 2014 By: Talay Member since: Mar 12, 2012
    #17
  18. S Isaac

    S Isaac UKBF Regular Free Member

    292 22
    I recently had some guys mess up a butt & scribe joint on a kitchen fit. I went to two local firms one that supply & fit and one that supply only.

    I asked the supply only company if they could recommend anyone who could do the joints and they recommended three people.

    As said above, get in with suppliers (even if just to leave some cards by their trade desk) and you'll get calls from it.
     
    Posted: Dec 7, 2014 By: S Isaac Member since: Mar 2, 2010
    #18
  19. Simply Business

    Simply Business UKBF Enthusiast Full Member - Verified Business

    649 72
    Hi LeasingEval,

    Have you thought about social media? A lot of SMEs can get some great exposure from Facebook, exposure that can often turn into sales.

    Twitter will also be a handy - and mostly free - marketing tool. Get involved with #hashtags like #BuildingChat #TradeTalk #TradeOfTheDay #TweetYourBiz (and more!)

    The potential reach is huge, and depending on on your region, there's also localised #hashtags.

    More traditional forms of advertising, as you've experienced, can be incredibly costly! Social media, if done correctly, can work wonders!

    Good luck :)
     
    Posted: Dec 9, 2014 By: Simply Business Member since: Dec 1, 2009
    #19
  20. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    10,331 2,097
    I would imagine many roof materials would be fixed by the planning authority and need to be like for like in many cases

    Roofing insulation would be a easy part time earner
     
    Posted: Dec 9, 2014 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #20
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