Setting Yourself Apart in The New Normal: Digital Contract Signing

Author: Sheryll Poe
May 14, 2020

The coronavirus has reshaped every aspect of business, from increased sanitizing and cleaning to social distancing requirements. In response, roofing professionals are exploring new ways to conduct essential business remotely, including submitting bids electronically and digital contract signing.

Individual using a pen stylus to sign a contract on a tablet
Whether this process is familiar or entirely new, there are ways to securely and safely execute the bidding and contract signing process remotely.

Roofing professionals should invest in technology to prepare and train their teams to handle bids and contracts securely and effectively via email and videoconferencing, says John Tierney, Beacon's Vice President of Commercial Sales. "Many of the tools that we are being forced to invest in during the pandemic will become a new best practice to implement within your business. Digital solutions are something that you can promote and use as a selling advantage to help differentiate your company with potential clients," Tierney says.

Submitting a Bid Remotely

Roofing contractors can offer a touchless bid experience by either emailing a PDF of the bid to the client or by using Beacon 3D+. This state-of-the-art technology helps your business provide a complete "no touch" sales experience. Not only does the technology use accurate exterior measurements to create a quick and precise quote, it also converts the estimate into an order by automatically calculating the amount of roofing products needed, so you can order seamlessly through Beacon Pro+. In addition, Beacon 3D+ users can send an email attachment of the quote and a 3D model of the project to the client.

Another thing to consider during the bidding process: Many commercial roofing contractors have seen an uptick in work during the lockdown, as many contracts that were due to begin later in the year have been requested by owners to be moved forward in the schedule given that their employees are not in the building. "They were able to pull those jobs forward as long as the roofing business was deemed an essential business in that state," Tierney explains. "Dodge reports a Q1 increase over the previous year in projects entering the planning and bidding stages. With these facts in mind, all contractors submitting a proposal to their client should emphasize the importance of accepting and returning the signed contract quickly for priority job start dates."

Reviewing Your Contract

Many roofing contractors have been using the same, possibly outdated, contract language with their customers for years. Now is a good time to have a legal advisor look at those old contracts and update them to better reflect today's business environment. "A review is time well spent for a contractor to protect their people and their business in these unprecedented times," Tierney advises.

Contractors should also consider adding a force majeure clause to their contracts with specific language addressing "pandemic," "epidemic," "public health emergency," "project suspension," "project cancellation," "termination provisions," "price acceleration provisions," and "frustration of purpose." Ask your legal advisor for advice on specific wording.

Early Delivery Allows for an On-Time Start

As all businesses start to open, the national demand for trucking will likely spike. Short-term material storage on the jobsite will be the key to warding off any material- or truck-sourcing issues.

"Of course, this is completely dependent on how effectively the nation is able to phase business openings back to normal operations. Even if manufacturers and distribution have plenty of material, getting that material to the jobsite could become an issue if the trucks aren't available," Tierney says. "Contractors should work with their clients to advise loading material on the project 3 to 4 weeks prior to the intended job start date as an added measure of protection against the unforeseen."

Digital Contract Signing

Once a bid for the project has been approved and you've sent a newly updated contract over to the client, it might be a good idea to set up an account with a cloud-based, electronic signature program. That way, you can have a digital contract signing without having to meet in person. Some popular programs include DocuSign, PandaDoc and Eversign. You can also e-sign documents in Adobe Acrobat if you already have that program.

While the pandemic has created challenges for a lot of businesses, there is technology available to keep communication flowing and projects running efficiently. Now is the perfect time for roofers to adapt to new ways of conducting business.