Setting Yourself Apart in the New Normal: Estimations

Author: Sheryll Poe
May 14, 2020

While much of the world feels like it's on hold during the current pandemic, some essential construction is still occurring, including commercial and residential roofing projects. For many roofing companies and their customers, estimations still need to be made, contracts need to be reviewed and signed and materials need to be ordered and delivered. Roofing projects must still be completed, even if today's challenging business environment means roofers need to seek out new methods for these basic tasks.

Safely planning a roofing project remotely
Contractors can still offer project estimations during COVID-19.

"This pandemic has created a new type of selling environment for our industry, and our number one concern is to assist our customers with a solid business plan to create a competitive selling advantage," says John Tierney, Beacon's Vice President of Commercial Sales. "Beacon has long been investing in technology to help our customers save time, work more efficiently and enhance their businesses. Those advancements will enable our customers to adapt quicker than others and hit the ground running, whatever the future may bring."

There are a few key steps roofing professionals can take to maintain the recommended social distancing guidelines, reduce exposure and successfully conduct business both during and after COVID-19.

Planning a Roofing Project Remotely

Roofing contractors can still work safely during COVID-19 by taking advantage of remote working technology, particularly for the first step in any project: providing an initial estimate.

Estimations for roofing projects can be a contactless process. However, Tierney recommends estimators take a few extra steps to limit face-to-face interactions while still establishing trust with the client:

  • Send a text to the client 30 minutes before the appointment time to let them know the estimator is on the way.
  • Verify that no one in the building is experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus.
  • Reinforce that the estimator will be practicing six-foot social distancing procedures.
  • Make sure the estimator wears personal protective equipment, including a disposable mask and shoe coverings.
  • Consider having the estimator bring a couple of extra masks to leave with the client. "Taking care of the customer is our highest priority, and having the estimator leave extra masks behind for the client is a great way to emphasize the importance of keeping them safe," says Tierney.

Generating a Detailed Estimate

Beacon offers estimating solutions for roofers in all markets. For commercial roofing estimates, Beacon proactively follows all public projects across the country, and will consistently publish estimates for those projects prior to the bid date. Should an estimator complete measurements for a private project, they simply need to send their request to their local Beacon salesperson. The team of estimators in the engineering department will gladly respond by producing a professional material estimate.

For residential roofing estimates, a roofing company will usually arrange for an estimator to arrive onsite and take photos and measurements to establish an estimate. That's where Beacon's proprietary technology, Beacon 3D+, comes in.

Available exclusively to Beacon customers, the Beacon 3D+ mobile app generates a complete 3D model of the home from just eight pictures. Within approximately 30 minutes of submitting the photos, an email or mobile notification with measurements will be sent back to the estimator's smartphone to help build a detailed estimate.

Beacon 3D+ makes it easy for residential roofing professionals to share photos and measurements with homeowners. "What's really nice about Beacon 3D+ is that the contractor takes pictures at that initial meeting," Tierney says, and turns them into an estimate the same day. Many contractors will send the freshly created model "directly to the homeowner, so they can actually take a look at it and start playing around" with different colors and materials they might like. Homeowners can even "upsell themselves" if they discover they like the look of a new material, like slate or tile.

Additional Technology for Working Remotely

To help maintain social distancing, roofing professionals might also want to look into a cloud-based file-sharing system like Box, Dropbox or Google Drive. These programs let users create and share a project folder with all the photos, measurements and documents that can be accessed remotely by the client and the contractor.

Videoconferencing technology like Zoom Meeting, Skype, Facetime and Google Hangouts are easy to sign up for, allowing contractors to walk clients through the estimate and bid without requiring face-to-face interaction. Plus, you can share the information on your computer screen live and go over the photos and measurements with the client.

All of these safeguards and communication tools can help build a stronger and safer relationship with the client, Tierney advises. "A contractor who has consistent and tested procedures in place, and who can effectively communicate those procedures to their clients, will have an advantage."

"Every client is interested in quality work that's efficiently installed, but moving forward, their concern for the health and wellness of their employees will be a major factor in awarding the contract," Tierney says. "Beacon is invested and working hard to assist our customers so they, in turn, win more work."