A good friend of mine is also a successful roofing contractor. Recently, he needed heart surgery.
At 50 years old, it was a scary time in his life to have invasive surgery performed. He had a referral from his family doctor, interviewed several cardiologists and proceeded to move forward with the required corrective procedure. As he recovered, we would walk together around the local high school track. During one of our walks I inquired about various decisions he had to make and how his outlook on life changed. We first talked about the process leading up to the surgery. I asked how he knew he needed the surgery, how he decided to move forward and how he picked the surgeon for the operation.
The results were interesting. He knew he needed the surgery because he was experiencing discomfort. After blood work, a scan and other tests, his results indicated his heart valves were blocked and not operating properly. Clear and objective criteria was established that dictated it was time to have the surgery.
After determining it was time to move forward, he interviewed several surgeons and, ultimately, decided upon a doctor who was well-known, performed similar surgeries numerous times and was well-respected in his field. All of which were solid criteria for selecting a surgeon to perform such a critical procedure.
When we were walking and talking about his selection criteria, I teased my frugal friend and asked him how price affected his decision. He gave me a strange look, said a few choice words and we laughed about it for a minute. Finally he proceeded to talk about how the quality of the surgery he needed was his number one priority and price was only a minor consideration. He knew this operation would affect his life forever and needed the very best surgeon and overall solution for his health.
Of course, I knew that is what he would say about the cost of his surgery.
I could not help drawing similar parallels to his experience and my customer’s roofing decisions. I found myself thinking about how I can help customers make educated, smart roofing decisions regarding their choice of contractor, price, materials and overall solution?
After all, re-roofing your building is very much like replacing the heart of your building!
When it is time to replace the heart of your building, what is your decision making criteria? Most businesses replace the roof on their building every 17 years. Therefore, most building owners are typically not well educated about roof replacement because it happens so infrequently. As a result, building owners fall back and depend on the only thing they are familiar with - price!
Before you replace the heart of your building, here are the fundamental questions you should ask yourself:
- What is the condition of your roof?
- How do you know you need the procedure?
- What repairs or maintenance have been completed over the past few years?
- Is a new roof necessary?
- What type of roof system has been recommended and why is this the best fit for your building?
- Has an inspection or thermal scan been completed recently?
- Has a pull-out test or other procedure been performed to determine the condition of your structural deck?
- Have items such as code requirements, appropriate insulation values, reflectivity, puncture resistance, compressive strength, drainage, sizing of gutters and downspouts, roof pollutants, climate considerations and other factors been considered?
- How many similar projects has your contractor performed?
- What is the reputation of the contractor and how well respected are they in the industry?
- How financially stable is your roofing contractor?
The answers to these questions should be documented and reviewed between the contractor and property manager similar to how a doctor reviews blood work or other health related tests. Before and after pictures along with a repair log should also be kept about the roof. This is no different from the files doctors keep on their patients!
Replacing your roof is critical to your building. Roofing projects are large and often complicated construction projects. Be sure that you are selecting the right roofing contractor for the right reason. The next time you need to replace your roof ask yourself how closely the decision criteria you have for a contractor parallels the criteria you would use for a heart surgeon.